Hawaii releases recommendations for communications continuity best practices following earthquake response
| 01.10.2007 | 05:38:20 | Views: 3414 | ID:
January 10: A final report issued by Hawaii officials following last October's earthquakes, which cut power and communications to thousands of people found, "in the interest of maximizing public safety, it is vital to continue updating the emergency communications plan in response to changing conditions and technological advancements," to help to "assure that government agencies and the news media do the best job possible of reaching out to the public during times of crisis with potentially lifesaving information."
State officials began to compile ways to review the response to the disaster while looking into ways to incorporate best practice measures so that emergency managers, first responders and state and local officials would be able to continue to communicate. Governor Linda Lingle asked for the report after the response operations were hampered by a lack of reliable communications.Primarily, getting the information to the public via news media or official government sources is one of the most important response operations immediately after a disaster. Timely information can help to inform the public about any proceeding danger or relief that might be on the way, the report said. According to a survey taken, more than "80 percent of media stations statewide were off-the-air immediately following the crisis due to a lack of emergency power sources." Additional problems with the media included a lack of backup power sources, downed transmitter devices. However, in the case of Oceanic Time Warner Cable which had all operations continuing throughout the disaster, the listening and watching public had no way to listen to the news or information as the power, telephone and cable lines were shut down. Some of the recommendations to secure communication lines during a future disaster include the creation of a "media center" or a "Joint Information Center" that would serve as a "working area" for reporters. The JIC would include telephone lines, Internet access, electrical access and "a place to obtain timely information from State and Federal officials." Other recommendations included adding "hard lines" also called "red lines" that "would be covered by the individual broadcasting outlets" so that continual communication between the government and the media could be maintained. Download the full report here.
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