Caitria and Morgan O’Neill Explain How to Help a Community Recover from Disaster

On June 1, 2011, a freak EF3 tornado hit Massachusetts. Many affected communities had little experience with what is generally considered a problem only in the Midwest and the South. But rather than sit around with the rest of their townspeople, wondering what to do and relying on the scarce information from local authorities, Caitria and Morgan O’Neill, decided to take disaster response into their own hands. And, as they explain in the video above, with quick action and good decision making, they able to make a difference.

“We had to learn how to answer questions quickly and to solve problems in about a minute or less,” says Caitria in her TED talk. “Because otherwise, something more urgent would come up and it just wouldn’t get done.”

“We didn’t get our authority from the board of selectmen or the Emergency Management Director or the United Way,” says Morgan. “We just started answering questions and making decisions because someone — anyone — had to.”

Not only did they help out a small community that was dumbstruck by a fluke storm nobody expected. They also helped create a model that others can follow when disaster strikes. Not bad for a few twenty-somethings with no real experience in catastrophes.

One thought on “Caitria and Morgan O’Neill Explain How to Help a Community Recover from Disaster

  1. Mr. Wade

    From my research and reading, I was impressed enough with the O’Neill Sisters, I have submitted their information to be considered by the Virginia Emergency Management Association (VEMA) Conference Committee, which I am a member, as guest speakers at the 2014 Conference in Hampton. I want to thank you for bringing this resource to my attention. I would like the opportunity to have the O’Neill present to all the Emergency Managers from across the State of Virginia at our VEMA conference next year.

    Can you please provide them with my contact information and ask if they may be interested in being Presenters for our 2014 VEMA Conference? If so, please contact me so we can check on their availability.

    Regards, C. Creig Moore

    C. Creig Moore – Coordinator
    Department of Emergency Management
    6504 Main Street
    PO Box 329
    Gloucester, VA 23061
    (804) 693-1390

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