Technological advances have transformed how communication teams disseminate information to the public during an emergency. The capacity of 5G networks to transmit high-resolution content has accelerated the advancement of emergency response to mobilize action for an unfolding catastrophic event. Through the use of mobile communication methods, emergency responders can rapidly understand the scope of an emergency and deliver appropriate messages to stakeholders which can be adapted according to developments in the situation.
Improving Safety Outcomes
The first step to effective emergency communication is understanding how to structure and deliver emergency messages appropriately. The language used by an emergency communication team should address both the stage and severity of the situation.
During a low-intensity event, emergency communication should be informative and clear but not aggressive to avoid inducing panic in the public. As the situation intensifies, direct public safety recommendations should be delivered in clear, regular intervals via the media. Messages should empower groups and individuals to take positive action in, helping to affirm their sense of control over an emergency.
The CDC claims that messaging which gives people things to do (CDC, 2012) will ‘reduce anxiety and can restore a sense of self-control’. The actions may just be symbolic or preparatory like creating an escape plan, in order to help people react appropriately to the emergency they are facing. Guidelines on best practice for message formation in scenarios such as flooding, forest fires or chemical incidents have been developed by the WHO, CDC and OECD.
Within urban areas, for example, designated levels of response teams have responsibilities in a emergency scenario. Lead responders should act together as an emergency response team, controlling the situation and preventing conflicting messages. Every category of the emergency response team member should be trained to issue accurate and consistent warnings and not put lives at risk as a result of conflicting safety information.
10 Best Practice Principles In Emergency Communication
- Reduce panic so as not to incite public hysteria.
- Deliver clear and consistent messages across all media.
- Ensure that the media channels chosen are appropriate for the target audience
- Prevent inaccurate information by unofficial sources or social media from getting out
- Empower the public and responders to make better decisions.
- Be accurate in communicating the exact level of risk. Avoid being emotional, dismissive or casual.
- Be flexible and adjust plans to suit every scenario.
- Listen to feedback and adjust the message to elicit the appropriate reaction from an audience
- Understand local vulnerabilities such as flooding near rivers can help form a sound basis for disaster management preparation.
- Automate or program public address scripts for rapid and consistent messaging
Managing The Distribution Of Critical Information
Guidelines ensure that emergency communication remains focused on the needs of the audience. If the emergency response team shares all the information which it used to make its decisions, the public will have more confidence in its messages. It is also important that only one source of emergency communication exists as mixed messages from multiple experts will confuse an audience. ‘In a emergency, people don’t want to “just pick one” of many messages, they want the best one or right one to follow’ (CDC, 2005).
Figure 1. Visual interpretation of the Havrion Emergency Management Cycle. Test emergency communication tools and tactics including the messaging at each stage of the cycle, listen to feedback and adjust accordingly.
Analyzing ‘Big Data’ To Predict Events
By the time an emergency coordination team receives news of the spread of a virus, it maybe already too late to act. To combat this, future emergency management tools should include analytics.
‘Big Data’ relates to tracking large amounts of information that can be gathered about the online activity of either an individual or a group. It is mostly uses predictive analysis techniques and in terms of emergency communication, forms part of a relatively new research area.
Accurately predicting how the public reacts to particular events can prove valuable for emergency communication throughout all stages of the emergency management cycle.
The importance of using analytics tools in real time is to use the information to adjust behavior and strategy in terms of their effectiveness.
Communicating Emergency Protocols
H.E.L.P. (Havrion Emergency Life Protection) is an emergency response protocol used to facilitate rapid and coordinated action.The overall aim of H.E.L.P. is to deliver standardized, visual signals to codify the right emergency reaction. An integral part of developing this communication framework is constructing a set of definitive communication methods and messages to best inform affected populations during an emergency event.
The information must be delivered swiftly and concisely while maintaining trust, minimizing fear and enhancing the public’s ability to make better decisions in preparing for, responding to and recovering from a emergency event. HAVRION can support message delivery throughout all stages of the disaster management cycle from any location.
While large-scale emergencies are often difficult to predict and mitigate against, pre-constructed support models can help facilitate a more effective emergency response. HAVRION ALERT MOBILE combined with HAVRION CONNECT DISPLAYS, help users deliver standardized, credible emergency communication messages directly to those affected. In addition to the ability to transmit better and faster analysis of messages, HAVRION’s AI-driven emergency management platform processes ‘Big Data’ to better predict, prepare and respond to emergency events.
By pairing emergency communication best practice with mobile communication, a coordination team can efficiently manage an emergency event and deliver life-saving outcomes. HAVRION’S PROTECT SOLUTIONS deliver a holistic approach to emergency management and offers the emergency management team the tools needed to address communication at all stages and severities of an emergency event.
About HAVRION PROTECT
HAVRION PROTECT is a complete suite of hardware and software systems that delivers advanced situational awareness, communication and response for smarter and safer schools, buildings and facilities.
With Havrion Protect you can:
CONNECT devices, applications, and communication platforms virtually in an emergency event;
MANAGE sensors, triggers, devices, and displays on digital floor plans from a single, centralized management console;
BUILD customized evacuation floor plans with static routes and lock down procedures; and design levels of security and communication.
PROVIDE new levels of building and event security and communication.
Schedule a Virtual Demo to learn how Havrion’s AI-powered solutions can help protect your environment from all types of natural or man-made emergency hazards.
What To Expect from PROTECT:
- Reduces vulnerability gaps through instantaneous and automated recommended actions and instructions during situations where communication is critical.
- Eliminates the inefficiencies of traditional alert systems, leveraging technology that enables real-time communication during critical events, getting 1st responders on site ASAP.
- Communicates and amplifies alerts, messaging, and ERP via automated and/or manual sensors, digital displays, software, and mobile apps.
- Communicate with affected individuals on WHAT is happening, WHERE it’s happening, and how they can RESPOND, to reduce the vulnerability gap.