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Management Effective communication during a disaster ensures organization and efficiency when it comes to the rapid deployment of equipment and support services. Communication systems enable managers to stay connected with staff and volunteers and keep the public Informed of safety issues. The Disaster Relief Communications Foundation has been formed specifically to research, evaluate and update emergency communication systems.

During an emergency or disaster, there are several alternative communication ethos that individuals, employees and businesses can implement. Particularly during a disaster, it is important to have alternative strategies available. Providing communication as part of a disaster plan, as well as utilizing ham radio, social networking sites and emergency alert systems, are alternative ways to communicate during a disaster. During a disaster, it is important to have alternative methods of communication. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images News/Getty Images) Social Networking During a disaster, some Internet connections may still be available.

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Access the Internet with a cell phone or a laptop to communicate with the outside world during a disaster and to reach friends and family members. Websites, such as Twitter and Faceable, have been crucial points of communication for some people in the midst of natural disasters. Social networking has also proven to be a beneficial avenue for communicating needs and raising funds during natural disasters. During a disaster, using social networking can be an efficient way to communicate with the outside world Ham Radio Many cities and states utilize amateur radio, also called ham radio.

This type of communication is not dependent on electricity but rather on batteries. Typically, only emergency personnel are trained on how to use an amateur radio; however, individuals can apply for a license. The National Association for Amateur Radio handles all licensing applications. Ham radios are not dependent on electricity but rather on batteries CB Radio Another radio communication method that does not require licensing is a CB radio. Often used for communication between truck drivers, a CB radio is Like a walked talkie for the road.

CB radios operate at the push of a button. The user can change the radio channels and listen to 40 channels. This type of radio is a viable alternative communication method, should a disaster occur. CB radios operate Like walk’ talkies where they can be used at the push off button The Emergency Alert System The Emergency Alert System (EASE) works through digital, satellite and cable television providers to communicate disaster warnings to the community. Theoretically, this to address Americans in the event of a national emergency.

State and local overspent use the EASE to communicate emergency weather conditions and local disaster information. Government officials can use the EASE to communicate emergency weather conditions and local disaster information Importance of Communication in Disaster Management When disaster strikes, botched communication can cause even more damage than an act of God. A smart emergency response team should have a public information officer with a plan in place to manage the flow of key information among public safety agencies and the public. Why It’s Important

In the chaos that follows a disaster, rumors and confusion may run rampant. Disaster victims need clear, timely, consistent and accurate information to find help and resources, avoid hazards and to minimize additional injuries or damage. As the National Incident Management System says, “Effective and accurate communication can save lives and property, as well as help ensure public trust and credibility. ” Planning To be able to respond quickly, have a crisis communications plan in place and designate an emergency operations center equipped with a phone line and other essentials.

AIMS recommends stocking the EEOC with your communications plan, office supplies, a fax machine, a laptop computer and alternate power source, maps, a TV and radio, camera, agency letterhead and press release templates. One Clear Voice The team should appoint one lead public information officer who responds directly to the incident commander. This person will be the main point of contact for media and the public. Verify that all emergency response team members know how to contact the POI, night or day.

Team members should also have the EEOC phone number and fax number as well as other team members’ home phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Public Statements The Public Forum Institute asserts that your agency can earn credibility and trust by consistently showing empathy, competence, honesty and commitment. If you’re acting as POI, verify all information, communicate proactively, issue frequent updates and be available to the media at all times. Prepare key points ahead of time. In your messages, always place people first, never lie or speculate, stay calm under aggressive questioning and always be brief and precise.

Take time to explain tough issues, and if you don’t know an answer, find it. Communication Methods A press conference for the mass media is Just one way to reach disaster victims. Consider your audience and use any other avenue that might reach them more directly. This may include everything from old-fashioned press kits, flyers, public meetings and bulletin board posts at community centers to web sites, text messages, e-mail updates, CD-Rooms, audio conferencing, webmasters and blobs.

Don’t forget employees of your organization who work on the front lines, and pay attention to community members with special needs, such as seniors, residents with disabilities Once the crisis subsides, work with the emergency response team to analyze your communication efforts and make note of needed improvements. Identify your objectives and consider whether they were met. Compile news clippings, track the number of hits to your organization’s web site, and gather ideas from the public with focus groups, web or e-mail surveys, business reply cards or phone surveys.

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