Automated Registry and Locator for Families Displaced by Hurricane Katrina

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Free locator and message board accessible by phone at 1-866-LOCATOR (1-866-562-2867) helps families displaced by Katrina connect and communicate.

In an effort to assist families and loved ones that have been displaced by Katrina, Intelemedia, a Dallas-based communications technology provider, has created a free, automated registry.

The service, accessible from any Touchtone phone by calling 1-866-LOCATOR, allows those who have been displaced to register and provide location, status, and contact information. Friends and family members who are looking for those who have been displaced can call the same number to search the registry. The service uses the displaced person's primary or alternate phone numbers (the home or cell phone they had prior to the hurricane) as the "common denominator" for registration and searching, since someone's phone number is unique to a family and reasonably private while being well-known to family and friends.

The service is available now, and was deployed using an automated system, much like the bank-by-phone or voicemail services that everyone is already familiar with. Use of this technology allows the service to handle much larger call volumes than is feasible with live agents, and allows the live agents at the dozens of call banks that have been set up in the wake of Katrina to focus on providing those services that require direct one-on-one conversations.

Note that this service is separate from other registries that have been set up on the Internet by various companies and organizations. As such, we encourage anyone who has been displaced to register with this service, but also to register with other services, such as the Family Links Registry provided by the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org.

Registering with 1-866-LOCATOR (for people who have been displaced)

1) Call 1-866-LOCATOR and select option 1 from the main menu.

2) Provide your home phone number (or other primary phone number) you had prior to the hurricane.

3) Provide a 4-digit PIN of your choosing (used if you later want to update your location, status, or contact information).

4) Provide a phone number where you can currently be reached, if you have one.

5) Record your name (first and last name only, please).

6) Record your location, current status/condition, and/or other information that would be useful to anyone trying to find you.

7) Optionally, provide additional phone numbers (such as cell phones or second lines) that someone might try to use when searching for you.

You are now registered and your information is immediately available to people searching the registry.

Searching for someone on 1-866-LOCATOR (for people looking for those who have been displaced)

1) Call 1-866-LOCATOR and select option 2 from the main menu.

2) Provide the primary phone or other phone number of the person you are looking for (the number they had prior to the hurricane).

3) The service will search the registry and provide information on anyone who has registered that matches your search.

Updating registry information on 1-866-LOCATOR (for people who have already registered with this service)

1) Call 1-866-LOCATOR and select option 3 from the main menu.

2) Provide one of the primary or alternate phone numbers you used when you registered with this service.

3) Confirm your identity using the 4-digit PIN you used when you registered.

4) Listen to and/or update name, status, and contact information.

Updates are immediately available to people searching the registry.

Quick Facts

This service was designed, developed, and deployed in less than 48 hours by a group of volunteers at Intelemedia, in response to numerous news clips of families affected by Katrina could not find or communicate with each other.

Intelemedia (http://www.intelemedia.com) is a Dallas-based communications technology company, founded in 1993. The company, with support of key vendors, clients, and associates, is providing this service free of charge. The information collected will be used exclusively for the purpose of helping displaced families find and communicate with each other.

Eric Lenington, Intelemedia's CEO, said "We were uniquely capable of putting up a service like this in short order, so we saw it as an opportunity for our technology to be put to good use in helping the families affected by this disaster. If we can help only a handful of families, it will have been worthwhile. Of course, I'm hoping we can help many more."

This service and the registry is not affiliated with any state or federal department or disaster relief organization, but we have been and will continue to be in contact with the Red Cross and others, to coordinate efforts and make adjustments as necessary to provide the greatest benefit to affected families and the overall effort.

Questions or comments can be made by calling 972-994-0700 (please do not use this number to register or search; use 1-866-LOCATOR instead).

This document can be found on the web at http://www.intelemedia.com/katrina.

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Eric Lenington