Innovation in the Big Apple

An innovative approach was taken by the Samaritan Implementation Team for the New York City Emergency Management project. “There were several firsts with NYCEM”, stated Implementation Manager Ken Ross. “This was the first project at Samaritan to use the Angular development toolset”. For Front End Developer Damien Taylor, it was a learning process, but the successful completion of the project has established a baseline for going forward using Angular to build webpages.

An important characteristic of the project is that NYCEM by necessity is very selective in recruiting and training volunteers. The process is so unique because trained volunteers may be called upon to assist in a wide array of emergency situations in the largest city in the United States.

The NYCEM team is headed by Herman Schaffer, Assistant Commissioner, Community Outreach. Herman fulfilled a key role in defining the system that volunteers needed in the project.

Team leaders (Team Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs) can utilize the volunteer management system as volunteers, as leaders of an organization team, and as approvers of hours submitted by team members. These actions can all be performed using a single sign-on, another first for Samaritan.

Volunteers who are signing up to join a team enter the street address of their home or place of work located within New York City, and the system takes the address and drops a pin on a Google Map. The system assigns the new potential team member automatically to the team that has responsibility for that geographical area. There are a total of 55 teams in the system.

NYCEM also requires that each new team member complete basic training before they serve, a requirement tracked and verified within the system. Team members can participate only after training and other on-boarding conditions have been met.

The main volunteer web page contains an alert feature that notifies team members of any pending emergencies within the city. Once signed in, volunteers only view emergencies posted for their team. Team leaders can submit training, exercises, and emergency opportunities for their team and for any other teams that would be included in an event.

Citizen Emergency Response Teams (CERTS) use the system for sending notifications to volunteers, such as newsletters and event announcements.

“I am excited about continuing work with NYCEM. We are discussing new projects within the Emergency Management Office”, said Ken. We look forward to new challenges with our friends at New York City Emergency Management.

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