60 Second Scoop

Stuck in a hurricane? Lost power in your home?

Get the scoop about what’s happening in your city in just 60 seconds.

Call 504-383-7101

Note: this number is to be used for demonstration purposes only!

What is it?

It's a phone number, call it and you’ll hear a 60 second message containing the latest important information such as power outages, city shelter updates, Red Cross station locations, MRE, water and ice updates, and other recovery information.

How does it work?

60 Second Scoop grabs the latest updates from a Twitter feed containing disaster response information and reads them to you.

By using an active Twitter account, the service receives information that is relevant and recent. It can help callers make important decisions in emergency situations. Plus, it’s completely automated which means nobody needs to man the phone lines and it can take a high volume of concurrent calls.

Why use it?

In disaster and emergency situations, landlines and cell phones are an under-used but ubiquitous resource for distributing important information.

When Hurricane Isaac struck New Orleans in September 2012, over 500,000 homes lost power, some for longer than a week. In several neighborhoods traditional homephone lines and cellular phones were still active though.

There's lots of people who won't access the Internet when looking for emergency response information. This could be because they don't have access or they're not aware of what information is available to them.

Using a telephone is a great way of allowing more people to access this information: it's a device that is found almost everywhere and is familiar across age range and experience. It's the perfect tool for accessing information.

Who made it?

Oliver Blank and Earl Carlson made 60 Second Scoop after experiencing Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans.

With the power out for several days, Oliver’s broadband connection, smart phone with 3G data access and laptop with WiFi were all useless. Being disconnected is a common thing in New Orleans though, many residents don’t have broadband access and most residents do not use Twitter.

The city of New Orleans ran a Twitter feed throughout the hurricane, regularly updated with useful information. The idea behind 60 Second Scoop is to take that really useful information and make it available to as many people as possible.

After the hurricane, Oliver and Earl decided to use the city’s Twitter feed to create a phone number that would read the latest emergency and disaster response information to you.