Today, I am proud to announce the launching of our newest product, Fulcrum Community. As a company, we are focused on building the best field data collection platform on the market and making it available to all industries. Many industries have limited budgets due to the nature of their work, particularly humanitarian, emergency management, disaster relief, and environmental organizations. When a disaster strikes, their work, regardless of budget, is vital to those in need of help. Fulcrum Community is a new service designed to helping those who need it most. For short term projects, Fulcrum Community is available at no cost.
Here is an example of how Fulcrum Community works. When disasters strike, damage assessments need to be conducted quickly and efficiently. Local, state, and the federal government need to know where the damaged occurred, how much aid is needed, and where to send it. Currently, this happens with pen and paper using what is called “street sheets” and it happens all over the country at all levels of government. Local officials or volunteers are sent to different parts of the city with clipboards and cameras to write down addresses and categorize damage. The street sheets are then taken and manually entered into a spreadsheet and photos of each home, road, or structure are kept in file folders. Emergency managers then try and quantify the level of damage that occurred across the city. This process often takes a week or more. Often during one event, damage assessments will take place numerous times by different organizations — American Red Cross, local emergency managers, state emergency managers, and then again by FEMA. Mainly this occurs unintentionally due to a lack of communication and different damage level definitions between levels of government.
Fulcrum Community replaces street sheets with smartphones and tablets. Locals provide the smart devices and Fulcrum provides the customized app that works regardless of internet connection. Fulcrum provides an easy app to use instead of pen & paper, allows the users to store photos of each structure, and automatically collects the location by coordinates and by address. Then when an internet connection is available, the data and media can be synced to the cloud making it available to all other users and viewable to support personnel anywhere in the world. The data and media are available in various standard formats as well as live feeds. Fulcrum also provides a way to anonymize the data so personal information of data collectors is not shared with other agencies or the public. In summary, local emergency managers can conduct damage assessments themselves and the assessment data can be fed directly to state emergency managers, Red Cross, and FEMA. The data feeds can be routed directly into GIS desktop software or web viewers and analyzed in real-time. These damage assessments can now be done by the people closest to the event and published directly to those who will allocate the resources for assistance.
With Fulcrum Community, it takes less than thirty minutes to build, test, and launch an app. It’s as easy as dragging and dropping fields. Gone are the days of complicated GIS database structures. We’ve also made many app templates available in our app gallery to get started quickly (many built by FEMA employees). Fulcrum Community allows a manager to launch a public signup page and share it within the organization, or post the link to social media and recruit users quickly. Using social media, users can spread the word and build a community of local volunteers and keep the data standardized.
If you can use Fulcrum Community in your operation, please go to our Fulcrum Community signup page and apply. Applicants will be qualified and granted access to their Community plan quickly. We look forward to helping you in your next response operation.