Drone Uses, especially during Disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Nancy Wunderlich – Business Analyst, Ergonomic Solutions
First and foremost, we here at Ergonomic Solutions are thinking about all of those affected by Harvey and Irma and wondering how we can help. We are also fascinated by drones and their many and varied uses. This post addresses those 2 things. Here we go…
Are you fascinated by drones? Do you wonder how and why they are utilized? Or what impact they are having in our lives, perhaps without us even knowing?!
Drones and Harvey: Too Much of a Good Thing?
The answers to those questions are many. Drones have brought us incredible images of Hurricane Harvey, giving us a sense of the massive devastation and widespread impact. They will undoubtedly play a big part in the recovery process as well. Think news coverage, damage assessment, safety inspections, claims adjusting, and even delivery services.
The drone footage of Harvey and Irma is prolific and riveting. However, something I never thought about is how all the personal drones impact rescue efforts. The Daily Beast reported that according to a spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “Drones pose a potential danger to low-flying helicopters and their crews and can hinder the efforts of those who are trying to save lives,”
How Drones Are Changing Insurance Claims Processing
Many major insurance companies have been researching and implementing drone usage for several years. Northbrook, IL based Allstate Insurance announced this spring that as storm season approaches they are “set to use drones for assessment of property damage claims across four states. A fleet of drones will be at the ready in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas to help respond after any storms this spring. The multi-state launch is Allstate’s largest use of drones to date and represents a major step forward in the use of aerial imagery for property damage assessment among insurers.”
This May 2016 video shows State Farm Insurance, Bloomington, IL demonstrating a home inspection using a drone.
According to a May 2017 Insurance Journal interview with Patrick Gee, senior vice president of auto, property and catastrophe claims at Travelers, drones have “really changed the way we do work over the past few years.”
Finally, Slate published an article about the pros and cons of using drones in the aftermath of Harvey.
How to Help
There are many charities to consider when donating. Consumer Reports has guidelines for avoiding scams with a list of reputable charities and Vox.com has compiled a list of charities with descriptions and ratings. There is also an organization, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) that focuses on corporate giving. Our team has chosen to focus on food banks, diaper banks and pet shelters. Donating blood in your area is another way to help.
Is the Upcoming Solar Eclipse Geeking You Out Too? If so, check out these interesting facts and resources…
Nancy Wunderlich – Business Analyst, Ergonomic Solutions
Ergonomic Solutions headquarters is in Mundelein, IL, a suburb just north of Chicago. That puts us only 6 hours away from Southern Illinois University, which in the direct path of the totality of the upcoming solar eclipse. Sounds like a great excuse to miss work and road trip to SIU! My extended family and I (11 total) are squeezing into a Ford Econoline van (would rather be in a decked-out Ford Transit, but I’m not driving so I won’t complain) and heading down south. With our sleeping bags (SIU Rec Center accommodations), inflatable mattresses, solar filters for our phones and cameras, and eclipse glasses in tow we will get to experience an event that has not happened in Illinois since 1869 and the US since 1979.
Find out when the last time a total solar eclipse passed over your state.
Is a Total Solar Eclipse Rare?
According to the American Astronomical Society, “…total solar eclipses aren’t rare; they occur roughly once every year or two somewhere on Earth. But any given spot on our planet’s surface gets darkened by the Moon’s shadow on average only once about every 400 years, so in that sense totality is indeed rare.
“Both the Sun and Moon vary in angular size throughout the year (Sun) or month (Moon)… The Moon’s variation is more pronounced. First, the apparent size of the Sun varies during the year because Earth’s orbit is an ellipse, not a perfect circle. Most dramatic is the change in the Moon’s apparent diameter due to its elliptical orbit around Earth.”
How & Why Solar Eclipses Happen
For an in-depth explanation of how and why solar eclipses occur, and why they will eventually stop occurring, definitely check out the AAS’s website.
Photographing the Eclipse
Of course, I will have my smartphone camera ready and maybe even video recording during the eclipse. Think of all the social media opportunities I will have with my pics and video! Stay tuned…
This is the short version of how to use a cell phone camera to capture the eclipse. For those of you who want to go old school and use more sophisticated equipment these are the instructions you need.
The US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has information regarding the 12 states impacted by the eclipse and some practical tips if you are driving during the eclipse.
- Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder during the event.
- Exit the highway to safe location to view and/or photograph the eclipse.
- Don’t take photographs while driving!
- Don’t try to wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle.
- Turn your headlights on — do not rely on your automatic headlights when the eclipse blocks out the sun.
- Watch out for pedestrians along smaller roads. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside the roadside in the hours around the eclipse to get the best view.
- Prepare for extra congestion especially on the interstates in the path on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
- Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the area of the main path if you can.
More Resources (I just can’t stop)
A good video from Newsweek explaining eclipses. http://www.newsweek.com/solar-eclipse-2017-future-past-651090
Another good video by the New Yorker magazine interviewing Bob Baer, the co-chair of Southern Illinois University’s Solar Eclipse Steering Committee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMrqJx8RfqA
Lots of maps showing the eclipse’s path. http://www.eclipsewise.com/solar/SEnews/TSE2017/TSE2017.html
NASA live coverage https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream
Ergonomic Solutions – What Do We Do?
It’s well past time that Ergonomic Solutions is properly introduced. Perhaps introduced isn’t the right word since our business has been around for 25 years now. We are the best kept secret in the upfit, fleet, and corporate worlds (of course we might be biased!).
Ergonomic Solutions creates mobile offices for professionals on the go (think outside the box and inside a van). Who do you know that works away from a traditional office a significant portion of their time? Insurance claims adjusters, home inspectors, realtors, salespeople, lawyers, and many other road warriors would all benefit from a mobile office space. The vast possibilities are ever increasing. The combination of improvements in mobile technology, increased office space costs, and the gig economy have all driven the need for an alternative to the traditional office. Ergonomic Solutions’ products check all the boxes for a comfortable, productive workspace wherever and whenever you need to be working.
Still can’t visualize what we’re describing? In our case, a picture is worth a thousand words…
Now imagine your long work day sitting in a comfortable chair using your computer on a keyboard tray, both adjusted the way you need them, with all your important documents (and coffee!) at your fingertips. We bet that day just got a whole lot easier!
Upfitters and fleet managers, do you need a product that answers mobile professionals’ concerns about safety, comfort, ergonomics and productivity? Our mobile office solutions have been installed in thousands of vehicles worldwide! Let us know what you need and how we can help.
Now that you know who we are and what we do, wouldn’t you agree we you should find out how we can help you?