Caitria and Morgan O’Neill: How to Step Up in the Face of Disaster

Caitria and Morgan O’Neill are sisters from Monson, Mass., where an uncommon EF3 tornado destroyed the town in 2011. They put their future career plans on hold to design a disaster recovery system. helps communities organize and maximize the help available after an emergency.

They’ve identified three main problems that prevent locals from responding to emergencies effectively:

Tools – Software pools resources, tracks needs and responsibilities, and informs the public of what’s happening in real-time.

Timing – Fifty percent of emergency assistance arrives within seven days of the event. Most communities can’t organize quickly enough to take advantage of it and are left with few resources to help people in the aftermath.

Data – Collecting the right information and delivering it to the appropriate people is essential for disaster recovery teams. Unfortunately, community organizers often don’t know what information they need or how to track it, losing out on important federal support in the process.

The sisters say is a “recovery in a box” program. Any community can use it to provide resources to their people when they’re needed the most.

Want more Ted Talks? Check out last week’s post: Angela Patton: A Father-Daughter Dance … in Prison