Blogs as Disaster or Emergency Communication Tool

Some attendees at the June 2008 STC conference may recall the session about "Communicating and Creating Training for Disasters and Emergencies" presented by members of the Environmental, Safety, and Health SIG. "How do you write emergency training that will engage people to become prepared when they are apprehensive about their safety?"

At the other end of the spectrum is communicating during disasters or emergencies. The popular blog, Lorelle on WordPress, discusses that in a recent post called "Blogs Offer Communication, Information, and Connections During Disasters".

This post provides an interesting discussion of how blogs are one way of getting news to the world about an unfolding disaster. Obviously, the infrastructure necessary for this type of communication can be threatened: no electrical or telephone lines, for example. Lorelle shares many tips about coping with that type of situation. She also reports the abuse that, sadly enough, follows in the wake of these disasters.

All in all, this post echoes some of the ESH presentation. Could emergency preparedness be communicated through blogs, and could those same blogs act as a lifeline during an emergency, helping to coordinate relief efforts and connecting people and resources? To me, the answer is an obvious yes, but you wouldn't necessarily be able to start doing all these things the very day disaster struck. Planning, as discussed by the ESH SIG, is in order.

I'll close this entry with Lorelle's closing thoughts, which sum up the lessons to be learned. I hope you'll add your thoughts in the comments.

For the bloggers living, working, and surviving in disaster areas, they have a lot to teach us about how blogs can help and serve our online community. Those who want to help from outside the impacted areas are learning more about how to integrate multiple media and blog sources into a single aggregator without impinging upon copyrights, creating central clearing houses for news and information. The more we learn about how useful blogs are in a disaster, the more our blogs will improve overall.

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The Web Diva for the Accessible Techcomm website since 2012. Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. STC member since June 1979. A founder and former webmaster for the STC Special Needs Committee, which became the STC AccessAbility SIG (2001-2011).