41 planning for accessible emergency communications
Planning for Accessible Emergency Communications: Mobile Technology and Social Media AEGIS conference Brussels, Belgium 2011 Helena Mitchell, Ph.D. Executive Director
Statistics in Perspective American Red Cross responded to more than 60,000 disasters in 2010 54 million people have some type of disability; by 2030 it will equal 20% of the population 96% of the U.S. population use wireless services or products
Wireless RERC Mission Research and develop accessible wireless technologies and products to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Emergency Lifelines on Wireless Platforms Provide alternative and accessible emergency communication "lifelines" over wireless platforms to assist people with disabilities in managing the transition from legacy alerting systems (e.g. broadcasts over TV and radio) to next-generation versions of alerting systems (e.g. mobile broadband alerting).
Wireless Use Among People with Disabilities RERC Consumer Advisory Network Survey of User Needs 1600 plus people with disabilities 85% use wireless products and services 77% state access to wireless important 65% wireless device important in emergencies
Challenges for People with Disabilities Access to emergency information Receiving the message Ability to take action Technological transitions and incompatibility Access to emergency alerts Broadcasting, computers, laptops, car radios, wireless devices, captioned tele- phony (TTY), relay and interpreting services (ASL, S-S)
Methodology Research and develop prototypes to deliver alerts in accessible formats over wireless devices Administered 12 field trials and 2 focus groups = 100 Levels of experience with wireless devices Technology savvy Mixed ability Infrequent users Administered a pre-test and post-test questionnaire Tabulated quantitative and qualitative data Reported findings and recommendations on feasible approaches to accessible wireless alerts
Some Pre-Field Trial Questions 8070 70 6060 50 Sometimes 40 Always TV 3050 n/a Radio 20 Weather Radio 1040 E-mail 0 Telephone How often do you carry a mobile phone?30 Mobile Phone 70 Frnds/Fam 6020 Sirens 50 Alerting Device 40 Everyday10 Other 30 3-6 times/week 1-2 tims/wek 200 Never How do you currently 10 receive emergency alerts? 0 How often do you use your mobile phone?
Findings from EAS Trials Nine groups at three sites: Site 1: 94% of blind, low vision participants stated wireless emergency alerting system they evaluated was an improvement over other methods they currently use for receiving emergency alerts. Site 2: 81% of deaf and hard-of-hearing and deaf- blind found the alerts to be an improvement. Site 3: 92% of deaf and hard-of-hearing and visually impaired found devices an improvement.
Commercial Mobile Alerting SystemIncluded CMAS parameters plus improvements fromprevious trials. Reduction in number of characters, no URL’s, varied vibrating cadences. Of those who participated in previous tests 77% stated it was an improvement.70% of persons with hearing limitationsfound the CMAS alerts to be an improvement.83% of persons with visual limitations found theaccessible CMAS system to be an improvement.
Focus Groups“American Sign Language (ASL) is the fourth most common language used in America; it has all the essential features a language requires to operate: rules for grammar, punctuation, and sentence order. Earlier feedback from Deaf participants suggested need to discuss ASL alerts All participants felt that ASL was an improvement over text Some participants felt combination of text and ASL gave them fuller understanding; versus text or ASL alone Anecdotal evidence suggests some common terminology such as “take cover” or “low-lying area”; do not translate well into Deaf English and should be avoided.
Consumer Advisory Network Nationwide survey of people with disabilities November-January 2010-2011 1. Contacting 911 emergency services 2. Using social media during public emergenciesRespondent ProfileTotal number of respondents 1343Number of respondents with disability 1115Age range 18-91Age average 51.6
Image courtesy of Patrice Cloutier, Blogger“Rather than trying to convince the public to adjust to the way we at FEMAcommunicate, we must adapt to the way the public communicates ... Wemust use social media tools to more fully engage the public as a criticalpartner in our efforts.” ~ Craig Fugate, FEMA
Official Use of Social Media 74% of states use SM to disseminate emergency information Twitter 36% Facebook 29% YouTube 13% 45% of cities use SM to disseminate emergency information Twitter: 35% Facebook: 34% YouTube: 11%Sets Precedent. Sets Expectations.
Do you access social media on thefollowing devices? PercentDesktop only 23%Laptop only 12%Cell phone only 3%Desktop and laptop 6%Desktop and cell phone 7%Laptop and cell phone 7%Desktop, laptop, cell 5% TOTAL 63%
Social media outlets used by respondents Number of social media outlets Received used alert Verified alert 0 (by other means) 77.4 84.3 1 15.7 11.8 2 4.6 2.6 3 1.4 0.7Social media are used by people with disabilities. 22% have received public alerts via social media 15% have verified public alerts using social media
Social media outlets used Received alert Verified alertFacebook 11.6% 8.6%Twitter 4.6% 2.5%Listservs 4.2% 2.1%Yahoo 3.8% 2.3%YouTube 1.3% 1.0%MySpace 1.3% 0.7%Google Buzz 1.2% 0.8%LinkedIn 0.0% 0.6%Foursquare 0.3% 0.3%
Conclusions Use of wireless devices increasing among people with disabilities. Receipt and verification of alerts most often through TV. TV has accessibility barriers. Accessible formats need to be available to a variety of media devices. Social Media increasing among people with disabilities. Facebook currently most popular. Twitter predominately used by state and local emergency response agencies.
Recommendations Disconnect between where citizens seek information and where agencies disseminate information, this needs to be fixed. Redundancies and alternative sources needed to create accessible alerts and links to additional information. Agency links to social media need to be in prominent location on the homepage. Incorporating SM outlets into the planning of emergency services sites makes strategic sense.
How to Meet the Challenges Government, researchers, and industry working together can create change we can all live with.
Contact Us: www.wirelessrerc.org Helena Mitchell, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Wireless RERC email@example.com Emergency Lifelines on Wireless Networks Project: Helena Mitchell, Co-project Director Frank Lucia, Co-project Director Salimah LaForce, Research Analyst Ed Price, Technical Director Jeremy Johnson, Research Engineer Ben Lippincott, Industry LiaisonThe Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is funded by theNational Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Educationunder grant number H133E110002. The opinions contained in this presentation are those of thegrantee and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education.