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Unknown Avengers: Saving Lives and Rebuilding, One Community at a Time

May 13, 2019

As the Fulcrum Community Advocate, I had the pleasure of attending the National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) Conference in Nashville, TN. It was a life-changing and definitely a life-saving experience for me.

For starters, the ambiance of the venue, the Gaylord Opryland Resort, was insane. The Gaylord’s decor was a mindblowing visual playhouse adorned with contemporary art, magical guitars, and beautiful gardens that made you feel like you’d literally stepped into Eden’s womb.

Gaylord Opryland

Then, just when I thought I had seen it all, I walked into the greatest show on earth: NVOAD MMXIX.

The NVOAD 2019 conference was well attended with over 500 superheroes and -sheroes from across the globe. They literally traveled from as far as Japan, Guam, Hawaii, and a variety of other places throughout the states. These supernatural beings held workshops and lectures similar to meetings at the World Security Council in an Avengers movie. The incredible details they shared about their recovery experiences made me feel like I had just landed in the middle of Wakanda.

It was beyond inspiring to hear how these super humans actually prepare and recover from disasters without hesitation. They amazingly walk into a disaster when the rest of us are running at top speed to get out. They do this often with little training and in some cases none at all. They are truly exemplifying the resiliency of the human spirit and the power of mankind, teaching me that the greatest weapon on earth lies within the beat of our own hearts.

NVOAD Conference 2019

My last day at NVOAD was the icing on the cake. I attended a workshop facilitated by Team Rubicon which highlighted stories of recovery and survival using data technology. William Porter, Senior Director of Operations, spoke candidly about the importance of data tools in recovery efforts. He also shared a very compelling story about Fulcrum and why every responder needed data tools to effectively save lives.

His story was quite an eye opener for me given it was my first time hearing first hand how recovery teams use Fulcrum. He also passionately shared the importance of having flexible mobile platforms that allow teams the ability to create whatever surveys needed before, during and after the disaster periods, which is exactly what Fulcrum does. That started a lot of questions in the room from other warriors needing more firepower to save lives. It was in that moment that I realized that Spatial Networks is definitely a Wakanda in the world of geospatial technology, and it made me feel a lot like Shuri the brilliant geospatial technologist arming her team with new tools to defeat the disasters.

NVOAD was an amazing and inspiring journey highlighting the commitment and bravery of first and second responders attending the conference. It was also a very proud moment for me to know that Spatial Networks developed a platform that assists these superheroes in saving lives every day which meant we were actually on the front line as well. That’s some pretty hardcore stuff for a small group of people punching codes in St. Petersburg, Florida and I am proud to work with them and every responder we serve worldwide.

Fulcrum Community is a no-cost, short term crowdsourced data collection solution for qualified humanitarian or disaster preparedness/recovery efforts led by volunteer organizations or teams. Apply for your provisioned account here.