Emergency Communications: By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail
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Emergency Communications: By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail

During an emergency, communication with the general population becomes especially critical. Communications may include alerts and warnings, directives about evacuation and other self-protective actions. 

May 18 2020

Global analysis has shown that rapid population growth has led to increased pressure on resources. Factor in some increasingly unstable weather patterns and the result is that more and more people are finding themselves having to contend with incidences of storms, flooding, heat and practically anything else you can think of that Mother Nature can throw at us.

The rising demand for power (batteries don’t charge themselves using thin air after all), means shortages and cuts could well become increasingly commonplace.

All of this and more means there is a huge amount of pressure on authorities to protect communities and communications has a huge role to play in helping to do so.

During an emergency, communication with the general population becomes especially critical. Communications may include alerts and warnings, directives about evacuation and other self-protective actions. People need information about what assistance is available to them, its status, and are desperate to hear from family and loved ones.

Studies show that during an incident, information is as critically important to people as food or water. Not only can accurate information mean the difference between life and death, it can provide reassurance on many levels.

Well-conceived and effectively delivered emergency messages can help ensure public safety, protect property and infrastructure, facilitate response efforts, elicit cooperation, instil confidence and help families reunite.

The extent to which people respond to a warning message though is influenced by many factors, including an individual’s characteristics and perceptions, whether the message comes from a credible source, how the message is delivered, and the message content itself.

Organizations have many communication tools to choose from but when choosing how to approach engagement, emergency communications differ from routine communications in several key ways:

Barriers: It is more difficult for people to ‘hear’ messages during an emergency. Stress, being forced to break from routine and a lack of sleep are hurdles to overcome when communicating during emergencies.

Timeliness: If official answers are not available, rumour and speculation quickly fill the information vacuum. Then, not only must you disseminate correct information, but you also need to counter any misinformation that circulated.

Taking in-person events, print and broadcast media, social media, email and a host of other mobile channels into account, there are so many engagement options to choose from.  Each has advantages and limitations depending on your communication objective and the intended audience but what really counts when emergencies arise is speed and coverage.

SMS can quite literally save the day

No channel is as ubiquitous. We have no doubt all been in situations when trying to communicate with somebody but due to bad coverage, whatever the reason, we were unable to use mobile data or place a call. But SMS worked.

Whatever communication tools you use, be sure your emergency communications are clear, contain specific and adequate information, are in sync with other information being disseminated and are accessible to the community at large.

Instilling the public with confidence is critical and Mitto’s team and solutions are here to give the organizations people justifiably have placed their trust in the confidence and tools they need to get mobile engagement done the best way possible.

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