With assistance from everyday drivers, fast responses to storm-related emergencies will be made possible thanks to a partnership between a Phoenix government office and the makers of a traffic app.
“In emergency management, I think there’s an opportunity for us to say, ‘what are those things out there that will allow us to inform our residents and help them make safe decisions as they are moving around town?’” said Lisa Jones, director of the Phoenix Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The department worked with representatives from Waze, the navigation and traffic alerts app, in order to integrate the system for Phoenix residents to report issues they see. The intention is for it to create a direct connection that will bring help quickly, particularly during a monsoon storm.
“You’re driving … you see a flooded intersection, for example, or you see a pothole,” Jones said. “We want our residents to be able to communicate that to us. That way we can get immediately to the area. We see it as a win-win, using technology that’s already there.”
The app’s popularity played a role in the team-up, as well.
The office will eventually have electronic boards that will relay the relevant real-time information residents share.
“We can overlay (that) with other information we already have,” Jones said, along with monsoon weather coming through the Valley. “We can start to move resources into those areas” as necessary, she said.
June 15 marks the start of monsoon season in Arizona.
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