I agree to Idea Intergrate #VOST into FEMA Tech Corps
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I disagree to Idea Intergrate #VOST into FEMA Tech Corps


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Private Sector Technology Volunteers Supporting Disaster Response »

Intergrate #VOST into FEMA Tech Corps

Many VOST teams have a proven track record of responding to disasters over the last few years.


Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) as applied to emergency management and disaster recovery is an effort to make use of new communication technologies and social media tools so that a team of trusted agents can lend support via the internet to those on-site who may otherwise be overwhelmed by the volume of data generated during a disaster. VOS Teams (VOST) are activated to perform specific functions in support of affected organizations & jurisdictions. Each VOST has a Team Leader that reports directly to the affected organization/jurisdiction. As additional VOSTs are established, a VOS Group (VOSG) may be established to coordinate the work of the VOSTs to maintain an effective span of control. The VOSG has a Group Supervisor that reports to the affected organization/jurisdiction.



Submitted by in Dec 2013

Comments (6)

  1. From a recent FEMA article about using Tech Corp Liaison with VOST: "During disaster deployments, Tech Corps liaisons will work under the External Affairs emergency support function
    •IS-250.a Emergency Support Function – 15 (External Affairs)"

    While I applaud the idea of formally integrating VOST into FEMA with the use of Liaisons, I strongly dissagree that External Affairs is the place for this group. EA is a net pusher of FEMA information to the field, i.e. call 1-800; or "registrations end..." etc. and is not at all familiar with anything outside the social media arena. VOSTs use social media as a small part of the technology capabilities in their arsenal. With so little competence with technology EA couldn't even begin to understand this resource. This distinct lact of operational use within EA is the reason Community Relations was pulled out of External Affairs and put under Operations, complete with a new name, DSA.

    The VOST work with local EOCs, FDs, CERT and other operational units to generate information from the field to facilitate operations. The Planning Section, including the Situation Unit and the Geospatial Intelligence Unit, gathers tatical and strategic data to generate actionable intelligence and then redistributes it to the Emergency Support Functions that need to know it for decision making. The GIU is most familiar with the technologies VOST uses. Planning or Operations are the only places VOST belongs; their capabilities will be thouroughly misplaced in EA.

    Please read the white paper I wrote to become better informed as to the role VOST play in disaster response.

    Mary Meade
    in Dec 2013
  2. Eric Kant Idea Submitter
    +1 Planning or Operations are the only places VOST belongs; their capabilities will be thouroughly misplaced in EA
    in Dec 2013
    1. More ideal and technical knowledge base VOST the capabilities
      Some how unpredictable to Incident command system and chain of command I think Eric is right Operation coordination Emergency response
      in Apr 2014
  3. What I've seen these seven years are allot of duplication of services from Red Cross to CERT to even the American Legion having considered one of their own with Vets.

    It would seem to me an reorganization might be needed to get all under the one umbrella of sorts and let we volunteers choose what ranks and file order we'd best be suited for by our own experiences.
    in Dec 2013
    1. I agree, there is far too much redundancy of services and key players. Some overlap is beneficial, as well as minor redundancy, but too much leads to underutilized resources and role confusion. The best case scenario is AARL's ARES. They're for the most part the only player in that role. As a result, they have a very professional volunteer corp that is highly trained and mobile. The flip side is The Red Cross. They do a great job, but there is so much redundancy with other orgs trying to do the same logistics. The only saving grace there is the ARC leadership has had the gumption to partner with Southern Baptist Convention and the Salvation Army when possible to ensure that everyone knows what they're doing and when.
      in Apr 2014
  4. Interested to consider how a VOST would function with FEMA. I think that I'll be better positioned to answer that question soon, but for now, here's more info on VOST for those interested:

    VOST Basics: http://www.slideshare.net/CMilliganNZVOST/vost-presentation-basics

    VOST Training (for New Zealand): http://www.smem.co.nz/training-2/nz-vost-training/
    in Jan 2014

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