Communication and Crisis
Many of us know about the devastating hurricane Katrina that took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2005, but how many of us actually thought about the communication issues. From the writing of James L Garnett and Alexander Kouzmin,” Hurricane Katrina was as much a communication disaster as it was a natural and bureaucratic disaster. Communication gaps, missed signals, information technology failures, administrative buﬀering, turf battles, and deliberate and unintentional misinterpretations delayed and handicapped both the recognition of the crisis that Katrina posed and the response to its devastation.” If Americans actually stop and think about it, not only was the media trying to communicate with America on what was happening but also trying to get word out to the people which were affected.
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Advantages of the communication from the media to some extent helped to obtain as much information and photos to public to help everyone understand what was taken place. To the local community communication challenges took place because Mother Nature does not care about keeping today’s technology in working conditions. Once the power goes down what is the point of technology for citizens in the middle of the disaster area, they cannot receive information on where to go, if help is on the way. Because of Mother Nature’s way of approaching upon so many areas in the United States and around the world each community should start disaster programs to teach each person on survival, there are so many ways to communicate with community in learning techniques. Town meeting is one way to start, give demonstrations on how to take cover from Tornados, Fires and, of course Hurricanes. Most of us were taught in school the basic safety procedures during storms. Common knowledge during a tornado is to take cover in the lowest point of the home such as a basement or if no basement is accessible, then to remove yourself from any windows and doors because of the suction that comes with the storm.
During fires go to the nearest exit and go as far away from the fire so no one gets burned or if fire does contact a person to stop drop and roll until the fire is out, in a hurricane tape up all windows in a x shape to keep the winds from scattering glass all over, if he or she lives near water, place sands bags along the shore line to help rising water. All these things can save lives but does everyone know what to do if there is no available hospital’s near because they too were caught in the damage. This is where local doctors, firefighters and police need to communicate their training with the public, as previously said by demonstrations, brochures, feeling the emotions of concerned population in their area. Offering radios that not only work by batteries but can wind up receiving power so the information can get to the area that has been affected. Education on how to make a reserve area in the home or even in a safe and secure place outside of the home of survival materials such as water, food, clothing the essentials that humans need to live daily. Training on how to contact and find loved ones, and to cope with devastation.
As individuals with training on survival we still depend on the doctors and nurses that are available to take charge and because of their years of training they will, but in an area were a natural disaster has taken place technology will not be able to help. All hospitals have back up power but even then that does not last. During hurricane Sandy the New York, NYU Langone Medical Center’s learned this lesson, after the emergency generators turned on within two hours 90 percent of the power was drained. ( Roney, Kathleen) This particular tragedy had the health care industry trying to come up with ways to save and recover data on each patient, and improve back up power to allow the hospitals and equipment to keep functioning. According to the article 4 Tips to Strengthen Hospital Data and Recovery Plans for Natural Disasters the four ideas they have come up with to help the Health Care are 1. Validate third-party data recovery services, 2. Backup data in a safe-place offsite, 3. If possible, prepare and practice with paper-based options, 4. Validate your backup power. ( Roney, Kathleen)
In closing no matter how widely the information that comes from the media is right or wrong during a natural disaster, any information giving to the
public is better than silence. Many may complain after all is said and done on how not all the information was correct but enough was, it helps the loved ones watching because that may be the only communication available. The more our community offers in knowledge through all stages of communication the better each and every one will be prepared. It is said to say but with all the modern day technology that we depend on it takes Americans to get shook up a little to see that even the new evolving world still needs solutions.
Garnett, J. L., & Kouzmin, A. (December,2007). Communicating throughout Katrina: Competing and Complementary Conceptual Lenses on Crisis Communication. Retrieved from http://www.glerl.noaa.gov Roney, K. (November 02,2012). 4 Tios to Strengthen Hospital Data Recovery Plans for Natural Disasters. Retrieved from http://www.beckerhospitalreview.com