California suffered an unprecedented number of wildfires in 2018 — more than 8,000 burning an area of almost two million acres. In dollars, the wildfires caused about $3.5 billion in damage, but the greatest toll was in human lives, more than 100 people died last year as a result of the California wildfires. 

 

In recognition of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 4, 2019, IBM and 42 Silicon Valley teamed up to host a one-day hackathon to help developers, engineers, designers and emergency responders work on projects for natural disaster preparedness and relief during wildfires with a focus on community health and well-being 

 

Omkar Nimbalkar, Vice President, Client & Partner Developer Advocacy, IBM Cognitive Applications told The Next Web: 

 

We are hoping for solutions that not only inform people with real-time event updates impacting their region, but ones that help save lives ahead of and in the aftermath of disasters. Artificial intelligence, AI-powered chatbots and natural language processing (NLP) could be used to improve real time communications between first responders, victims, relief agencies and more. 

The winning team at the May 4th event was Emergency Info Guide. This team will advance to the overall Call for Code competition and have the chance to win $200K. According to the winning team: 

 

 “The name Emergency Info Guide doesn’t necessarily denote what it is about. The general concept is for an IoT weather station. It is a device that senses temperature, wind direction, barometer, moisture and air quality like CO2 particulates. The device is a small package, designed to be carried by firefighters, and is like an oversized tent spike. You can drive it into the ground and unscrew the top where the antenna pops up, and that is part of the weather station. 

 

For more information on Call for Code and to submit an idea to the worldwide developer competition (deadline July 29, 2019), visit: https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/