Introduction To Emergency Management 6th Edition by George Haddow – Test Bank

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Chapter 5

The Disciplines of Emergency Management: Communications

 

Communications has become an increasingly critical function in emergency management.  The dissemination of timely and accurate information to the general public, elected and community officials and the media plays a major role in the effective management of disaster response and recovery activities. Communicating preparedness and mitigation information promotes actions that reduce the risk of future disasters. Communicating policies, goals, and priorities to staff, partners, and participants enhances support and promotes a more efficient disaster management operation. In communicating with the public, establishing a partnership with the media and actively participating in social media are key to implementing a successful strategy. In recent years the media world has undergone a very significant transformation with the emergence of social media outlets, and social media is now an important emergency management tool. Information sharing and its corollaries—collaboration and coordination—are key to effective, sustainable, timely, and participatory post-disaster recovery.

 

Communication is required in all four emergency management phases, namely:

 

  • Mitigation—to promote implementation of strategies, technologies, and actions that will reduce the loss of lives and property in future disasters.
  • Preparedness—to communicate preparedness messages that educate the and encourage the public to take action to prepare for future disaster events.
  • Response—to provide to the pubic notification, warning, evacuation, and situation reports on an ongoing disaster.
  • Recovery—to provide individuals and communities affected by a disaster with information on how to register for and receive disaster relief.

 

Customer Focus

A focus on customers and customer service is essential, and includes placing the needs and interests of individuals and communities being served first, being responsive and informative, and managing expectations.  The customers for emergency management include internal customers, such as staff, other federal agencies, states, and other disaster partners, and external customers that include the general public, elected officials at all levels of government, community and business leaders, and the media. Each of these customers has specific information needs, and a good communications strategy considers and reflects their requirements.

 

Leadership Commitment

Good communication starts with a commitment by the leadership of the emergency management organization to sharing and disseminating information both internally and externally. The leader of any disaster response and recovery effort must openly endorse and promote open lines of communications among the organization’s staff, partners, and publics in order to effectively communicate. This leader must model this behavior in order to clearly illustrate that communications is a valued function of the organization.

 

Inclusion of Communications in Planning and Operations

Leadership must include communications in all planning and operations. This means that a communications specialist is included in the senior management team of any emergency management organization and operation, communications issues are considered in the decision-making processes, and a communications element is included in all organizational activities, plans, and operations.  The information needs of the various customers and how best to communicate with these customers must be considered at the same time that planning and operational decisions are being made.

 

Situational Awareness

Knowing the number of people killed and injured, the level of damage at the disaster site, the condition of homes and community infrastructure and current response efforts provide decision makers with the situational awareness needed to identify need and appropriately apply available resources.  The collection, analysis and dissemination of information from the disaster site are the basis for an effective communications operation in a disaster response.  This is also true during the disaster recovery phase especially early in the recovery phase when the demand for information from the public, and therefore the media, is at its highest.

 

Media Partnership

To effectively provide timely disaster information to the public and to make full use of the information generated both in traditional and social media outlets, emergency managers must establish a partnership with local traditional and social media outlets. The goal of a media partnership is to provide accurate and timely information to the public in both disaster and non-disaster situations. Traditionally, the relationship between emergency managers and the media has been strained because of a conflict between the need of the emergency manager to respond quickly and the need of the media to obtain information on the response so it can report it just as quickly. Emergency managers must understand the needs of the media and the value they bring to facilitating response operations.

 

 

Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World

The Internet and social media have radically and irreversibly transformed the communications landscape. The Internet has created a “new” news landscape and changed forever the way and speed news is produced and consumed.  Communications is now a conversation between the many.  The emergence of Internet-based social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as news providers and the fact that four out of five U.S. adults access the internet through either a smartphone or tablet means people can access, generate, influence or share news wherever they are, anytime of day. People’s appetite for news has not dropped, in fact there’s evidence it may have increased. Social media are internet-based tools, technologies and applications that enable interactive communications and content exchange between users who move back and forth easily between roles as content creators and consumers.

While many traditional media (such as newspapers and television) remain important disaster communication channels, traditional media primarily facilitate one-way information dissemination. Social media provides the platform for real time two-way dialogue and interaction between organizations, the public, and individuals.  Social media outlets include, but are not limited to the following groups: social networks; blogs; microblogs; crowdsourcing; digital mapping; podcasts; forums; video sharing; photo sharing; and wiki.

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Building an Effective Crisis Communications Capability in a Changing Media World

The emergency management community has been forced to re-examine communications processes.  Managing information before, during and after a disaster has changed significantly in recent years and emergency operations at all levels – local, state and national – must recognize and acknowledge this change and adapt accordingly.  in recent years, Emergency Management organizations have begun to fully embrace social media much the way traditional media outlets (i.e., television, radio, newspapers) have done. Emergency Management organizations such as FEMA have established partnerships with both the traditional media outlets and social media in order to meet their primary communications mission of providing the public with timely and accurate information before, during, and after a disaster.  There are seven elements the authors believe will comprise an effective disaster communications capability in the future.  These seven elements include:

 

  • A Communication Plan
  • Information Coming In
  • Information Going Out
  • Messengers
  • Staffing
  • Training and Exercises
  • Monitor, Update and Adapt

 

 

 

Multiple Choice Questions

 

  1. Which of the following describes an effective disaster communications strategy in the Response Phase?
  2.  To communicate the preparedness messages that encourage and educate the public in anticipation of disaster events
  3. To provide individuals and communities affected by a disaster with information on how to register for and receive disaster relief
  4. *To provide to the public notification, warning, evacuation, and situation reports on an ongoing disaster
  5. To promote implementation of strategies, technologies, and actions that will reduce the loss of lives and property in future disasters

 

  1. Which of the following describes an effective disaster communications strategy in the Mitigation Phase?
  2.  To communicate the preparedness messages that encourage and educate the public in anticipation of disaster events
  3. To provide individuals and communities affected by a disaster with information on how to register for and receive disaster relief
  4. To provide to the public notification, warning, evacuation, and situation reports on an ongoing disaster
  5. *To promote implementation of strategies, technologies, and actions that will reduce the loss of lives and property in future disasters

 

  1. Which of the following describes an effective disaster communications strategy in the Recovery Phase?
  2.  To communicate the preparedness messages that encourage and educate the public in anticipation of disaster events
  3. *To provide individuals and communities affected by a disaster with information on how to register for and receive disaster relief
  4. To provide to the public notification, warning, evacuation, and situation reports on an ongoing disaster
  5. To promote implementation of strategies, technologies, and actions that will reduce the loss of lives and property in future disasters

 

  1. Which of the following assumptions is not typically considered a critical component of the foundation of an effective disaster communication strategy?
  2. *Command Structure
  3. Customer Focus
  4. Media Partnership
  5. Leadership Commitment

 

  1. Knowing the number of people killed or injured, damages at the disaster site, the condition of homes and community infrastructure, and current response efforts, for example, is known as which of the following?
  2. Primary Analysis
  3. *Situational Awareness
  4. Forward Framing
  5. None of the above

 

  1. The Pew Research Center found that following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, approximately what percentage of Americans turned to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets for information?
  2.     5%
  3. *25%
  4. 75%
  5. 95%

 

  1. External customers include all but which of the following?
  2. The media
  3. The general public
  4. Elected officials
  5. *All are external customers

 

  1. Which of the following accurately lists the four main types of social media users in emergencies as described in this chapter?
  2. Destructive, Constructive, Curious, Contributor
  3. Troll, Wiki, Drive-by, Medic
  4. *Innovative, Reactive, Responsive, and Proactive
  5. None of the above

 

  1. The most important part of leadership’s commitment to communications is which of the following?
  2. *Inclusion of Communications in Planning and Operations
  3. Leadership Commitment
  4. Customer Focus
  5. Media Partnership

 

  1. Which of the following technological changes has had a profound effect on the demand for information?
  2. 24-hour television coverage
  3. 24-hour radio coverage
  4. The Internet
  5.     *All of the above

 

  1. A media partnership provides the media with all except which of the following?
  2. Access to emergency managers
  3. Access to critical information for the public
  4. Access to the disaster site
  5.   *All of the above

 

  1. Which of the following describes a podcast?
  2. *Digital audio or video file that can be downloaded from a website onto a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or mobile device
  3. An open call to the public asking for solutions to a problem
  4. An online journal where readers can comment on or share the content
  5. Web page where people work together as a community to create and edit content

 

  1. Which of the following describes a blog?
  2. Digital audio or video file that can be downloaded from a website onto a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or mobile device
  3. An open call to the public asking for solutions to a problem
  4. *An online journal where readers can comment on or share the content
  5. Web page where people work together as a community to create and edit content
  6. Which of the following is not something social media has been recognized as providing in a time of disaster?
  7. Immediate access to information
  8. A way to reach rescuers
  9. *A way to access filtered information
  10. A place to reunite families

 

Which of the following describes a Wiki?

  1. Digital audio or video file that can be downloaded from a website onto a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or mobile device
  2. An open call to the public asking for solutions to a problem
  3. An online journal where readers can comment on or share the content
  4. *Web page where people work together as a community to create and edit content

 

  1. Which of the following describes crowdsourcing?
  2. Digital audio or video file that can be downloaded from a website onto a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or mobile device
  3. *An open call to the public asking for solutions to a problem
  4. An online journal where readers can comment on or share the content
  5. Web page where people work together as a community to create and edit content
  6. Which of the following is not listed as a critical element of an effective information management system during a disaster?
  7. Collection of information at the disaster site
  8. Analysis of information
  9. *Filing of information
  10. Dissemination of information

 

  1. Ordinary citizens armed with a cell phone who can take pictures and/or video at the disaster site and add commentary and post their submissions on the Internet or provide them to CNN or MSNBC or other outlets are known as which of the following?
  2. *First Informers
  3. Citizen Activists
  4. New Reporters
  5. New Media

 

 

  1. Which of the following is the most visited social networking site in the United States?
  2. Google
  3. *Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. MySpace

 

  1. Collecting information from a variety of sources, analyzing this data in order to identify resource needs, and identifying trusted messengers are all part of which of the following? a.    Press release
  2. Common operating picture
  3. Blog
  4.     Communications plan*

 

  1. The primary “face” of the disaster response should be which of the following?
  2. The Chief Elected Official
  3. Director of Emergency Management
  4. *Either A or B
  5. Neither A nor B

 

True or False Questions

 

  1. The media plays a minor role in disaster communications.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. A customer service approach includes placing the needs and interests of individuals and communities first.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. Customers for emergency management communication tend to be homogenous.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. A good communications strategy considers the requirements of all internal and external customers.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. If a message is strong, the director of an emergency management organization is not needed to promote open lines of communications among the organizations staff, partners, or public.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. In the United States, almost 98% of people have access to the internet.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. Ushahidi was a crisis mapping website that was used extensively after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. Inclusion of Communications in Planning and Operations means that communications issues are considered in the decision-making processes and that a communications element is included in all organizational activities, plans, and operations.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. Communicating with external and internal audiences was always considered critical to a successful emergency management operation.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. Within the Incident Command System, one of the three top command staff reporting to the Incident Commander is the Public Information Officer.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. The goal of a media partnership is to provide accurate and timely information to the public in both disaster AND non-disaster situations.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. The relationship between the media and emergency management has become more strained in recent years.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. More than half of US adults have access to the internet through a mobile device.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. Despite the emergence of new media, traditional media has yet to experience a decline.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. Government agencies have been slow to embrace social media tools.
  2. True* b. False

 

16 FEMA watched Twitter closely during hurricane Katrina to assess what was happening to those affected.

  1. True    b. False*

 

  1. Twitter is an example of a Microblog.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. Mayor Tom Menino was considered an ineffective messenger during the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing.
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. It is always best to let representatives from other organizations to speak for their organization and what their organization is doing.
  2. True* b. False

 

  1. Mass media news anchors are the most common “first informers.”
  2. True b. False*

 

  1. Television, radio, and newspaper reporters are part of the traditional media.
  2. True* b. False

 

 

Essay Questions

 

  1. What is a communication plan, and what kinds of information does it typically include?

 

  1. Explain why a media partnership is important, and describe the guidelines that should be followed when working with the media in disaster response.

 

  1. Describe the difference between internal and external customers, providing examples for each customer type.

 

  1. Explain how FEMA performs communications in times of disaster.

 

  1. Describe a real-world scenario where disaster communications has been used, either from the case studies described in the book or from your own experience or knowledge.

 

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