At the Disrupt SF 2017 Hackathon, a massive swath of the 102 companies that took the stage on Sunday presented hacks with disaster relief in mind. From ResQme to ResQMi to RescueMe, if you can think of a phrase with the word “rescue” in it, it probably showed up on stage among the roughly 30 emergency and disaster related hacks.
Most of the disaster-related apps that presented today mentioned the recent events of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma in their pitches, observing that tech should be able to pair victims, resources and rescue workers far better than existing services. Many of the rescue-oriented apps that took the stage acknowledged that mobile data services usually go down during these events and the vast majority of them offered an SMS-based version of their hack.
While some hacks addressed specific disaster scenarios like emergency ridesharing and drone rescue operations, nearly all of the disaster-related apps mentioned failings of modern emergency management, like a “lack of communication” between victims and rescuers and the absence of a “cohesive program” tracking realtime rescue and relief efforts.