The TÖD (Team Österreich Digital) is a smartphone application that allows better interaction with citizens and promotes their engagement in emergency situations facilitating the management of spontaneous volunteers.
In times of large emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, pandemics, etc; citizens are motivated to assist, even when they do not usually belong to regular volunteer organizations such as the Red Cross or Fire Brigades. This motivation makes citizens gather in emergencies to provide help. Even though they can support the relief efforts positively, their lack of disaster-related training burden on the emergency response organizations since they need to provide a system to properly manage spontaneous volunteers in areas such as coordination, registration, personal protective equipment, food, shelter, among others.
The Austrian Red Cross, together with Hitradio Ö3, have developed in 2007 an initiative called “Team Österreich” which is a methodology for the management of spontaneous volunteers (SV). The methodology facilitates the registration and identification of spontaneous volunteers and their profile which is useful to connect emergency needs with the skills and abilities SV may have. In 2017, the methodology was enhanced by the creation of a smartphone application which makes even easier the interaction, management and engagement of this additional workforce.
Technical details & Operations
There are two main components of the solution:
- The Team Österreich Methodology:
Citizens interested in providing support during emergencies are encouraged to register themselves in a web-based platform. In this registration process, they not only provide their data but also fill out a set of questions specifying which activities they are willing to do. They can select from different options such as manual work, playing with children, remote/digital tasks, logistic tasks, among others.
In times of disaster, if the organization needs additional SV, then they activate the volunteers according to their profile, matching the specific needs of the emergency. Once activated, volunteers are debriefed, they receive insurance, identification and they are deployed to their working locations under the management of an experienced Red Cross Volunteer.
- Team Österreich Digital:
The second component of the solution is the TÖD app. This application offers different functionalities to the user. Through the app they can:
- Register into the Team Österreich database
- Run a self-assessment of in-house emergency preparedness
- Create “shopping and To-Do” lists to improve their emergency preparedness plan
- Receive official warning about different hazards
- Be activated in case their assistance is needed in an emergency
Deployment & Impact
The TÖD app helps to make life safer. Both in everyday life and crisis. It ensures that people are prepared for extraordinary situations. It warns of extreme weather events and disasters. And it gives everyone who wants to help the opportunity to do so.
With the app, we want to make Austria even safer. In Austria, there is a great willingness to help in the event of a disaster and we want to use that. That is great support for the emergency services.
The app prepares, warns, and informs how one can help in various crisis situations:
- more than 80,000 users have already installed the Team Austria app;
- with 80,000 downloads in the first three weeks, the TÖD app is one of the most downloaded apps in Austria;
- the app is available on Android (62%) and IOS (37%);
- the first online/remote assignment (“Help online”) was successful. 1,200 users helped with the heatwave.