Browsing Category: Disaster Services

The Anatomy of a Disaster Response

The forecast calls for a storm — It could be anything from a hurricane to a tornado or even floods. But the type of disaster doesn’t matter, because the Convoy of Hope team is prepared to jump into action no matter the situation.

What happens behind-the-scenes in Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services department? All year long, no matter the season, our staff and lead volunteers are constantly training and preparing for the next response.

Of course, there are disasters that catch all of us off guard — like earthquakes or tsunamis — but more often than not, disasters are weather-related in some way and that means we can see them coming, so to speak.

It all starts in the COHOC

Whether it’s a hurricane forming offshore, severe weather and tornadoes being forecasted or extensive rainfall leading to flooding, these types of disasters put our team into motion before they even occur. When the probability of weather-related events start increasing, we activate the Convoy of Hope Operations Center or the “COHOC” as we call it. While the COHOC exists within the walls of our World Headquarters in Springfield, Mo., technology today now allows us to have a virtual COHOC wherever we go.

Once activated, we are scouring multiple sources of data to mine out the latest intel to help us shape our potential response. At the same time, we are readying the appropriate trucks, supplies, equipment and personnel to respond,  should the situation escalate.

When we hit the road

If a response is warranted, we hit the road. The COHOC continues to provide support to the team while en route by providing the latest intel on the situation and identifying potential landing spots.

Once the deployment team is in full response mode in the field, support continues from the COHOC by seeking out the latest intel, but also by communicating with other parts of the organization to provide two-way communications to and from the field. It is important for the COHOC to act as the central hub of communication for the overall response.

In addition to the COHOC, we have a Mobile Operations Center and once deployed, it acts as our base for field operations. The Mobile Operations Center and the COHOC stay in constant contact for the duration of the response through cellular and satellite communication devices.

Cleaning and Debriefing

Once the response comes to an end and the team returns home, there is a plethora of tasks including cleaning and maintenance of equipment and even debriefing to refine our processes for the next response. Once all the work is done and things are back in place, we’re ready to do it all over again.

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Disaster Services / Staff Spotlight

Convoy of Hope to be Featured on ‘Shark Tank’

ABC’s “Shark Tank” will feature Convoy of Hope and show alum, LuminAID, in the upcoming holiday episode airing Sunday, December 3, 2017, at 8 p.m. CST on ABC. “Shark Tank” alum, LuminAID, first appeared on the show in 2015 to pitch their idea for an inflatable solar lantern to make light accessible for outdoor recreation, as well as humanitarian aid. The upcoming episode will highlight innovations centered around the holidays and giving back.  

The feature will showcase LuminAID’s recent humanitarian work in Puerto Rico with Convoy of Hope following Hurricane Maria.

“It was incredible to be able to meet families and see their faces light up when they received [LuminAID devices] and were able to charge their phones,” says Anna Stork, co-founder of LuminAID.
Convoy of Hope has also distributed LuminAID solar devices to Southeast Texas after Hurricane Harvey and to the British Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“Out of all the products I’ve seen and tried, [LuminAID] meets the needs during times of disaster,” says Paul Coroleuski, Hurricane Maria response director for Convoy of Hope. “It brings light and comfort, but it also gives people the chance to stay connected by being able to charge their cellular devices.”

In addition to providing LuminAID solar aid, Convoy of Hope has served more than 2.6 million meals and over 217,000 individuals in Puerto Rico.

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Disaster Services / In The News / Join The Convoy / News / Partner Spotlight