Emergency Prep Software

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douglas.a.hatch-p40
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Emergency Prep Software

Postby douglas.a.hatch-p40 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:48 pm

I'm an EQ President in the San Francisco area. My bishop recently came to me with an assignment. Apparently, in the event of a natural disaster (e.g. earthquake) the Bishop is responsible for reporting the status of all members to the Stake President within 24 hours. So the Bishop wants me to divide the ward into geographic regions (roughly 20) with a District Leader in each region. Each DL will be responsible for approximately 15 families. In the event of an emergency, the DLs will check on their families and report to the Bishop. In my mind, the requirements of this assignment are as follows:
  1. Partitioning of ward should be driven primarily by geographic proximity
  2. Districts need to be updated periodically (perhaps monthly) to account for move ins and move outs.
  3. District leaders need to always have a hard copy of their list of families on hand.
At first I was going to have someone manually plot all the members on a map, assign DLs, etc. But this would take a long time not only on the front-end, but also during periodic maintenance and updating.

I'm now thinking of automating the whole process. Basically, there would be 2 inputs: a ward list and a list of DLs (with address information for both). I would write a script which geocodes every family and DL, then calculates the distance of each family from each DL. Next, the script would assign families to DLs as a function of distance, with load balancing to ensure roughly equal number of families in each district. Ultimately, the script will create lists for each DL and email the list to them. They would be responsible for printing off the list and storing it hard-copy in their home. This script would probably run monthly.

I'd rather not reinvent the wheel here. Has anyone heard of a solution that already exists out there? With thousands or wards, I'd be surprised if no one has tried to automate this assignment yet. And if it hasn't been done, perhaps the church should step in and officially build something and make it available for widespread distribution.

Thoughts?

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:28 pm

I do not mean to be insensitive, but I suggest this in all seriousness. Have you considered just using the home teachers? Around here, we have always tried to consider travel distance and location in HT assignments, the organization is already in place (if it is organized, of course), and you would not have to keep up two sets of organizations and lists.

There have been times here when it was felt that the home teachers could not be depended on to do the job. In those situations, we have opted to encourage and train the home teachers in their responsibilities, rather than try to set up a whole new system. After discussion, the leaders generally agreed that the same home teachers who were not considered dependable would not be considered dependable in any other organization, either.

Just my two cents. Use it for whatever value you may find in it.

douglas.a.hatch-p40
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Postby douglas.a.hatch-p40 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:20 pm

Thanks for your 2 cents. I actually tried to figure out how we could administer this through the home teaching program. But there are a few problems with this model:

1. We don't assign families geographically. Our ward is about 20 minutes driving from one end to the other. This is fine for a once a month visit, but if there's a huge earthquake and all the roads are impassable and the phones are down, chances are that those home teachers won't be able to get a hold of that family.
2. The Bishops only wants younger men assigned as DLs. We have a lot of 60 year old guys doing home teaching just fine. But they may not be in a condition to get to all their families quickly after an earthquake.


The idea is this: if phone lines aren't down and roads aren't impassable, the situation is probably not that serious and we can easily make a few phone calls and figure things out. What we're planning for is THE BIG ONE. Power lines and phones down, trees in the road, gas lines broken, houses on fire, etc. We want DLs who can reach all their families on foot if necessary. Thus the geographic proximity requirement.

1historian-p40
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Postby 1historian-p40 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:43 pm

Have you thought of using the ward geo codes? Divide the ward up however you want assign leaders under the optional callings under the EQ and then as long as the clerk puts the geo code on new records your systemn will keep up to date, You will be able to print a listing of all members for each group leader and all you would have to do is replace a leader when they move.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:48 pm

douglas.a.hatch wrote:2. The Bishops only wants younger men assigned as DLs. We have a lot of 60 year old guys doing home teaching just fine. But they may not be in a condition to get to all their families quickly after an earthquake.


How about pairing up the older guys with younger guys? I think there's a big advantage to sending someone who has visited the house on a monthly basis rather then one that last went who knows how many months ago.

Also the family (and maybe neighbors) are more likely to know the HTs and give them the information then someone they may not remember from church. Likewise the HT's is more likely to know the family is probably on their vacation that they talked about on the last visit.

The_Earl
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Option 2

Postby The_Earl » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:13 am

douglas.a.hatch wrote:Thanks for your 2 cents. I actually tried to figure out how we could administer this through the home teaching program. But there are a few problems with this model:

1. We don't assign families geographically. Our ward is about 20 minutes driving from one end to the other. This is fine for a once a month visit, but if there's a huge earthquake and all the roads are impassable and the phones are down, chances are that those home teachers won't be able to get a hold of that family.
2. The Bishops only wants younger men assigned as DLs. We have a lot of 60 year old guys doing home teaching just fine. But they may not be in a condition to get to all their families quickly after an earthquake.


The idea is this: if phone lines aren't down and roads aren't impassable, the situation is probably not that serious and we can easily make a few phone calls and figure things out. What we're planning for is THE BIG ONE. Power lines and phones down, trees in the road, gas lines broken, houses on fire, etc. We want DLs who can reach all their families on foot if necessary. Thus the geographic proximity requirement.


In one of my wards, the fast offering routes doubled as emergency contact routes.

FO routes work better as geographic groups anyway, and generally paired an adult leader with a young man. This gives some 'vigor' to the group, as well as leadership.

You should also look at the good mapping threads here, they can help you draw boundaries and put people in them.

I am a big fan of Google Earth for doing stuff like this. It is easy to look up addresses, plot areas and whatnot. In an emergency, Google Earth will only work 'offline' which means it won't download maps or do address lookup. It will use maps cached on the harddrive, and points are stored as GPS coordinates, so you should still be able to play with it a bit. You can unplug from your network and see how it works for you. You could also build hardcopy maps from it as well.

The Earl

MonteLDS-p40
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Postby MonteLDS-p40 » Tue May 13, 2008 9:56 pm

Sadly since I did what you thought of, i put in all the ward members into my google earth. and had to sort them.

Although HT would be awesome. We don't have enough active members for the ratio of inactive members. In fact not all of our ward members are assigned home teachers because of the issue..

see this post for an application that can help

http://tech.lds.org/forum/showpost.php?p=2088&postcount=7


in short though i would much rather have the MLS output the addresses so i can import them into google maps.

PS living over in the Hayward Ward I known your pain.. if you want to see our EP layout PM me and i can give u a sample


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