The team was shocked to see how many institutions looking after vulnerable populations of older or younger people were severely impacted by Covid-19. After 9/11 and major events since, funding was made available through the US Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health, Housing, FEMA, and other organizations in the US to invest in an All-Hazards planning initiative. Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans were written, essential infrastructure identified, and programs set up so that the public and private sector could plan ahead of time to be more resilient, and adapt to rapidly changing emergency conditions effectively. Much of this planning, exercising, preparing seems to have gone out of the window for Covid-19. As a concrete example, school closure plans for a 90-day closure were not followed; enhanced green cleaning programs were not implemented; Points of Distribution plans for PPE for vulnerable populations (including the homeless), caregivers, and second line responders were not followed. When decision-makers were reminded of the plans, some found them, and were able to deploy them.
It is likely that all this work, much of which was completed between 2002 and 2012, was kept in bookshelves and on servers. At the time smartphones were not ubiquitous, and cloud storage was barely available. In today's world, there are few shelves for old paper, and who is likely to go through someone else's folders on a server?
Actionable knowledge has not changed very much. Pulled together by a multi-disciplinary team with a deep hands-on understanding of all sides of the problem, and especially the limitations that crisis mode places on decision making (because of fear, tension, and more), this knowledge can be deployed in a new way, pivoting onto smartphone technology. It can be made accessible to any education level, in most languages, and made relevant for any type of institution.
Our proposal captures the desire to be better prepared for every environmental, social, economic, inimical or other event we may find ourselves enduring. We seek to adapt, be collaborative and resilient, and not face fragmentation within our society caused by lack of knowledge, limited access to resources, and fear.