A Red Cross El Niño Disaster Response Plan – in WorkFlowy


March 17, 2016


I had a couple of email chats recently with Jere Greene who tells me,

“In a disaster, I am generally assigned as a Government Liaison to an Emergency Operations Center, and having all this information accessible on my laptop computer is most valuable… I discovered WorkFlowy a couple of months ago and got hooked… I have automated the Red Cross El Niño Disaster Response Plan for Southern California using WorkFlowy and while it looks like we haven’t got El Niño to arrive, the program is working great.”

I had to know more, so I asked Jere to share his list with us to see what a Disaster Response Plan might look like in WorkFlowy. The demo list Jere is letting us take a peek at includes only a third of the list of volunteers, he says.

Jere has put together a comprehensive tag index where combinations of tags interplay with one another to filter for the specific information that might be needed – at the drop of a hat. I might just add here that the demo list Jere provided for me to tinker with covers more than 43 pages of a PDF, and he tells me that the list is only partial. Now you might understand why a tag index is so crucial to drill down into the information needed.

“The initial screen is fairly spartan. It displays an alphabetical list of all the available tags and the full descriptive name of each.”

“We have historically had four major zones in Orange County that are identified as potential flood areas.”

“Each of these are further sub-divided in half.”

“Each half has specific response vehicles and shelter trailers designated.”

Above we are filtering for vehicles in the #FPNe zone.

“Also identified with the Zone tags are the shelter locations and feeding organizations we can utilize for support. A shelter trailer has 200 cots, blankets, etc. to support a shelter, generally in a high school gym or a church facility.”

By filtering for a specific zone (in this case, the North Zone) and the #shelter tag, one would get the following results:

“In addition each of the areas has a list of volunteers who have said they would be available if their area was affected. I identified what positions each volunteer was qualified to work (actually each has up to three areas where they could be assigned). I added other items specific to each individual (second language skills, ham radio call signs, those who have been assigned Red Cross radios, licensed skills such as nurses and mental health workers, etc. that are all selectable by tags on the hidden line of attached notes).”

Below we’re filtering for #dhs volunteers (Disaster Health Services – Nurse) in the South Zone:

Here we’re filtering by tag for all volunteer ham radio operators across all zones:

“I created a list of all sites that have national agreements with the Red Cross and used the first line of a note to display the address. The second (normally hidden line) has any applicable search tags.”

“I have a list of all the hospitals, again with the first (visible) note line used to display the address information.”

“The #key tag displays a list of individuals, both paid staff and volunteers, who have been identified as key to any major disaster response based either on their position or their history as disaster responders to get things started.”

Here we’re filtering for a key person involved with logistics:

I’ve also found some other gems in the partial list that Jere has shared with us. One rather nifty dynamic for finding information on evacuation routes for specific cities is included in his in-list description:

“After searching for the #evac Tag, add “OR” in the Search Box and then click on the city of interest.”

Take a look at the following GIF, which illustrates how easy Jere has made it to find, say, the evacuation route for Yorba Linda:

Jere, it seems, is only just getting warmed up with his WorkFlowy Disaster Response Plan…

“Since I have been involved with only Orange County since 1993, that was where I started on the project. Last year, however we regionalized the response group, and I will be adding information that will include Riverside and San Bernardino counties. As I accumulate additional levels and time, I plan to add the following: Inventory lists for the response vehicles, shelter trailers, shelter kits (signage and forms), and the shelter nursing kits that would track expiration dates on meds.”

A massive thank you to Jere Greene for providing this mega list (albeit partial) to tinker with and allowing us to catch a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes logistics of a Disaster Response Plan. Not only has he put some back-breaking work into setting his list up for his own use, but more so, he has invested a fair amount of time in cleaning up some sensitive information therein in order to share it with the WorkFlowy community.

Get EXCLUSIVE bite-sized  WorkFlowy  updates: tips, tricks & news about FREE online workshops with Frank Degenaar. Sign up here.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 years ago

Many times over, YES!

Think of the crowd-sourcing potential in fleshing out a publicized “open-source”framework like this for other cities (e.g. New Orleans and hurricanes, Tornado Alley locales, etc.).

Supplemented with links to Google maps, NGO relief agencies, ad-hoc pages listing survivors (like 2011 Tohuku earthquake and tsunami.

Easily updated from multiple platforms (laptops at a command center, mobiles from the field).

Breathtaking possibilities.

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
7 years ago

Wow, that is so cool! It is wonderful to see WorkFlowy used for something so … important. Thanks to Jere for sharing.

Subscribe to the newsletter

We'll send you a weekly roundup of the latest posts


Workflowy replaces your notebooks, stickies and bloated apps with a simple, smooth digital notebook that makes it easy to get organized and be productive.