allReady: Update on "Go Live" Plans & Thank You

Friday, April 15, 2016


Thank You!

allReady started as an aspirational vision to harness the energy and generosity of volunteers to “put disaster response out of work” by helping every community and family be prepared and ready to reduce and avoid the impact of disasters big and small.

That vision - coupled with support and contributions from the initial jumpstart with Microsoft’s Developer Division, to code-a-thons at multiple technology conferences and technology companies to individuals from around the world – has become a thriving, actively developed open source solution that’s nearing “going live” to support its first major preparedness campaign.

We want to thank everyone of you who has supported the project with code, time, expertise, support and visibility.  Without you allReady would still be a sketch on a whiteboard and not about to support of an important campaign to keep families safe in their homes.

allReady to “Go Live” in June

As announced during our recent Standup on March 19th, we have identified our next major milestone for the allReady project to “Go Live” and help a community be prepared in a big way. The Northwest Region of the American Red Cross (we’ll call it the Seattle Region for reference below) will be holding a large preparedness event in their territory on Saturday, June 11. Per Regional Preparedness Manager, Allison DeDonato:

“This event will be a preparedness education expo in partnership with Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the primary energy provider in the Seattle area. The Red Cross, along with local Fire Departments and community partners, will come together to promote community preparedness and accept reservation requests for smoke alarm installations. There will be four event locations, each a Lowe’s (hardware) store. Three locations will be in King County, WA and one will be in Snohomish County, WA.

We have held two similar events in the past with PSE that each generated an attendance of approximately 5,000 people. This is what we are expecting for this event too. Our goal is to get a minimum of 25% of the attendees (1,250) signed up for a (free) smoke alarm installation.”

This is great opportunity to showcase a year’s worth of work by demonstrating how impactful a volunteer-built application can be. Equally meaningful, we’ll be bringing allReady back to where it all began as a gesture of thanks to Microsoft contributions and support.

allReady will not be expected to take appointment reservations. Instead, the Region will use another open source web application called (GitHub Repository). getasmokealarm will be set-up at public-facing kiosks in all four stores. In addition, attendees can make requests by SMS by texting alarm to 844-811-0100 (feel free to try it while it’s in demo mode - the feature will go live on or about April 15).

So, what is expected of allReady?

  1. allReady must be able to accept the request data generated by getasmokealarm via API.
  2. allReady should feature the Seattle Region campaign and provide access to getasmokealarm from its home page and campaign pages.
  3. allReady must be able to register volunteers who want to assist with installations. While the Seattle Region expects 1,250 installation requests, it is safe to assume that some attendees and, perhaps some Lowe’s employees, will want to volunteer to assist the campaign.
  4. allReady must be able to construct and schedule installation itineraries and assign them to registered volunteers. Once the June 11 event ends, that’s when the real work begins: satisfying more than 1,000 requests. Typically, up to three smoke alarms are installed per home. That means the Region may need to install as many as 4,000 alarms in 6-8 weeks. The itinerary workflow is discussed in the Standup video and detailed in the whiteboard images.
  5. allReady must also be able to create single-day, “rally” events in which a geographic area is selected for canvassing by 20-50 volunteer teams.
  6. allReady must be able to provide a dashboard-like view of the campaign’s progress. Possible items for inclusion could be a quantitative display and map showing pending and satisfied requests, average installations per day and top volunteers.

During the Standup it was emphasized that UX design will become a priority as we move toward this milestone. Upon viewing the video of the Standup, Allison replied to Jim:

“The direction that the team is taking the project is pretty much the ideal situation for us. To be honest, I couldn’t think of anything that needed to be added to the conversation. I especially appreciated the focus on the “requesters” and volunteers. Since you are a Red Crosser, I am sure you understand that consumer and volunteer experiences are the most important aspects of any project we are working on.”

Finally, while Seattle will be the first beneficiary of our work, a number of states & regions of the Red Cross will be eager to get their hands on allReady including Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Maine. That’s a lot of impact we can have together.

How You Can Help allReady Go Live

If you live in cold environs like us, June may seem a long way away. Yet, the Seattle event is just 2 months from now. Tony Surma and James Chambers are leading the ongoing posting & managing of tasks and contributions in our repository at GitHub in the “June Go Live” milestones.  There you can see the prioritization of the needed features and bug fixes to go live.  Besides directly contributing code, you can also help by reaching out to engage additional contributors to accelerate development and grow the focus on UX and testing.


Thank for all your continued good work.  We’re allReady excited for June!

- Jim McGowan & Tony Surma

Jim McGowan is the Director of Planning and Situational Awareness for the American Red Cross, North Central Division headquartered in Chicago.

‚ÄčTony Surma is co-founder of Humanitarian Toolbox.