FSU.VOST Supporting the State of Florida
On March 25, the FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program activated its Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST) to support the State of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management during the COVID-19 pandemic. VOST is designed to bring together EMHS faculty, staff, and volunteers to search the internet (social media, news outlets, and other sources) for important information relating to the pandemic. Through missions prioritized in conjunction with DEM, EMHS analysts are able to aggregate data provided by student volunteers in order to determine trends of PPE shortages, healthcare conditions, public sentiment, food security issues, community mutual aid actions, and the long-term impacts in international communities.
In just over two weeks, student volunteers and EMHS staff have collected over 1,500 tweets, reports, personal anecdotes, and articles from sources all over the world. In analyzing this data and providing situation reports to DEM, Florida officials are able to make more informed decisions for the state and its residents.
EMHS is immensely pleased with the efforts of volunteers in this effort. Many of the volunteers are students in the EMHS Program, but others are former students or students of other Universities. Thank you to all who have contributed their time and effort! In particular, we’d like to thank the following volunteers for their numerous outstanding and consistent contributions: Adam Arthur, John Babilon, Joseph House, Aliyah Hurt, Victoria Lanter, Sal Navarro, Alejanda Pena, Ben Schafer, Alexis Seery, and Jensine Weingold.