Cheryl Lewis, communications manager for All Hands, summarized their comms readiness policy:
"Because we want to be our most effective during disaster response, All Hands is training new staff on BGAN and refreshing what those who've been around awhile already know. It's easy to get rusty when you don't use the equipment very often and having to scramble to get up to speed in the field would mean wasted time. We need full communication as swiftly as possible. Training now helps us ensure that."
Helping with the cleanup after the 2011 tsunami in Japan
All Hands’ technology manager, Jeremy Hatter, just returned from the Philippines, where the organization has had an active project to help the Cayagon de Oro community recover from Typhoon Sendong since December of 2011. All Hands also keeps an Iridium satphone positioned there, for rapid response and team deployment when lines are down and cell phones don’t work.
All Hands was founded following the 2004 South Asia tsunami, when founder David Campbell organized a group of volunteers to rebuild five villages on the coast of Thailand. The lessons learned since then, in incredibly challenging responses such as Haiti and Japan (see photo above), are the foundation for their readiness strategy and highly effective volunteer engagement.
We applaud All Hands’ commitment to readiness, flexibility, team training, and the power of volunteerism.
For another excellent example of a culture of readiness, see our September 2011 feature on the Eagles Wings Foundation.
For BGAN and satphone users, remember to run an occasional test. As Cheryl states above, “It’s easy to get rusty!” See our Preparedness page for some important BGAN tips.