(Released 17 June 2015) Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with seven technology organizations to provide state, local, tribal and territorial governments with technology resources during a disaster to expedite response and recovery. Cisco Systems, Google, Humanity Road, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, Intel, Joint Communications Task Force and Microsoft have joined FEMA’s new Tech Corps program – a nationwide network of skilled, trained technology volunteers who can address critical technology gaps during a disaster.
During major disasters or emergencies, trained technology volunteers can complement ongoing response and recovery efforts, including installing temporary networks; enabling internet connectivity, and telephone, and radio communications; and providing other support, such as geographic information system (GIS) capacity, coding, and data analytics. In 2002, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed a mechanism of leveraging private sector technology capabilities to innovate the way federal, state, local and tribal governments respond to disasters. Tech Corps is based on this model, which was developed beginning in 2013 to assemble the initial group of companies for the voluntary program.
“When disaster strikes, we all have a role to play in helping survivors recover, and that includes the private sector,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Tech Corps volunteers will bring a vital skill set to our emergency management team to help the survivors we serve recover more quickly after disasters. We’re grateful to Senator Wyden and the private sector for contributing to this effort and we look forward to partnering with them to make communities stronger and safer.”
“Tech Corps harnesses a deep well of technical expertise and private-sector manpower to make sure every resource is available immediately when disaster strikes,” said Senator Wyden. “Information technology is often critical to saving lives, and this program ensures that red tape won’t stand in the way of volunteer experts who can stand up temporary cell networks and Wi-Fi solutions that are so important in disaster areas. I’m hopeful today’s partners are the first of many to sign up to work hand-in-hand with emergency responders to help craft more resilient and effective responses to future disasters.”
Already, Tech Corps partners have been active on their own during national and global technology disaster response efforts, including providing support during Hurricane Sandy and the earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti. This initiative signifies a greater level of coordination between volunteers and the emergency management community through FEMA.
To learn more about Tech Corps, please visit: fema.gov/tech-corps.