I've taken most of that into consideration. There are solutions to a few of those statement already included in the project.
(1) Way too cumbersome. The form on a website WORKS. All you propose doing is adding two more layers of warm bodies into the mix, unnecessarily.
I agree. That's all I am doing. When people have disasters, the last thing they want to do is talk to a heartless computer screen, which they themselves can't even half way understand. This extra layer of warm bodies may just give the user hope, that their message will get through a little faster and a little easier. Plus it will allow them to know that someone is actually there taking the message and that it's not just sitting on a computer server somewhere until someone gets to it.
(2) Where are you going to get the volunteers to (a) man the web site (b) be the radio operators - and do this 24/7 for an unknown, extended period of time?
Secondly, it is not an unknown extended period of time. It is when ever the operator feels like logging in. (Volunteer) If no operators are available, then the user is taken to the heartless form. I myself don't even know if I'll be able to dedicate two or three or twenty hours a week. The operator doesn't even have to be at their computer, just as long as they are within hearing distance of it. The computer emits a telephone ring, to notify the operator that someone wants to chat with them. So the user can minimize the window or leave the room.
(3) Do you have any real, hands-on experience in traffic handling in a disaster setting? Do you have any knowledge of how traffic to and from military personnel is handled? Getting MARSgrams into military installations is almost a thing of the past, as very few MARS station exist on military bases any more.
No unfortunately, I did not have the gas, or a car for that matter when Katrina was going on. I do storm spot though. As for actual in field training, none. But, that's why I'm wanting to create this service. To allow users who feel they'd like to help in some way the option to do so. Instead of having to sit on their butts and twiddle their thumbs while people who are more connected or more economically backed get to do the whole thing while everyone else has to watch and wonder. I know that when I was in the Navy a couple of years ago, the only communications I used was with ARMY MARS stations (Who by the way have a live 1 800 number) because my phone card ran out and all I had was 10 dollars and couldn't afford another one. Which is why I remembered this idea. If they have a live 1 800 number for everyone, then why can't a bunch of "Trained" ham radio ops get a live chat. Yes I said "Trained" training, though I don't know what kind, will be REQUIRED.
Nice idea in theory, but not very pratcial in the real (disaster) world. And I say that being both a MARS operator and a disaster services delivery (including communications) professional - I've been doing it for about 30 years now.
Thank you for the compliment. I'm not wanting it to take place in the disaster world though, just around it. I want local ops who have nothing to do, to pass the traffic to ops inside the disaster world. And most innovations aren't very practical, until they're implemented. Like the 1 800 number for ARMY MARS.