ETHICS VILLAGE - Ethics of Technology in Humanitarian and Disaster Response

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Video in TIB AV-Portal: ETHICS VILLAGE - Ethics of Technology in Humanitarian and Disaster Response

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ETHICS VILLAGE - Ethics of Technology in Humanitarian and Disaster Response
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How do we combat the moral dilemmas technology brings to humanitarian and disaster response? Ethically based decision making can improve the influence of technology during a crisis.
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so I'm a little creaky this morning I'll just warn you yeah something about a little bit of cold and a little cigarette smoke out there and a little too much karaoke and I sound like a gargled Grabel and I'll apologize to you I throw things when I talk and I have a microphone and a clicker to throw so at some point I also try I will also try to click with the microphone and talk about that it just happens and I know this so feel free to make fun of me what happens so good morning I'm Sarah I am an emergency manager I am a technology enthusiast and have been for a very long time I'll just put this out here my first Def Con was DEFCON 4 so yeah for those of you who may not have been on the planet at that time I apologize but I do a lot of Disaster Response and I feel like a lot of Technology in there I also teach ethics in the graduate program at Georgetown University and in an undergraduate program at Pierce College and it's ethics for disasters and I don't but I've been looking at this and I was super excited when I saw this village pop-up because we talked about ethics we talked about disasters we talked about technology but nobody ever talks about all three together and so that's what I'm gonna do so I've got some examples I tend to illustrate things with stories I don't have a I have a couple of really ugly slides I've got a lot of slides that are just pictures but I just don't want to walk us through some stories of of how decisions get made and why they get made and then go to maybe a model for how we can do it better in the disaster realm
so we're here because bad things happen bad things happen all the time some of them are really really big and people need help and the people who need help are also the people in charge sometimes and people want to help and they kind of converge but there's not a good understanding of what help is needed and what help can be accepted and if we make the wrong decisions people can die and we want to be able we don't want that to happen we want to be able to help as many as possible in ways that make sense so this is an ugly slide this is the
what is ethics LED so I wanted to a framework for what we're talking about about ethics and where they come from obviously it it echoes is the Greek origin of ethics and it talks about a construct of rules they're commonly accepted by society as being right and wrong they are there's generally three different ones there's consequential I have a pointer there's consequentialist which is what we talked about when we talk about doing the greatest good here's somebody saying we're gonna do the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the least amount of time you'll hear that in the disaster world they're talking about consequentialist what are the consequences of the actions that we're taking there's non-consequentialist so what's the intent did we intend to do the right thing and then there's agent centered did I do a thing that builds my character which is on all of these are valid models of ethics and all of them have a place in this entire process but when you hear people argue about the ethics of something they're typically because they're coming at it from a different framework than the people around them it doesn't mean that either is wrong it means that they have they have the opportunity for healthy discussion and learning whether they take that opportunity and not as another thing so how do we determine what is ethical what do you how do you decide what is ethical as a person anybody I know it's early yeah-oh respective traditions that's very good that's a very very good point and I'm gonna I'm gonna illustrate that point just a tiny bit because we often have laws and rules around ethics you cannot do this you must do that if you're working government you cannot accept a gift that's worth more than 25 if you go to attend a thing but there are traditions and cultures where that is offensive and and then you have the choice do I break the law because the ethics law says I can't take the thing or do I not offend my host by accepting the gift that they are giving me and there's two right answers to that depending on the choice you make and where you're grounded in that but it is an excellent example that often gets overlooked what is right for the people that I'm interacting with what are some other ways that you determine what is ethical yeah your upbringing yep we're but there's sort of a kind of fell off the bottom of the screen but it sort of goes to morals as well we're gonna talk about that a little bit but yes our morals very much inform the ethical stance that we take on things anything else that pops to mind yeah back there your emotions yes your emotions absolutely come into play in very big ways especially if you don't take a moment to stop and go okay what is it that we're trying to accomplish here other than oh my god I feel horrible about the thing and I want to fix it I saw a hand up here yeah peer pressure hmm yeah peer pressure can have a huge role in how we address and embrace ethics anybody else Kevin yeah education absolutely typically the more education you have the more time you think of about ethical dilemmas you have more information roaming around in your head and you're exposed to different ideas the longer you stay in act in in academia that's why phd's it's called philosophy for a reason because they talk about a lot of things and they discuss the consequences of those thing else culture yep culture is also a huge one different cultures have different ethics for different situations so what's the difference between ethics and morals you kind of touched on it when you said upbringing what is the difference yeah morals are a personal choice yeah yeah morals talk about the character of a person and your basis for decision making so and you'll see so I got there's two basic moral systems normative which is consequences based which ties a lot into a consequentialist ethics but model and there's the ontology which is rule based which goes very much to taking the right action so they're very closely linked but most people come morals from one of these one of the consequences or what are the rules some people not most of the ones at Def Con are very rule-based like there's the rules that we must fall I am that person usually but you find when you get into disaster situations that that doesn't work anymore a lot of times so you have rule-based where there's a rule for the thing whatever it is and we're gonna follow the rule and everything's gonna work out but that does not happen in disasters oops
so disasters I'm gonna I'm gonna give you a definition of disasters for our working purposes today and a disaster for us is any situation that overwhelms the ability of the local community to deal with it so it there's tons of different definitions of disaster but that's the one we're gonna use if you if the local community whatever that looks like is overwhelmed it's a disaster to them which by default kind of tells you that small communities can have disasters that would not be disasters if they happen in a larger community simply because they have resources and disasters impact everybody but one of the things to bear in mind that often gets overlooked is that disasters don't affect every person equally and so a lot of times when you talk about the greatest good mentality there's often an overlooked subset of the population that it has historically overlooked in that over and over again if you look through disaster research it tells you over and over again marginalized populations are left out of the greatest good for the greatest number of people because four well there's a lot of reasons for it usually because we made bad decisions beforehand but it disasters in fact everyone in the community and they impact them in different ways and so it's important to keep that in mind as we roll through how we help with
these problems so here's my little bit of bash on my emergency management family we suck at technology historically it emergency as response in the United States is heavily government-centric if you haven't noticed it's very very government centric and government if you've ever looked at Everett's a adoption of technology or innovation the innovation adoption model you've got the early adopters and there at the end is your grandparents the laggards government is always the laggards by and large not military but local government you still got a whole contingent with flip phones and they're happy with that and so we also have this disparity issue within government where we have what I call them the haves and the have-nots you have very well-funded government entities at the local county state level and you have very very poor ones and this affects their ability to use understand or even be exposed to technology so what you get is a mixed bag you get all kinds of things that are new and exciting to some people and old old news to others one of the things I do is I'm the chair of the International Association of emergency managers emerging technology caucus I know it's a sheet we it's just we go I am etc' it's just seven letters much easier but we run the crisis Technology Center at their annual conference every year and part of that is we have our technology petting zoo which we just bring in things 3d printers basic a our basic VR how to put email on your smart phone like it you know I am dead serious it runs the gamut from from how do I set up my email my fault can you can hear take my phone make it happen yeah to people who are using AI and so we have we try and expose the emergency management oral to all these concepts but exposing them to them doesn't help them understand them or use them it just lets them know that they're there and so we still end up with this problem of they don't understand the technology they don't have access to it for a variety of reasons Disaster Response also highly highly supplemented by NGOs and private industry so you've got a law list of non-governmental organizations who help in disaster response you have a lot of private industry that does a lot of different things in disaster response and you have general random people who just want to be useful and helpful and will show up and try and be useful and helpful and a lot of them bring technology the problem becomes when the government you're interacting with has absolutely no idea what to do with the cool toy that you're talking about or doesn't even understand it and so there's this frustration because you work for somebody who has the cool toy and you're like I can solve your problem with my cool thing and they're like I have no I I don't understand the words that you're saying and I don't understand how it would solve my problem so go away and and unfortunately that happens a lot so disasters and
humanitarian crises create situations that for which there's no rules or it seems to us that the rules no longer apply we had rules now we're looking at this vast whatever it is and where the rules don't make sense anymore because we didn't think about this type of scenario and they create usually a profound sense of compassion and responsibility towards people that we perceive to be suffering immensely so you've got it's fueled a lot and I'm not saying this is a bad thing but you see on the media the media typically will pull the worst case scenarios and show them and people respond to that because we're humans by and large we we want to help other humans and animals I will not leave out animals but there's this disconnect then from everybody wants to help - what do we actually do with that because we don't have a standard across the spectrum that helps us get to a good resolution so this is a very basic lake
what kind of stuff gets used in disasters there's basic stuff and some of my Emergency Management peers can't even handle the basics phones computers radios internet I didn't put internet on there some of them are not able to use these things in a disaster sometimes it's because they lost their capacity because of the disaster itself sometimes it's because they just never had those things to begin with like they had a computer and when when the disaster happened the computer died or the person who knows how to log into it isn't there anymore can't find it and I've been to disasters where that was a natural thing and then there's there's data analysis gif stuff that more advanced or larger organisations use and then you've got AI you've got UAV you asked drone stuff you get through the imagery going on in the larger organizations that have funding so a runs the spectrum and it can be used a lot of different ways we rely a lot on the basics and yet we don't we don't necessarily have enough of them redundantly built in some communities for them to actually work and I'm going to show you a couple of examples of how some of these things just sort of fall apart when the rubber hits the road
so I will preface this by saying the three actual disasters I'm going to talk about our three that I were at because I tried to only talk about disasters I was there for so I don't armchair quarterback somebody else's disaster because that's rude but so the SR 5:30 or Oso landslide happened in March of 2014 in Sonoma County Washington it's a and where it happened is a very rural area East Snohomish County is part of the Puget Sound region so it's East us or north of Seattle the landslide happened east on a mountain road that connects east to west came out connects some mountain villages with the rest of the world 43 people were nearly instantly killed 49 homes and structures were destroyed in a very very short order the search for victims lasted a month and knowing that they were not going to be live victims and we're going to find the remains of victims the final victim was found in July so however many months later that was as part of the recovery and rebuilding process that's how long it took and so that's sort of the backdrop for this and in an interesting sidenote you'll see I call it the sr5 thirty landslides a lot of people call it the Oso landslide oh so it's the tiny little town there people have also don't want to be known for this landslide and they were very vocal about that and so collectively within the Emergency Management community we said okay we're going to honor that we're gonna call it the name of the road that was destroyed instead of the name of town but it hasn't it didn't stick beyond our community so that's one of those things where you're honoring that local culture that local request except that that doesn't trickle up necessarily to to others so this is what it looked like
it's a little bright in here so this is what it looked like before so you can see if you've ever seen the light our images you can see there's an old landslide here anytime you see this horseshoe shape in a hillside that means that at some point in time there was a landslide there were many here the history of this particular Canyon is mind-boggling so here's here's the here's the hillside here's some streets and houses a little subdivision thing going on here the road the river and here's the landslide here where the houses here's the landslide that entire side of the mountain fell off in in a very very rapid instant and it was devastating there wasn't it there were there were issues that led up to this and I actually think I put that yeah so
there's a whole ethical thing behind
this ever happening and it's not a technology ethical thing but but it's important to recognize how these become cascade failures you make one wrong choice and suddenly you have a whole cascade failure of wrong choices and this was unpermitted building they never had permits to build it it was built and then at some point they were given occupancy permits and when you look at the lidar images of this can Canyon just with the naked eye you can count 13 different previous landslides and it it's not a place where you would build a home if you knew that the hillside was going to fall down on you some point but what was done was done and they just rolled with it but that led directly to this there's some great timelines about this that go back almost a hundred years of the decisions that were made in this Canyon in this valley and the things that happened over time but then we jump
to what the es so the you yo see is the Emergency Operations Center that's where the organizing the coordinating all of that happens in a disaster this was by far the largest disaster we had seen in Washington state in a very long time we used resources from I say we it wasn't my disaster I was one of the resources that went to help it they use every resource in the state at some point and so all of the people working in there were from somewhere else by and large they had a system I think but it didn't work we reverted to paper and paper is an ugly ugly thing in this kind of environment things were getting lost so we're doing resource orders and they weren't getting tracked right they were people putting them on sticky notes we'd find them a week later it was an absolute nightmare but what happened here there were multiple people in that room who said I'm fixed for this technology fix and we were just gonna throw it on a SharePoint list because that was better than paper but we couldn't and there were multiple we like we had this little organizing meeting in the corner and said we can do this like we can do this and convert this in like less than an hour probably multiple people made the pitch to the people in charge and we're told no because and I think really they didn't understand what the world you're saying they understood Excel it was in Excel which led to a whole other brand of chaos if you've ever used Excel with multiple people simultaneous convinced the right people to just give us share for they had it we couldn't do it and and so there was that decision we were like we felt like ethically we had an obligation to make this better and make it sustainable because what we were doing was clearly not sustainable it broke somebody blew it up accidentally it just didn't work and yet it didn't jive with their idea of how it could be better and and so for us it was a very and by us I mean the the rebels in the corner who were trying to do this for us it felt very wrong to not be able to do this we actually talked about just doing it anyway but we realized we didn't have the right access to things because we didn't work there and but the other thing that happened in this and I call them technology tourists we we have this thing in disasters where we call them disaster tourists random people just show up because they want to see what a disaster looks like and I don't like them just so we're clear on that if you show up and you bring supplies fine and you take a look if you just show up to show up go away but we have the same thing happen in this room part of what happened when we said hey we think we can put this on sharepoint and make it better for everybody oh no a very large technology partner from the Puget Sound area is going to come and save the world and we went uh-huh we had what I now call technology tourists we had at least one maybe two large technology companies who may or may not be located in the Puget Sound area wrong through with a tour group to say they were gonna fix the problem then we never heard from them again because they didn't understand the problem the people there couldn't articulate the problem and we were well we were well entrenched in paper at this point there was no way that we were going to something else but it was the first time I had seen technology tourists and now that is also a thing you see them pop up you'll see YouTube videos of people who made a great cool toy for some disaster and they were probably a technology tourists instead of going with what was already available they reinvented the wheel they made a new thing it's it's a growing issue and then we have stuff in the field so the field was interesting because it was we had aerial imagery come in they did lidar they mean that was a critical piece of rebuilding part of the issue with this is it cut off the main route for the people who lived in one of the towns outside giving them an 80-mile trip to and from work now that was impassable in winter so this happened in March they absolutely had to rebuild that highway before winter like there was no way they couldn't do it because those people would have been cut off and there's there was no fix for that and so there was a there was a big rush and it's not a bad rush but there was a huge rush to to solve this issue clear the highway get it rebuilt in time for winter and roads don't get built that quickly if I had the re-engineer the entire road structure elevated to all this stuff but a lot of offers for help came in all kinds of nonprofits who with drunk mostly drones like yeah we've got the thing we can bring this technology we can help you solve your problem they weren't ready for that they didn't understand the technology they didn't understand what could be done with the technology they did say yes to some of it obviously lidar was a huge thing they had to do that they had to look at that landscape defensive he's like oh yeah we're gonna get different imaging with drones and we're gonna 3d print those models which is super cool but not in the least bit helpful to this effort it was slow as cumbersome it became proof of concept for later but it wasn't useful here so you're probably right to reject some of those offers but of course the NGO that was all excited about their new cool proof-of-concept they didn't understand why they weren't being allowed to help and it's because there wasn't really a need for it and in the end it didn't become all that useful ultimately what happened where they did have a huge success in technology and math they and this was a hard thing to explain at about a month they cut off search operations they're not looking anymore and yet he's in math and some really good models they said here's the people who are still missing here where they were when it hit here's where we're pretty sure you're gonna find them as you're excavating the road that was really hard for them to convey to the crews that we're gonna do that excavation so there was this huge like there was a huge public I'll say ethical battle from the construction crews are like no we are not clear in that road we're not doing it there's still bodies in there we're not doing it and the big brains who've mapped it and said no here's where you gonna find them see dig dig dig slow down here in this general area so there there had to be a melding of the minds there to convince the the construction guys that and people if this was the right thing to do and it turned out the math was right they found every one of them roughly where they were going to but they had to come up with a system that allowed the construction workers to to fulfill their obligation without thinking that they were intruding on someone else's space I mean there was huge concern about that and and it worked and they found everybody eventually and built the road by winter which in itself was a Herculean effort so Jochen complex fire
huge fire in 2015 and if you ever have questions as we go just wave something in the air biggest fire in the state of Washington although there's been some there's been argument over that now was it the biggest I don't know did the fires merge if they merged it was the biggest if they didn't it wasn't like okay there was a huge damn fire huge huge fire and the scary so Okanagan County Washington Eastern Washington very rural very very poor very poor lots of separatists out there uh-huh that was an interesting thing it was the highest priority fire in the country at one point in time there were three firefighters killed which may or may not have been avoidable containment took just about a month and over 300,000 acres were burned so there's weird things that happened and some of these aren't on the slides because I'm gonna publish the slides publicly and I don't I don't need the separatist showing up at my house ya know but there is a very off the grid community out there and with National Guard assets out there and the shirt the sheriff who was elected had to approve every movement of the National Guard because in some places they would have been shot on sight and it was not a joke yep Oh the government's finally come to take my things I'm making my stand was sort of the mentality of some of the people some places they had to go with a Sheriff's Office escort some places the sheriff could call ahead and say hey I'm sending some National Guard troops please don't shoot them and that was okay but we couldn't go anywhere without sheriff's direct approval yeah did they know about the fright everybody in multiple states and two countries knew about the fire like yeah it didn't matter they if you've ever interacted with a true separatist group they've really been a recognized government they don't recognize the federal government well they recognized him as the sworn enemy of their own selves like it's a weird deal yeah but it was yeah the fire was they knew we had firefighters held at gunpoint the he imagined those like here's firefighter their structural they're from somewhere else than I can we're here to protect the structure we got to go over there and some guy with a gun says nope you're stay here and protect my stuff all right we're gonna stay here and protect your stuff there's a decision point in there it's a really easy decision point there is an ethical decision don't live or do I die that changes every other rule that might be out there like for most people hmm if I leave I get shot if I stay I'm still technically doing my job and I don't get shot I think I'll stay those are things we don't typically expect to find in disasters we expect that people are going to be happy were there they'll take advantage of whatever it is we're offering and and be happy about it but that's not always the case and none of that has anything to do with technology but it's the weird ethical stuff that happens in disasters so part of that
fire so part of the reason the National Guard was there as Communications was out so this these are pictures I took this is the top of the power pole this is the bottom of the power pole it burned through the middle in an entire swaths of that County there was no communication to some communities none the only communication they had with somebody the fire chief usually would drive out of the community to the EOC once or twice a day to get information and then go back that was the way information was exchanged because there was nothing there like an entire roadway with every pole that looked like this we lost cell towers they we lost all communications in some places and this picture is just there that was the view from my hotel the night that we got there so I'm in a hotel and that's the that's the hill I took that with my cell phone so um blow up anymore gets really fuzzy because of pretty dark but but that's the kind of thing you're looking at to get to this fire we had to drive through another fire it was it was weird and creepy and humongous and there were interesting technology issues and I meant to say what I was talking about Snohomish County so how much candy is what I would call like a have County they have resources they have money they have assets they also came very very close to bankrupting their County over an incident that was one square mile the state was actually looking into what they do with an insolvent County because they were spending more money than they ever would have and Okanagan County is what I would definitely call a have-not County they very low resources very low
funding as a result yes that's why they call it no it's okay so now I have to condense that down for the camera guy where does disaster money come from is that a good condensation okay so they're saying in emergencies is all disasters and local disasters which means ultimately the local community has to pay some states have funds to make up the difference my state Washington has a we have a fund it's empty there's not a dime in it this particular one was interesting because the state appropriated money to help this county and then after the fact discovered it was illegal and the state had to pay itself back yeah that was weird so ultimately local you should be playing like you know you should have a savings account you should plan for disasters emergencies just like you do in real life then you've got state government which may or may not have a rainy day fund or a disaster fund and it may not have actual money in it and when you reach a certain threshold you hit what's called a presidential disaster declaration and there's a these are the big ones these are the ones where you see FEMA went to a thing that was a president presidential disaster declaration you there's a threshold and that threshold is based on a per-capita number so you have to meet it within the county and then with the state as a whole and often these small counties can't meet the threshold because they have to meet the threshold for the whole state they can meet their local threshold but the state as a whole has to expand a certain amount of money so it's it's a complicated thing and in Snohomish County where the landslide happened had they not gotten the presidential disaster declaration they would have bankrupt the county but that's how they did not they got a presidential declaration which opened up federal funding for it Okanagan however very small the thing the thing that saved them in this is there were fires all over the state and ultimately they did meet the threshold in the state go ahead know what what is the consequence of a county or city going bankrupt well that depends on where you're at California has had this issue California for a while was issuing IOUs to employees I think was Orange County yeah ooh how long your stay working for a place that owes you not so I worked for an isp a long time ago and still owe me money but I don't work there anymore like theythey quit paying me and I quit going to work because why would you stay so it really depends on state laws part of what happened that has happened in Michigan so Michigan has had all of these weird insolvencies they've had all of these Detroit area bankrupt towns and they assigned financial managers to them which is exactly how you ended up with the Flint water crisis exceptionally poor decision-making because of money so there's no one answer to that it really depends on how each state is structured and what kind of government they have sorry I'm a government nerd I I could go all day just on that but I will not because you'll go to sleep County very small large geographically more cows than people they had Wow somebody left that guy in they had a huge problem with information dissemination with life lines cut phones not working people couldn't get messages that were going out they didn't have a reverse title system so we use these a lot in disasters where we have a system that we pay money for it calls you to tell you things you need to know and have one of those no cannot in the county never dawned on them they used Facebook a lot actually it's a very good purpose but one of the things that happened is one of the responding entities said hey I'm gonna call my vendor for the company that I use and I'm gonna ask my vendor if they will just one time let us use our system to make a call in your County the vendor said yes because they're good guys and they're like yeah sure that's fine but unfortunately that kind of set precedent now a call has been made in this County and now people like who we have this thing but they don't have the thing when the count when the visiting county left that technology left with them it was not sustainable and so this information dissemination piece we had to go old-school is very complicated well it's not complicated you put up a frame signs at the grocery store in the library and you Flyers on them but that doesn't get everyone in the county like that where there's multiple languages spoken most of the stuff was being done only in English finally they got a partnership with public health for their Facebook stuff and they made two Facebook pages one in English one in Spanish and literally some volunteers from public health took every message we posted in English translated it in real time and put it out in Spanish and it kind of became a model for our state and how that was going to work but it was unsupportable long term because once the crisis was over the public health volunteers went back to doing whatever they were doing and there was nobody left in the county who could do that work so we created something that was not sustainable and yet which now maybe some of the population expects to find there in future disasters and they've got fires going on there right now it actually produced a new change in our state law which is it's it's a good it's well-intentioned but it's really hard to meet and then we had GIS GIS was hugely useful we had a GIS guy come in from another agency he was doing the thing because they had they had a GIS person in that county who was totally overwhelmed had never done disasters and our guy was just cranking that stuff and they finally came in and said dude you gotta quit printing Maps that's all the paper we have for the whole year we don't have budget for more you have to quit printing Maps that wasn't interesting this was definitely a have-not County they didn't have the money to buy more paper for the plotter when we used what they had that was all they had and it was a great effort but again it was unsupported locally the point in this is decisions were made about the use of technology that could not be supported after the people who were helping at home and that is an issue it's a huge issue in disasters when you create a system and it's it's awesome it works and then the people who had created it went home and now there's no system it doesn't solve a long-term problem and it's a short-term fix that now sets an expectation that cannot be lived up to I whoever stays behind because it remains a local incident always so I'm
going to talk about hurricane Harvey a very very very small sliver of hurricane Harvey in case you missed it it was last year it was very very large it was this big red blob and the eye of it went over Rockport Texas and it was kind of crude for I ended up in Rockport Texas with an organization called the field innovation team I don't know if anybody's heard of them they're non they're nonprofit they do exactly what it sounds like they might do they do innovation some of it is technology some of it is not so this
was Rockport when we got there there was nothing this slide I borrowed from another presentation I did but there's no power there's no water there's no sewer there were no kids because school had started already every family with a kid relocated to someplace that had schools it was weird there were no animals because they took their animal except for wild pigs there was occasionally wild pigs that would go barreling through things there was almost no health care there was a curfew there was debris everywhere there were lots of sunken boats and this last one that's somehow fallen off the but there were resources everywhere this is not debris this is donations it became debris because after a few days of sitting in Texas now there's snakes and other things that moved into it and it's kind of damp because yeah gross so resources everywhere there were all kinds of groups that are helping NGOs private companies and there was no organization around it we obviously couldn't tackle that problem well when we looked around we thought okay there
are some things that we can help with we can help them with their donations management if they'll let us we can help them with their community health issue if they'll lettuce and we can form some partnerships that can let these things continue after relief and we got permission I invited myself to a meeting yeah it was interesting because I invited I actually got myself invited to a meeting and it was the only meeting I needed to go to but I'm an emergency manager and the local emergency management guy was like he looked at our group of people and he said you can go all right and it worked out because I talked to the two people we need to talk to and got permission for our group to do we actually did six things but we only needed permission for two so he did donations management in an old part
store though we didn't know that there was no contract for that had been severely damaged by the storm that was running on a generator which if you look closely at this picture so this is an electrical panel this is an extension cord wired to the electrical panel uh-huh that extension cord goes out and on a corner and outside to a generator if you but hit that cord all the power went out uh-huh there are so many issues with this building so many but it's not my disaster I'm there to help the local community and this is what they're doing so you have a choice do I support them knowing that what they're doing is maybe illegal probably what they're probably they don't have permission to be in this building this building is absolutely going to be condemned like I looked at I went whoa how are we using this building well somebody had the key is like a property manager dude who's known in the community it was still standing he had keys he found two random dudes and said hey you want to set up donations in there and they said sure who are you and keys were exchanged and things happen because disasters sort of break our rules sometimes this is what they needed to do and we had a choice as a group like we knew we knew eventually things were going to go weird here but so we could either support what they were doing or we could leave but we weren't there to help so we supported what they were doing help them organize but what they really needed in order in addition to organizing they needed an ability to publish their needs they had real needs and they had things that they had to get to support their community and so they they were doing the best they could but they didn't have technology they did cellphones were working on which was good cellphones worked great best data service I think I've ever had was amazing but nothing else worked and so we said we can help you we can help you organize like we wait I'll say we hacked a solution of this donations management we scoured through rubble and built signage and somebody had spray-paint we made signs like we did all of it with the things we had on him we didn't bring in these stuff we just use what they had and but we said we can help you organize this a little bit so we set up a system for them with partnership and I'll talk about them anybody familiar with IT DRC
IT DRC is an amazingly wonderful nonprofit organization information technology disaster Resource Center they're a huge nonprofit like you might guess from their name they take technology of all kinds to disasters and they support it for as long as it needs to be supported they're a great great great organization but we we ended up partnering with them because they were there and I know them and so here we all were together and I'm like and I send them the night I said we need to set up internet for this donation center because they need to be able to reach out and tell the world what they need we need internet they said we can do that so they called their friends a dish dish sent us a visa which was an amazing day and it worked great until anybody would bump the generator and then we had to restart everything I know it is what it is but this happened because a partnership because we didn't want to build this and then say ok we're all going home you're back on your own again the very cool thing about this donation center eventually it's the property owners like no really you got to get the hell out of my building my altruism is done my insurance needs to pay me out but my insurance will pay me because the building's occupied so why should they so that became a whole thing but this operation for donations management turned into their own local nonprofit organization doing long term recovery and it started right here with a laptop and a VSAT and a bunch of people just trying to make the community better and and it was important for them to be able to do that we have to figure out how to
set up a Facebook page like this is when IT DRC's laptops which we just unfortunately decided it needed a Windows Update over a reset and so that was kind of I know I was like oh it's gonna happen I'll see you in a couple hours like yeah couldn't stop it it happens but but they were able to leave that for as long as the community needed it and then that the the people that we helped them weren't had we helped to help them we helped teach them how to do this they didn't have a set of a Facebook page or any of that but it was useful to them because that's what people were looking for information say they set up a Facebook page and they started pushing the information out that they needed and people started responding appropriately it's interesting because as an emergency manager I say don't show up without being asked and don't send donations without being asked and this changed my mind because rockport was overlooked by everybody there was no I say there were all kinds of people there but there were resources there weren't money there was no Red Cross shelter there was no any shelter there was nothing there was food there was some of the best disaster food I have ever eaten in my life mercy chefs if you ever go to a disaster make sure you're one-one mercy chefs are because they kept everybody fed but but nothing else was there so this helped them long-term men become their long-term recovery organization their Facebook page has changed names but it's the same page they started with and it chronicles all the way from when they set it up to now doing their long-term recovery and that I mean it's been a year not quite a year and that they're far far far from recovery they lost a lot but one of the other things we did
there were huge huge huge health concerns they don't have public health in Texas or at least in our ancestry in the way that I'm used to public health happening meaning that they don't actually have public health that does health things for people and I come from Seattle I know they check on sewers and stuff like that but they don't actually they don't have public health services like I'm used to so there was no communication of the public about public health there were still people live this picture there's we found a Buddhist monastery some of the locals didn't even know there was a Buddhist monastery there but we sort of did a survey and and we're like hey there's a Buddhist monastery and this guy did not know that there was a boil water order it never got to him there a boil water order days meaning the waters not safe to drink you need to boil it he didn't know other people didn't know so the limited health care availability and information was not getting out and and that's an issue I mean that can lead to a whole secondary disaster and for me like for me this was a huge ethical issue on the emergency management side not the technology side but the emergency side like I in my heart I don't know how this happened I mean I theoretically know but I can't get over why it happened we did a couple of
things we did a survey of where all the resources were in the community where is all of the stuff going and we put it on map a GU map and just labeled it and we distributed that to the community and now they knew where they could go to find stuff and if you wanted to bring donations you knew where to go to drop them off and then we took that and
somebody came up with a QR code for it and a way to get to the map and we posted these fliers all over town so that people could get information about their needs and their resources and what to do with them and then a little bit of mental health stuff because there was no mental health going on in that community none we were deployed with a partner team that was doing mental health and they were the only ones there and it was this is week and a half almost two weeks in right now nobody was there and then
we set up a health information line this was a thing that we had to partner with again someone donated a phone line and fit set it up a call-in line and we found random people she lived locally she's finished med school she hadn't taken her exams yet she was bilingual in English in Spanish she was exactly who we needed and I called the guys at IT DRC and said hey can you get her computer cuz hers had been damaged they said sure we'll give her a computer for as long as she needs it and so she was able to keep that phone updated with information so that people could call a phone number and get an English or Spanish the status of pharmacies health clinics hospitals basic whatever basic stuff they needed and it could go for as long as was needed and because we had set up internet so there was internet we got our computer and she made it go well after we left and so this I think is an example of this whole thing is a good example of making sure that what you're doing is sustainable and works for the community and with the community not going in and doing it but helping them do it so whatever it is continues long
after you leave and I threw in this one about the Coast Guard the Coast Guard the official messaging from the Coast Guard was if you need help call 9-1-1 or call the EOC or call the Coast Guard don't put it on social media but the reality is the Coast Guard knows people are putting on social media and this is public knowledge now see you google it need to read the story they partnered with the Coast Guard Academy and assigned a couple of cadets to interface with a couple of nonprofits the standby task force in humanitarian Road who did social media monitoring for them found people need rescued put it in a Google spreadsheet which was monitored by a Coast Guard Academy cadet who put it into their database cross-referenced it and started saving people's lives very very basic stuff but now have a policy change this is what they do now the ethical thing in here is and it's one of those like oh they're saying one thing and they're doing something else because they couldn't go against official policy and yet they knew that they needed to be able to save lives go ahead yeah Haeju Navy cajon Navy yes yeah yeah and they were so Cajun Navy did a lot of rescue stuff and they use ello for that yeah they should stick to boat rescue I'm just gonna leave that right there I had an interaction with them which was most unpleasant because it had they didn't do it had to do with water on boats and they just needed get the hell out of my town yeah yeah it was it was it was I think a rogue person but you know sometimes a rogue person speaks for the whole group and it's not good so yeah they did a tremendous amount rescue so it was a little bit of that cross-referencing too because now you've got four different groups potentially that are trying to rescue the same person and so long-term they're working on fixes for that because you don't want to duplicate that effort you want to be able to cross-reference all that information and send one group to rescue granny off the roof and not four groups because working on that like that's a that's part of what the Coast Guard was doing they were cross-referencing some of each of these things there's there was still duplication but the important part was people got saved the amazing thing to me is nobody died in Houston at least in that initial thing like nobody drowned and that's huge and people were rescued so official change now Coast Guard does that that's part of their MO
now and this I throw in there as a reminder of what happens when we don't do things right so Hurricane Katrina Memorial Hospital anybody familiar with this so they lost all communication with the outside world all of their technology failed and they euthanized people they killed people because they didn't want them to suffer it's a valid response it is an absolutely valid ethnically based response to hopelessness you have no hope of rescue you don't think anybody's coming but it was completely avoidable completely 100% avoidable and one of my graduate students just wrote his thesis paper on technology and hospitals and he said something that stuck with me he said if they hadn't even done the minimum those people would still be alive because bare minimum technology they could have had a ham radio and talked to somebody they could have had any number of thing they could have had a satellite phone and talked to somebody and known that help was coming and ethically the failure didn't happen in the response I see two of you I'll get to you yes ethically there was not a failure in response it was in the planning they met the letter of the law and the letter of accreditation but that did not solve the problem go there so five but so the question is how many and why did I say euthanized five was the number if I'm remembering correctly and I used that word because though they were charged legally with manslaughter they were not convicted because they were found to have acted appropriately and so they were not by legal standard they were not murdered so go ahead [Music] so do hospitals currently carry radios in case of communication failures so hospitals are required by standards to have redundant communications systems check the Box move on they're not required to test them they're not required to know how to use them they're not required to n do anything except have redundant communication systems and that is in the eye of the Assessor so if you have a phone and you have internet that might be your redundant communication now what they should have yes absolutely they should have radio systems that can talk to the outside world they should have ham radio systems they should be doing but they're not required to and healthcare in particular if they're not required to do a thing they often don't do it because it costs money so this is just a reminder of how technology should have been used in advance and the decisions that that led them to not do it led to five people losing their lives ultimately there's a
laundry list of things that are coming in disaster management driving cars for me that solves a huge problem it helps us get people out of harm's way if there's an evacuation but they also just randomly hit people because self-driving cars generalists are like hey screw you and hit somebody automated translations that's a thing that's becoming more and more urgent that state laws are requiring that all things be translated we don't have a capability to do it well yet big data there's huge implications in machine learning and AI there's some group out there that claims that they are predicting earthquakes and they got up on a stage at a really important conference and they got challenged by multiple people and they just basically shoot we're smarter than you and it was ugly because like well we know but we we don't know what to do with the information and I called on that I said of course you know what to do if you if you know that something's gonna happen you call the authorities and they didn't really like that answer because they can't really do this they can't do earthquake prediction yet and there's tons of things like there's things we've never thought of all of which are gonna lead us to more problems
so this is a little bit on ethical decision-making you kind of recognize probably the frameworks consequentialist so what are consequences what's my duty what's the virtuous way to take all of them have this similarity they're all a deliberative process they focus on their core principles they each have a definition of ethical conduct and they have a clear motivation and in disasters we have to use all of them in disasters we have to merge these things together
to go through well I'll call it a checklist this is adapted from something written by Naomi Zack which I think when we're making decisions about technology and disaster we can use these questions to help guide us to the right answer or a right answer and it's important that we do this not alone you can't make these decisions alone so we have to ask things like what's our moral obligation what are we morally obligated to do and provide is our solution adequate does it actually solve a problem and is it fair does it unreasonably exclude portion of the population either because we didn't think about them or we didn't know about them are we as individuals ready and able to take care of ourselves I can't even tell you the number of times people show up to help at a disaster completely unprepared to take care of themselves if first responders do this the best guy I met at hurricane Harvey though he had driven he'd come from California great great great dude and I put him to work directing traffic like the instant he walked up I'm like oh are you afraid of cars no I'm like good put on this awesome to help that guy in the street and that was how he started doing disaster response but he came prepared he flew all the way from California he rented a car he threw in living supplies and he bought beer to share so I have pictures they're not here I've pictures of people sitting around at the end of the day drinking his beer and but but he came prepared to help with whatever he didn't care what he did just help and and he was useful but he was able to take care of himself who's obligated to do something how can we support them and I think this gets overlooked a lot we don't say who's actually responsible for doing this and how can I help them we just go oh I see a problem I'm gonna fix it well yeah you got 15 people trying to fix the same problem and none of them are communicating with the people who are actually responsible for it yeah yeah and it's really condensed that question what obligation do or I said people have of obligation organizations also have an obligation they do the town the town's cities go they do have an obligation and sometimes they think they've met that obligation and that's part of the issue is how do those organizations meet those obligations in a way that's effective and yeah it's they do absolutely have an obligation they usually have a legal obligation and they often think that I'm eating it and that's what I found are usually with small towns is they think they're meeting their obligation because they don't understand the problem and that's a huge huge issue on the disaster side is is not understanding the issue so does our solution ensure safety and security doesn't make every doesn't make me safer and more secure in terms of the people but in the solution itself did we make a solution that we have secured in a way that is reasonable or did we just put it on a Google sheet for everybody to see and people do that I have found appalling things on Google sheets that were compiled in disasters and just left out there as now public information that should never ever be their very personal information that should should never been on the Google does our solution is your dignity for survivors and how we look at that there's lots of ways you can look at that but are they involved in the solution are they involved in the planning of the solution are they involved in carrying out the solution really helps ensure dignity like people generally don't want you to come take care of them they want you to come help them and help them fix the problem and so I think that that gets to this does our solution address an actual need or do we just have a cool toy and we want to try it out and we're gonna try and convince these people this disaster let us try it if there's not an actual need that's articulated then we shouldn't be there and this question who is not served by our solution we've identified a problem we've identified who's affected by it have we identified who is not served by that solution and I think that this is the piece that often gets left out like who did we skip and who did we just make things either worse for or not better for
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