Q: I was at a meeting where you discussed CrisisCleanup.org recently, and I was especially interested in your comments about whether 2-1-1 is able to use Crisis Cleanup, and how that has worked in the past. I am the newly appointed 2-1-1 Outreach and Disaster Coordinator for the state and I would love to adopt an existing program for coordinating disaster response and recovery efforts, rather than "reinvent the wheel."
A: New Jersey and Long Island 2-1-1s played a central role in Crisis Cleanup coordinating efforts during Hurricane Sandy, and several Colorado 2-1-1s used Crisis Cleanup during the 2013 fires and floods.
Crisis Cleanup was tailor-made for 2-1-1s in the United States. Our experience has shown that as a well-known community resource in the US, 2-1-1 organizations often know who needs help faster than anyone else.
In the past, 2-1-1s have struggled to get this information to the voluntary organizations on the ground in a timely and systematic manner. And before Crisis Cleanup, 2-1-1s had very little visibility regarding the status of a work order.
Crisis Cleanup changes all that. 2-1-1s may now enter information directly into Crisis Cleanup, making the information instantly available to dozens of organizations actually helping survivors. Then, 2-1-1s can have real-time situational awareness regarding which clients have been helped, which work orders have been claimed, and which organizations are acting quickly. All of this information translates to a much more positive experience for clients who call back and want to know the status of their request.
An important caution: Because 2-1-1s perform assessments, but do not perform muck-outs, debris removal or cleanup activities, 2-1-1s should never claim a work order. Only organizations with "boots on the ground" should claim work orders. If a 2-1-1 claims a work order, they make it unavailable to other voluntary organizations that might be able to perform work.