An App for Team Managers

The Disaster Response Manager iPad app allows you to accomplish the following:

  • Support the unique requirements of multiple types of managers including the local incident manager, regional manager, as well as a national disaster response manager.
  • Group volunteers into teams. Administrative or regional managers should create permanent teams representing your up-to-date staff of volunteers and employees. On-site incident managers will create teams dynamically to represent the available staff on the scene.
  • Assign volunteers to specific tasks. Volunteers can update their task status via their iPhone, Apple Watch, or Siri… whichever is most convenient for them.
  • Visualize a real-time, global view of your volunteers, assignments, teams, vehicles, and sites.
  • Broadcast wireless announcements at locations such as staff shelters.
  • Participate in audio and video conference calls with one touch connections.
  • Streamline and automate volunteer check-ins.
  • Visualize the location of your volunteers and vehicles on a live map.
  • Onboard partner organizations and external healthcare professionals on-the-fly 



The first step in coordinating your disaster response teams is to setup your iPad with the correct iOS permissions. You will need to allow the app to receive Notifications from volunteers and other managers:


You will also need to allow the app to determine your iPad’s Location so that it can group nearby volunteers into teams and become an iBeacon which will streamline volunteer check-ins:


Make sure that Bluetooth and WiFi are enabled in the Settings app.

Volunteers and other managers will need to be able to identify that this iPad is from their organization so you need to setup this iPad when its connected to your organization’s WiFi.

Rename this device so that its role and location are identifiable to volunteers during check-ins, assignments, team alerts, and FaceTime conference calls.


Validating Your Organization’s WiFi Network

If this is the first time that your organization is installing the app at this location and WiFi network, you will need to validate the WiFi network by simultaneously running the Disaster Response Volunteer iPhone app on this WiFi network. You only need to do this once for this WiFi network at this location. As soon as the iPhone app is running on this WiFi network at this location, you will see the name of the WiFi network will appear in the “Facilities” section:


Rename the facility to something more descriptive:


Authorizing a Volunteer’s Device

This section corresponds to the volunteer’s section named  “Authorizing Your Device”.

Enable the toggle at the top named “New Staff Authorization”:


and in the iPhone app, tap “Ask to Join a Facility”:


It is important to disable the toggle “New Staff Authorization” on your iPad as soon as you have authorized your staff.

Enabling FaceTime For One Touch Connections

Further down in the settings you can provide the FaceTime contact information used by this iPad. By providing the FaceTime contact information, volunteers can easily clarify their assignments directly from the assignment notes screen or staff directory without having to dig through their contacts:


In fact, every staff member including volunteers and managers can be reached with a single tap… if they choose:


Supporting Multiple Managers and Multiple iPads

To enable access to your teams by multiple managers from multiple iPads, simply download and install the Disaster Response Manager iPad app while on the same WiFi network. Subsequently, each iPad can use a cellular connection or other WiFi networks. All managers will share the same global view of your volunteers, assignments, and teams. And depending on network and cloud congestion and latency, that global view will be updated in real-time.

For regional and national disaster response managers, they may configure their iPads to manage multiple facilities which will provide them with insight into pre-disaster preparedness as well as and volunteer responsiveness and team composition during the disaster. An upcoming release will provide post-disaster reports and analytics.

Creating Teams

Teams allow you to group and segment your staff.  On-site incident managers should use teams to constrain their view to the staff working at their disaster site and not be distracted by the comings and goings of volunteers not associated with their specific disaster site.

Whenever a volunteer is assigned to or removed from a group, he immediately receives a notification updating him. This allows him to get ready for a specific assignment.

Of course each organization will use their own strategy in team creation and volunteer allocation, we would like to present some ideas to leverage app’s capabilities:

  • Create teams to represent your up-to-date roster of volunteers and managers. This will allow an incident manager to call-up specific volunteers with a few taps. A staff member may be included in multiple teams.For example, if you have volunteer therapists to help survivors cope with the psychological affects of a disaster then create teams named “Therapists, East Los Angeles Region” and “Therapists, Santa Monica Region”.  Likewise, you may create a team for “Nurse Practitioners” , and “Nurses (Spanish Speaking)”, “Search Dog Handlers”,  and “Physicians”.
  • Create teams for training and allow inexperienced managers to see how a senior incident manager composes a team based on the type of disaster and available volunteers. With built-in one-touch FaceTime support, managers can be trained and collaborate in real-time.
  • Of course, you should create teams representing the participants at the actual disaster such as “Grand Prix Stadium Collapse (All)”, “Grand Prix Stadium Collapse, First Aid Station”, and “Grand Prix Stadium Collapse, Staff Shelter”.

Here is how to create teams:

  1. Tap the “Teams, Places, and Beacons” icon:
  2. Tap the “+” icon and create some teams:

    You can manual refresh the list if needed:


Adding Staff to a Team

  1. Tap a team’s name
  2. Select the members of the team:
  3. The team member will receive a notification on their iPhone or Apple Watch:
  4. To exclude the display of other team members, tap the “Display team members” toggle:
  5. The teams which are being displayed are identified with the detail disclosure icon and the team names are identified in the “Available Staff” title:
  6. A manager may view the location of members of a team by selecting the location icon in the team details. From this view, the location and the check-in/check-out details of a volunteer which are displayed as a volunteer passes by the iBeacon associated with a manager’s iPad. As we see in the next three screenshots, about six minutes ago Dr. Quinn began working at Nurse Station 2:


Defining Places and Disaster Sites

A manager must define the locations to which a volunteer will be sent. This includes places for pre-disaster preparedness training, an organization’s offices, as well as the disasters sites including staff shelters. Here is how to define a place:

  1. Tap the “Teams, Places, and Beacons” icon:
  2. Tap the “+” icon and define some places:

    You can manual refresh the list if needed:



  3. Incident managers will want to focus on the specific places which they are managing. To display some places and exclude others, navigate to the place details and toggle on the setting “Display Place on This iPad”:
    and you will see the detail disclosure icon adjacent to its name:

Simplifying Volunteer Check-ins with iBeacons

Every manager’s iPad actively running the Disaster Response Manager iPad app is an iBeacon and no additional hardware is required. Since most volunteers will need instructions upon arriving at a disaster site, the Disaster Response Manager iPad app allows you to provide an arrival and departure message which will appear to the volunteer as an ephemeral iPhone notification:

To configure your beacon messages:

  1. Tap the “Teams, Places, and Beacons” icon:
  2. Select the beacon you wish to configure and refresh the list of beacons if needed:

  3. Senior managers may want to suggest the best location to deploy an iPad to maximize the benefits of iBeacon technology. They should provide that information in “Deployment Instructions” field.


  1. To assign a volunteer to a place, select the icon representing the volunteer:
  2. Select the place where you want the volunteer to go and provide any important notes about the assignment:
  3. The volunteer will receive a notification on her iPhone or Apple Watch and may reject the assignment, accept the assignment and provide an estimated time of arrival, or confirm that the task has been completed:

  4. Managers will see the volunteer’s progress and as volunteers and managers come on and off shift, situational knowledge of the disaster response is maintained and shared among all stakeholders:

  5. Managers can visualize the location of a volunteer prior to assigning a task and make a quick FaceTime Audio or Video call with one-tap:

Broadcasting Announcements at Staff Shelters with AirPlay

Keeping staff updated during a disaster is an ongoing challenge. As discussed above, the Disaster Response Manager iPad app sends assignments directly to a volunteer’s iPhone and Apple Watch. For indoor volunteers who do not have access to their devices, perhaps at a staff shelter while recharging their devices, a manager can broadcast an assignment or other type of announcement over WiFi to one or more AirPlay compatible speakers:

  1. Tap the AirPlay control:
  2. Select one or more speakers to which your message will be broadcasted:
  3. If you send an assignment to a volunteer, it will be announced over the selected AirPlay compatible speakers. If you want to broadcast a custom message, tap on an open area in the staff view and you will be presented with a dialog:
    Many languages are supported including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Turkish.

Onboarding a Partner Organization or Walk-ins

At many disaster sites, an incident manager may decide to augment his teams with walk-ins. Whether its a local resident with knowledge of the area, a volunteer with specific language skills, a search dog handler, a boat owner, or volunteers from a sister chapter; the Disaster Response Manager is able to onboard these new volunteers on-the-fly:

  1. Tap on the Manager icon:
  2. Enable the toggle at the top named “New Staff Authorization”:
  3. Ask the volunteer to enable Bluetooth and WiFi on their iPhone. In the Disaster Response Volunteer iPhone app, ask the volunteer to tap “Ask to Join a Facility” and you can then assign him to specific teams and task him accordingly as documented in the above sections named “Adding Staff to a Team” and “Assignments”:
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