Digging Out With SeeClickFix

Feb 13, 2013

In New Haven, as city workers and the National Guard work to clear the streets, a website has been organizing residents willing to chip in and help.

On the night of the blizzard, SeeClickFix.com's CEO Ben Berkowitz took a ride in an emergency vehicle with a New Haven city official and it became clear to him that this storm, in the short term, would cripple the Elm City.

"The first vehicle that we pushed out was a police car. We saw an ambulance that was stuck, so we had an idea that SeeClickFix was going to be about citizens helping citizens, not just governments helping citizens."

In a way SeeClickFix was the perfect website to identify and get help to people stranded by the storm. On non blizzard days the website gets reports from users about problems throughout New Haven and beyond - things like potholes, blighted properties, and graffiti. Municipalities get the information in real time and start work orders to fix the problem.

But during the blizzard, Berkowitz says SeeClickFix became the online communication point for people to report problems, and everyday citizens willing to help those people:

"In Branford, there was a woman who was concerned that she could go into labor at any moment and her road hadn't been plowed and another woman came on and started helping by getting the word out and within half an hour, the pregnant woman was back on the website saying she could hear the payloader out on the street."

Over the blizzard weekend SeeClickFix.com saw double their typical weekly user content. Ben Berkowitz says the blizzard brought out the best in New Haven area residents.