Currant CEO Participates in Bootcamp for Response to Syrian Refugee Crisis

  • February 24, 2016

People doing great things.

Led by Desiree Mantel-Anderson and her team of forward-thinking innovators across the globe, the Field Innovation Team (FIT) is on the leading edge of disaster response design.

dog rescue, syrian refugee crisis, disaster response.

Dogs can be trained to drop critical supplies to those awaiting rescue.

Currant’s CEO recently participated in the FIT Bootcamp 4, held in Midway, Utah. The Bootcamp was an exciting time of networking, learning, creating, and innovating around the Syrian refugee crisis, the main topic of the event, and FIT’s next deployment.

For three days, Currant participated in the FIT’s 3-step process for innovation, discussing the challenges presented by the refugee crisis, from the concerns of the aid workers to the immediate needs of the refugees. Click here for a video for a more detailed explanation of this trying time.

In between design sessions, the True Color Theory was presented to the participants, which gave an in-depth strategy for cultural awareness and how to better understand different points of view.

syrian refugee crisis, disaster response

The Escape Games Experience!

Also included was a fantastic presentation on rescue dogs trained to drop packages of first aid, water, and other critical supplies to those who may be trapped. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit from the rescue dog!  Next, we all donned hard hats and participated in Escape Games, which forced us to get creative and solve the puzzle of the golden bars!

So much was created during FIT Bootcamp 4; innovative thinking, great friendships, and the hope that we can all make a difference in the world’s problems by contributing our unique ideas.

Superstorm Sandy-Inspired App To Help Neighbors In Crisis Wins Special Category Award In AT&T’s Civic App Challenge–New Jersey

  • December 14, 2015

NEWARK, NJ (December 4, 2015) – A Ridgewood, New Jersey resident who took in neighbors after Superstorm Sandy knocked out power and limited transportation throughout the town recently won a special category award in the AT&T Civic App Challenge-New Jersey after developing an app inspired by her own relief efforts.

superstorm sandy, app, emergency response

We won!

The CurrantNEIGHBORHOOD app “connects the dots in times of crisis,” according to Denise Spell, CEO and Chief Innovator at Currant, Inc. Neighbors can access and share critical information such as where to find gas, groceries, and a place to charge devices when electricity and supplies may not be immediately available. Residents can also communicate with local governments even if landlines are down, providing area leaders and first responders with real-time information directly from those impacted the most. Photos and videos uploaded by users enable emergency crews to prepare a more tailored response.

“We’re thrilled that the CurrantNEIGHBORHOOD app is a winning entry for the AT&T Civic App Challenge-New Jersey.  The app was inspired by the events of Superstorm Sandy and is designed for people to help each other after natural disasters.  This award will help us to make the app available for free to everyone for use in coping with the devastating effects of disasters,” said Spell.

The AT&T Civic App Challenge – New Jersey was launched in September and sponsored by AT&T in collaboration with the New Jersey Tech Council and other organizations throughout the state. The challenge was designed to encourage local entrepreneurs to develop mobile applications to facilitate communication between community and government. Ms. Spell was presented with the award during a ceremony held at Rowan University. The app is scheduled to launch in January, 2016.

Currant, Inc. was founded in 2013 by Ms. Spell and is a member of the Enterprise Development Center (EDC). The EDC, located on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), is a cooperative and resourceful ecosystem for start-ups and small-businesses. From finding the right working space and attracting investment capital, to building staff and developing effective business plans and marketing strategies, the EDC supports companies as they work to become profitable businesses and dynamic participants in the economic life of New Jersey and the nation. For more information about the EDC, visit njit-edc.org.

More information may be found at http://currant.ly, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. See the winning entry at http://currant.ly/appchallenge/.

 

 

Turkey Fryer Safety

  • November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving is upon us, and let’s be honest here. There are few things more delicious than a juicy, crispy, golden-brown, deep-fried turkey. Deep-frying your turkey can result in a flavor explosion the likes of roasting has never seen.  What better to complement Aunt Mary’s oyster stuffing and Grandma Val’s sweet potato casserole than a beautiful, glistening bird the color of sunset and golden bars?

safety, turkey, fryer, Thanksgiving

Don’t be a turkey. Fry your bird the safe way.

Not every turkey ends up being the culinary magnum opus described above. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), over four thousand fires occur on Thanksgiving, mostly due to turkey-frying epic fails.

 

Currant reminds you that many supermarkets and restaurants will provide you with a deep-fried turkey from the safety of their professional kitchens. If you must fry your own turkey, take a few minutes and read our safety tips to make sure your Thanksgiving doesn’t end in tragedy:

 

  1. MOVE AWAY FROM THE HOUSE. Make sure any frying is done at least ten feet away from your home. As much fun as it is to watch, keep the kids inside (as well as pets.)
  2. DON’T FRY A FROZEN TURKEY. You’ve seen the videos. Make sure your bird is completely thawed and DRY. Any extra liquid can cause hot oil to bubble over, which can quickly ruin everyone’s day. Also, if the weather is bad, take care that snow or rain doesn’t fall into your fryer.
  3. WATCH THE TEMPERATURE. Oil can overheat and start a fire. Put your jacket on, listen to the game on the radio, and keep an eye on that thermostat. Never leave your fryer unattended!
  4. USE THE PROPER TOOLS. Turkey fryers typically come with a bar on which to hang the bird so two people may gently lower it into the oil. If you don’t have one, go buy one. Never put your hand or arm directly over bubbling hot oil. (And we shouldn’t have to say that one.)
  5. BE PREPARED. Have a working fire extinguisher within reach.

 

Your Thanksgiving memories should be about family and food, not about the time when Cousin Sal burned down the house.

 

For more information and safety tips, visit the U.S. Fire Administration at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/cooking.html

 

Currant wishes you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Emergency Preparedness at Work

  • September 23, 2015

 

You probably already have an emergency kit at home, but stop to think – what would you do if you were trapped at work?

emergency preparedness at work

You can’t guarantee that you’ll be home and with your family when disaster strikes. It’s a good idea to take some time now to prepare, in case you need to ride out the next storm in your office.

 

Consider making an emergency kit for work. Some items to include:

 

Water. Stick a bottle or two of water in your drawer. If emergency strikes, you might not know when you next will have access to clean water.

Food. Not only is desk-drawer food important for those mid-day snack emergencies, they will be important if you are forced to stay at work until a situation clears up, or you get rescued. Protein or granola bars are a good choice. Try to avoid foods that will make you thirsty.

Flashlight and extra batteries. Prepare for the lights to be out. Flashlights will obviously provide needed light, but they can also help rescuers locate you in the dark. Consider a solar-powered light that doesn’t need batteries, such as a LuciLight (www.mpowerd.com)

Battery-powered radio and extra batteries. You will want to know what is going on if the (Gasp!) internet is down.

First Aid kit. You gotta have a kit anyway, for those times when your boss gives you a headache. Don’t forget to restock yearly.

Whistle. You might get trapped and need help. The whistle will signal where you are and that you need rescue.

Dust or filter masks. They’re ugly, but they’ll protect you if you need to walk through a dangerous environment.

Moist towelettes. The water may not be safe in your building.

Contact cards. Establish with your family where you’ll meet up if you’re not together when disaster strikes. Make sure that information is with you.

Transportation information. Your train or bus might not be running, or it may run a different route. Plan an alternate route and know how to contact transportation companies.

For more ideas on how you can better prepare your workplace for a crisis, visit http://www.ready.gov/workplace-plans.

Your kit can be a backpack, tote bag, box, or anything you can store easily and transport easily. Keep it in a drawer, closet, or under your desk. Then remember where you put it and hope you will never need it!

September is Emergency Preparedness Month

  • August 24, 2015

Is your community prepared?

emergency preparedness

 

You can begin by participating in America’s PrepareAthon! Host an emergency preparedness event on September 30, National Preparathon Day. Register your event at http://community.fema.gov/ and let everyone know how you plan to participate.

Some examples on how you can educate your community on emergency preparedness:

For OEM, Government Organizations and Companies:

  • Organize Tabletop Exercises for the following six hazards: earthquakes, winter storms, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
  • Hold Emergency Preparedness Discussion Within Your Organization. Evaluate how prepared your community is for disaster and improve your plans accordingly.
  • Distribute Preparedness Information to Your Employees or Community. Take this opportunity to distribute information to the public, providing tips on what to do to before and after an emergency.

Ideas to Educate Employees or Community Members:

  • Create a Family Communication Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another. Think about how you will communicate in different situations.
  • Make a Disaster Kit. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days.
  • Know Evacuation Routes.  Educate people on how to evacuate a building or their area. Knowing evacuation routes is essential for quickly escaping a dangerous situation or impending hazards.

Find resources here: http://community.fema.gov/take-action/hazards