Emergency management officials in Fort Collins, Colo. documented nearly $1.4 million of property and infrastructure damage and $2 million of debris removal after September flooding using a mobile app on their smartphones and tablets.
The app is part of the Damage Assessment Reporting Solution (DARS) from Atlanta, GA-based RunMobile and is designed to help emergency managers and recovery specialists improve the speed and consistency of damage assessment reporting during and after a disaster.
Prior to the September floods, assessors in Ft. Collins would have been required to use pen and paper to detail damages. The paper reports would then be collected and retyped into spreadsheets before they could be shared and analyzed with state and federal authorities.
Using DARS, damage assessment reports were created in the field on tablets and smartphones and then uploaded to a web-based Command Center database where the reports could be viewed and analyzed in real-time by local and state officials.
“The flood damage to our community was widespread and required us to create hundreds of individual damage assessment reports,” said Brian Varrella, Floodplain Administrator for the City of Fort Collins. “DARS allowed us to quickly capture information in the field, create reports on a single platform, and to aggregate our assessment data.”
The DARS app works on any mobile device (Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry) and provides a form-driven data collection process to ensure consistent and detailed damage descriptions. The app integrates to device cameras and GPS technology allowing responders to photograph and precisely map damage locations.
Reporting from the app is transmitted to a secure, cloud-based Command Center database that gives officials a comprehensive, real-time view into disaster damage. The data accumulated from the reports can be downloaded to support requests for disaster aid from state and federal agencies.
“Mobile technologies are already used in a variety of industries to improve field reporting and data collection,” said Ted Chappell, Managing Director, RunMobile. “We’re pleased to team-up with Ft. Collins to help improve their damage assessment process.”