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Citizens using technology to help first responders in Minneapolis

| 08.06.2007 | 07:25:333606 |
August 6 '07: When the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis last week, regular citizens at the scene began taking videos and photos of the disaster and then posting that information and media to internet sharing sites, blogs and community groups. The Boston Herald reported that emergency officials in Minneapolis have taken that information and are using it - actively cooperating with citizens who recorded the media.
Kathleen Tierney, professor of sociology at the University of Colorado told the Herald, "When disasters occur, people, resources, equipment, information, volunteers converge at the disaster area. ... It's kind of the opposite of the panic myth - that everybody runs away. In fact everybody runs to disasters."

Additionally, several photos posted to Flickr have made their way into the hands of officials at the National Safety Transportation Board to be used in investigating the accident. This kind of cooperation is what North Carolina's Frontline Wireless LLC. hopes to build on: leveraging citizen cooperation and media content with disaster and emergency response.

Stagg Newman, the CTO of Frontline told the Herald, that a person at the scene of an emergency would "be able to take a picture of what's going on. ... It gets onto the broadband network and immediately goes to the 911 center." Newman said he hopes that his company will be able to build the technology by purchasing some of the radio frequencies being offered by the FCC.