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Thursday, May 19, 2011

IT Help for Evacuees and Survivors

Hardware can be replaced much more easily than unique information.
Among the hundreds of damaged and destroyed homes and offices there
are many hard drives, DVD, flash drives and the like with important,
often confidential information. During the next few weeks and months,
that information could be vital to the rebuilding of the local economy
and the lives of many residents.

Just a few of the vital things that might be found:

Customer databases
Student research and course work
Financial and legal records
Municipal documents and records
Photos or video from weddings or special occasions
Expensive software or digital content
Locally-stored records of emails or communications
Job seeker resumes, contact lists, etc.

Computer media that are not obviously destroyed need to be protected
from further damage, theft or unauthorized access, marked for
identification, and stored where the appropriate person or people can
find the information. There should be an affordable, local means of
testing computer media for usability, recovering important data and
delivering the information to the appropriate people in confidential,
reliable manner.

This may be less urgent that immediate shelter and medical needs, but
it is something that must not be overlooked during the oncoming weeks
and months. Restored information can get a business going and people
working again much faster. It can help a student finish a course or
school year instead of repeating. It can help restore a sense of
normality to families that may have otherwise lost everything.

I'm hoping that volunteers with the necessary skills and/or equipment
can arrange and assist with periodic events at nearby schools or
resource centres.

Later on, there will be need for replacement of destroyed computers
and other equipment. I am presently building an online form that will
help households, non-profits and small businesses affected by the
Slave Lake fire request computers and related equipment from
organizations that specialize in computer re-use and recycling. I
expect it to be functioning some time on the long weekend or early
next week.

In the meantime, I can be reached by volunteers, organizations and
others via the contact form at http://tinyurl.com/4x7w3l3

Ralph Pichie
Technical Writer, Web Developer & IT Consultant

1 comment:

  1. I have emailed Steve Jobs at his corporate email asking if there is anything Apple can do to assist.