Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Inspiration Behind the Life Cube

By Michael Conner, President, Life Cube, Inc.
I never imagined that I would be in the shelter business but here I am.   In 2005, after the devastation wrought by both Hurricane Katrina and a massive earthquake in Pakistan, I noticed the variety of shelter designs that were out there.  Different shapes and sizes, made from a number of products and materials, all a combination of form, function, and cost.  Yet an adequate portable design still did not exist.
As a life-long builder and inventor, I decided to take this on.  I was inspired by seeing people who were in need of something that I could provide.   
I started doing research and sketching my idea.  I wanted to synthesize the cost and logistical advantages of a standard canvas tent and the ruggedness and utility of a trailer, with the speed and expandability of breakthrough inflatable technology.  My answer was the Life Cube.
The Life Cube is a rapid deployment air frame shelter systems that simplifies and expedites emergency response efforts.  It is the only tent system with an integrated hard-surface floor with steel hoops that unfolds into an inflatable airframe canopy and an interior storage space that allows easy maneuverability over the most challenging terrains.  It is an all in one solution for every emergency situation.
Within just a few years, Life Cube, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets innovative air-beam shelters for a variety of markets and uses.  Learn more at http://lifecubeinc.com.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Effective Disaster Relief Programs are Proactive

According to recent reports, natural disasters have made the year 2011 the costliest in terms of property damage thus far, and we are only seven months in. For the United States alone, 98 events (storms, flooding, fires and earthquakes) left $27 billion in economic losses, more than double the 10-year average of $11.8 billion. From these devastating statistics, we can conclude that natural disasters are not only devastating, they are extremely expensive.

Investing in a rapid deployment airframe shelter system ahead of time simplifies and expedites emergency response efforts.  Whatever preparation can be done in advance of a disaster saves precious time—and money. If the shelters are financed and manufactured today, when the tornado, earthquake, hurricane or flood hits, the shelters can be onsite and installed within 24 hours.

The most effective disaster relief programs are proactive. In order to stay true to our proactive mindset we have developed the Life Cube Foundation and a humanitarian project called Adopt a Cube. With these efforts we hope to facilitate inexpensive access of this unique shelter solution to non-profits, NGOs and international service organizations. Donations to support the cost of manufacturing and transporting Life Cube shelters can be made to the Life Cube Foundation or directly to our humanitarian aid partners.

Learn more about our humanitarian efforts at http://lifecubeinc.com/humanitarian.html.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Answering Basic Needs After a Disaster

By Pamela Voge, Life Cube Director of External Affairs

The magnitude and frequency of natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the globe demand faster response times and increasingly adaptable approaches to support the delivery of medical treatment, aid and shelter.

That’s why I chose Life Cube after my career at the American Red Cross (as Government Liaison Manager for the Santa Barbara County Chapter.

The three most important things after a natural disaster are seeking shelter, finding food and clean water.  Life Cube offers those who have been displaced after a disaster the most basic means of shelter and comes with food and water for five days.  (Optional packages also include an electrical system with 12-volt battery, solar panel trickle charger, lighting, electric pump, propane system with cooking stove and catalytic heater.)

I have participated in most major domestic disasters within the last 20 years including earthquakes, fires, floods, tornados and hurricanes. It doesn’t matter what the disaster is. The aftermath is the same.  There is destruction and death, and the needs of the surviving people is the same.  They all need shelter, food and water.

Addressing the basic needs after a disaster, our innovative air beam shelter is an all-in-one solution that can be deployed in minutes so survivors can begin to rebuild their lives and their communities.  I’m so proud to represent it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Versatility of the Life Cube Platform

By Mary Schnack, Crisis Communications Specialist

When I first heard about Life Cube, I was impressed with its concept—durable shelter, quick to deploy.
I was in a Rwanda refugee camp in 1993 in neighboring Burundi, when all people had were blue tarps that had been distributed during this emergency. I was so in Sierra Leone refugee camps in Guinea in 1995. These were camps that had been there for a longer period and time. There was a school for the children and nice grass huts had been built for shelter. It was like a Ritz Carlton compared to the Rwanda camps.

So I do have a somewhat first-hand knowledge about the needs of shelter during disasters. But the more I learned about Life Cube and talked to others who have worked in disasters, the more I learned about how such shelters are needed.
­I imagined these being used as shelters for those who didn’t have homes, such as the people in Joplin after the tornado, in New Orleans after Katrina or in the refuge camps in Africa.

However, I have learned there are other much needed uses for this type of shelter. The versatility of the Life Cube platform beyond being a shelter for those homeless is also important. Humanitarian aid workers are generally going into areas where this is nothing. They need a place to hang their hat, put out their shingle.

Faye Coleman, President of Westover Consulting, had a contract to provide counseling services after the Katrina Hurricane in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. “We could have used a shelter like that to hold our sessions,” she said. “There were no offices, no homes, no where to meet that people might find comfortable enough to really talk.”

After Katrina, businesses as diverse as the Verizon store, Sempra Energy, Burger King—all were ready to get back into business, but had no “shelter” to operate out of. Life Cube can also help businesses get back to work more quickly—which helps re-establish a community and local economy.

Hospitals can use such a shelter for triage—of patients AND staff and volunteers. Life Cube set up a shelter a few days after the tornado in Joplin, MO, in the St. Johns Hospital parking lot for that purpose and hospital administration was impressed with its effectiveness.

It makes sense—workers go to a disaster site to work—and where do they set up? Where do they get people out of the elements? Where do they process paperwork? Have team meetings? Log where volunteers and workers are deployed?

Life Cube is listening as well as it goes to shows and demonstrations around the world. They are listening to what people who work in these environments want and need, and are creating new designs based around the Life Cube concept to meet these needs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Life Cube Releases QuietGuide®

By Michael Conner, President, Life Cube, Inc.

We recently partnered with Visual Travel Tours to create a QuietGuide® for easy Life Cube set up.

Life Cube is not as simple to set up as your camping tent, but it is amazingly easy, especially with the new QuietGuide®.

This is the first time that Visual Travel Tours has used their QuietGuide® for humanitarian use and in the few short weeks since the partnership arose, our QuietGuide® has received an outpouring of positive feedback from government and independent aid organizations worldwide.  The QuietGuied® was demonstrated at the premiere emergency preparedness conference at the United Nations in Geneva in May, 2011.

Visual Travel Tours’ QuietGuide® has predominantly been used for travel guides. But it can enable companies in multiple industries, in any location, to create and distribute graphic-rich eBooks and training documents to mobile users. Users can edit, upload, and embed graphics without any desktop word processing applications. The format is “mobile-friendly” and can be uploaded and viewed on virtually any device that has a PDF reader including computers, smartphones, and tablets.             

Using Life Cube’s QuietGuide®, anyone, anywhere can download the instructions to the Life Cube and inflate the shelter in 5 minutes, without any previous experience or knowledge. This advancement is beneficial for those facing any disaster, and makes Life Cube a survival tool truly accessible to all.

Life Cube’s QuietGuide® can be downloaded for FREE from any device with a PDF reader at: http://quietguides.com/.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Life Cube Goes Global in May

By Michael Conner, President, Life Cube, Inc.

We had a whirlwind month in May—(and no pun intended, with the tornados).  The global community is definitely getting to know Life Cube.

The United Nations invited us to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Geneva, where we had the opportunity to showcase Life Cube to more than 180 countries. We were one of only four companies with products at this invitation-only event. We got an extremely positive response from delegates from the UN and NGOs. We were offered a pilot program with the United Nations to use Life Cube for command posts and offices. This is exciting—and I’ll have more on that in a future blog.

Then we were in Madrid, MO (yes, before the devastating Joplin, MO, tornado hit) for FEMA’s National Level Exercise (NLE), the largest functional exercise of its kind undertaken in about 20 years.  The simulation was of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake because 200 years ago there were devastating earthquakes that rolled through this area and of course, the fault lines are still there. It was the first NLE to focus on a natural hazard scenario. Life Cube was an active part of the exercise.

Then after a quick trip to New Orleans for the Rotary International show where we again got a tremendous response, we headed back to Missouri to Joplin after their devastating tornado and set up a Life Cube in the parking lot of St. John’s Mercy Hospital, which was destroyed in the tornado.

This would be one of our ultimate uses--to set up as a temporary new hospital for one that has been damaged or is overflowing. This is the type of information that we are getting out there about Life Cube as we show up around the globe to demonstrate it. We were there several days after the tornado hit, and St. John's used the Life Cube as a processing center for RNs and MDs coming to work.

This is why it is so important to get the word out on Life Cube—so we can be deployed to the sites much more quickly.

And we are proud that Life Cube employees volunteered their time in the relief effort at Joplin. We assisted Samaritans Purse to clear debris from homeowners' properties and help them find their precious treasures in the rubble. These are the first steps in rebuilding their lives. Life Cube is honored to be able to assist in this time of need.