2011 has been an active disaster year, including the series of tornadoes that struck the south April 27. This is one of the destroyed buildings in downtown Cullman, AL, where an EF-4 tornado struck. The power was down here and across the northern tier of the state. Some areas didn’t have power restored for two weeks. Even areas that weren’t directly impacted by a tornado were impacted when Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Power Facility was shut down because electrical power towers were blown over. There was little to no communication in or out of these areas.
In the midst of destruction, it is important for Extension to be seen and to listen to survivors’ stories. This lady is holding a squirrel. After the tornado passed through this part of Cullman, she and a few other folks gathered outside to see the destruction. While they were standing around, the squirrel emerged from a downed oak tree, looked at the group, and then ran up her leg. She’s been making it feel at home in her house (that escaped major damage) ever since. But the other story here is that the Extension County Coordinator (in the green hat) and a regional Extension agent (AU hat) talked to her and others, helping in community recovery.
Cullman Extension used the mobile internet trailer as a communications center in areas of the town where needed. That community had power restored more quickly than other areas, so the trailer was moved to Hackleburg, in west Alabama. That entire town was destroyed. The Internet trailer was used here, not only by the police, health department, and other relief groups, the trailer was used by high school students for Internet access as they finished their school year.What did Extension and EDEN bring to the table in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee – and other states when disaster struck? Not only are all disasters local, they don’t discriminate by Extension program area—in other words, there’s usually something that each of our program areas can offer to help communities recover. What about during the other phases of disaster (preparation, planning, mitigation)? Extension can help in all these phases, and EDEN recognizes both the need for education about all the disaster phases as well as that each Extension program area has something to contribute. While Communications and IT are not considered part of the program areas, we do have a lot to contribute to the disaster education effort. Disasters will strike—whether they’re man-made or natural—but we can reduce the impact of those disasters through disaster education. Because most people don’t think about disaster until it’s about to happen or did just happen to them, delivering disaster education that affects a change in attitude and behavior is a challenge.Today, we’ll hear from three communicators who have successfully used a variety of approaches to help their respective states prepare for and recover from floods, power outages and other disasters.
Make personalized contacts with media, not just send news releases – should be done before disasters. During a disaster is not the time to be sharing business cards.Provide subject matter expert contacts – tip sheets rather than news releases sometimes.Time messages appropriately. Get out messages repeatedly.Use radio – Grand Forks Extension agents took live call-in questions for weeks.
Rather than trying to say a URL on the air, we just told people to search for “NDSU Extension flood.”
We cooperated with others to tag all tweets with #ndflood
Get out important messages in multiple ways.It’s not enough to just put information on the Web – have to let people know it’s there.People want different information at different times before, during and after disasters – you’ll be sick and tired of the message, but stressed people might just be wanting and catching the message
Not enough funding. Too Much to do. Not Enough Hours. But the work can be rewarding.If you have a bachelors degree, you are more qualified than some emergency managers. I mean no disrespect. And if you are training in communications and technology or agriculture, you bring some very important skills.How? That’s really up to you.
I have taken ICS 100 and a specialized ICS for agriculture; week-long training in state emergency management; EDEN Annual meetings are great training; and I am a certified (slightly out of date) storm spotter.
Ace netc 2011 delivering disaster education
Delivering Disaster Education<br />Becky Koch<br />North Dakota State University<br />Rick Atterberry<br />University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign<br />Steve Cain<br />Purdue University<br />Virginia Morgan<br />Alabama Cooperative Extension System<br />
Disaster Media<br />Becky Koch<br />Ag Communication Director<br />North Dakota State University<br />Right Answers.<br /> Right Now.<br />
Traditional Media<br />Newspapers<br />Television<br />Radio<br />
Web<br />Create and publicize a simple URL<br />Tell people how to search, not just URL<br />Update home page regularly, make it look new<br />Feature a variety of tools on the Web: videos, feeds, interaction options<br />
Social Media<br />Twitter: publicize to get followers, use common hashtags<br />Facebook: Use existing accounts, submit content as comments on others’ posts<br />Smartphone apps: Possibly get involved in development<br />
Building Relationships<br />Rick Atterberry<br />Marketing/Communication Specialist<br />University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign<br />
Reach Out to Local Emergency Manager<br />They also work for county<br />Usually understaffed<br />
Local EMA Needs<br />Communications assistance<br />Animal/ag annex to local plan<br />Membership on local emergency board<br />Mitigation planning<br />Reaching underserved audiences<br />Facilities<br />Education<br />
Communications Assistance<br />Often not trained as crisis communicators<br />As communications professionals we may be able to help<br />Small EMA staffs mean help may be needed<br />
Animal/Ag Annex to Local Plan<br />Local emergency manager required to complete planning<br />May not have the contacts or expertise to complete ag-related parts of plan<br />Animal annex can be a special problem<br />
Membership on Local Emergency Board<br />Extension directors usually on USDA State Emergency Boards<br />The LEB is different, but similar <br />Often in need of qualified members<br />
Mitigation Planning<br />Define mitigation<br />FEMA money available<br />County plans must be in place<br />A good place for CED team involvement<br />
Reaching Underserved Audiences<br />Often difficult for local EMA<br />Extension has experience in this area<br />Consider non-conventional means<br />Build on trust in Extension programming<br />
QUETION: Should a homeowner expect higher waste disposal costs because of contaminated flood materials?<br />QUESTION: Is my food safe?<br />Extension offices usually have good connectivity<br />Meeting rooms<br />Parking<br />Facilities<br />
Collaborating<br />Preparing yourself<br />If you have communicated crisis or disaster information you are one step closer to a PIO. <br />But there’s lots of free trainings<br />ICS <br />EMI <br />In-State and local training<br />Experience<br />http://tinyurl.com/EMI-ICStrainings<br />
Who to Partner With<br />FEMA or State Emergency Management<br />VOADs<br />State Department of Ag or Animal Health<br />State Department of Health<br />Other State Departments<br />
My Focus<br />Indiana and National VOAD<br />Indiana VOAD membership since 2005<br />Provide Web updating<br />Vice President 2008-2009<br />President 2009-2010<br />National VOAD Board member since 2010<br />Created a partnership between National VOAD EDEN<br />Learn the system that makes volunteers response work in the U.S.<br />
Worst Floods in Indiana<br />Developed 14 long-term recovery committees that helped more than 30,000 survivors.<br />
COAD Development <br />Indiana now has 12 COADs because of Purdue Extension <br />These COADs are excellent, locally-based populations for more education that is either delivered by or facilitated by Extension.<br />