In the past few months, we have witnessed an unrelenting series of natural disasters so impactful that they have overwhelmed traditional resources -- Testing our resilience as never before. Through these events, we see countless instances where adaptability and the creativity to "do something with nothing" have become the rallying cry of citizens and first responders alike. This marks a new wave of Citizen Convergence whereby ordinary people self-organize both online and onsite to provide support to professional responders during extraordinary times.
I am bolstered in witnessing the selfless acts of citizens helping others in need. Impromptu groups such as 'Cajun Navy', an informal group of citizen sailors comprised of private boat owners in a makeshift fleet, self-organizing to assist responders in the life preservation mission. 'Cajun Navy' response is credited with assisting in saving the lives of over 7800 citizens during Hurricane Harvey.
Open Source Enablement:
Citizen responders joined to support professionals and relied heavily on open-standard, consumer-available applications such as Zello to provide push-to-talk radio communications through their smartphones.