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Learning Module: Don't Panic, Organize!

A major storm is bearing down on your neighborhood. You have 10 minutes to prepare. What do you do? Do you grab your things and run or check in on elderly neighbors? Lock your doors or throw them open to all? Stockpile resources or distribute them? You and your neighbors have a choice: do you panic or do you organize

In this workshop, teams representing neighborhood anchors like a community center, a library, and a hardware store must communicate with each other in order to discuss and plan for their needs and resources. We provide one important central organizing asset: a local wireless network running on a Raspberry Pi device.

This situation mirrors what happened in several New York City neighborhoods during Superstorm Sandy, when cellphone and other communications systems failed in some neighborhoods, in a few cases for two weeks or more. Brooklyn’s Red Hook Neighborhood was unique, though -- it had Red Hook WiFi, a local network similar to the one in the workshop, which kept running even after electricity, phone, and internet service was knocked out across most of the neighborhood.

New America’s Resilient Communities Program is working with local groups to build local wireless networks in six Sandy-impacted communities. We are also training local residents in our six partner communities to install and operate the networks. This learning module is part of our Digital Stewardship training program; we will be posting the full curriculum as an open-source resource as it is finalized.

Below find links to the lesson plan and additional materials for putting a local server on a Raspberry Pi device, setting up a local wireless network, and playing the Don't Panic, Organize game.