Did you know it is very possible to be prepared and professional during an emergency and still make communication mistakes? Unfortunately, this happens too often! So, since we are urged by FEMA to practice preparedness today, I'm listing the top 3 ways to avoid communication errors during an emergency.
1. Know that "one size does NOT fit all" when it comes to forms. It is very frustrating to have people write down their issues during a disaster, especially if they're seeking relief. Mistakes get made on the form, people tend to be so bogged down with worry that they overlook crucial information, etc. When you have someone assessing people for assistance, make sure you have an advocate to review every single form with them. Information may be needed or there may be extenuating circumstances that are outside of the forms' perimeters.
2. Don't skimp on technology upgrades. Cutting corners to save a few, or a few thousand, dollars is a mistake! Why? During an emergency the technology upgrades could provide quicker responses, access to vital information, link up with systems that can obtain relief, and so much more. Not buying the proper software, or the upgrades, for the sake of saving a dollar is irresponsible and can slow down communication efforts.
3. Seek out social media to help you communicate vital information. You might be asking yourself,"what if all cell phones are out?" Well, that could be- but what if only some of them are out? Other people will still see the information on social media and it will carry. Social media is a great tool. Not using it during an emergency is a major mistake - just consider the many benefits the city of Boston gained out of social media when tracking the marathon bombers!
I hope this information helps. If you have questions, please contact me directly. I'm always available to talk- by email, phone, or Twitter.
Twyla N. Garrett