Citizen science, also sometimes called community science or street science, is public engagement in scientific research as scientists rather than study subjects. When applied to disasters, the field is called disaster citizen science. Developed by the RAND Corporation through a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two new toolkits, Citizen Science for Disasters: A Guide for Local Health Departments and Citizen Science for Disasters: A Guide for Community Groups, can help increase community engagement to grow better prepared and resilient communities.
The toolkit for local health departments is designed to provide guidance on engaging with disaster citizen science to support public health preparedness. Regardless of the specific disaster problem, or the size or scope of the intended project, the toolkit explains how to carry out a study that results in quality data. The toolkit for community groups provides guidance to a broad range of groups (e.g., volunteer or faith-based institutions, social service organizations, private or other nonprofit organizations) on designing and implementing disaster citizen science projects.