The importance of effective communication in any emergency situation cannot be understated. The communication network is essential for collaboration between emergency managers, first responders, and the public. A breakdown in any communication channel within the network could be disastrous.
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Technology has improved communication networks in multiple ways; however, as was made evident in the senate report, “Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared,” reliance upon technology can also introduce significant challenges into a disaster situation when technologically-mediated channels are broken and other means of communication must be found.
For this assignment, you will conduct an interview with a local emergency official to learn more about the emergency communication network in your jurisdiction. Your goal is to learn more about its organization, strengths, and potential weaknesses. Additionally, you should learn about the kinds of technologically-mediated communication channels that are prevalent in your area and the benefits and challenges technology poses to the network.
You can conduct your interview via e-mail, over the phone, or in person. As you know, emergency officials are very busy so try to set up your interview a few weeks ahead of time. Prior to the interview, create a list of 8-10 interview questions to make sure you get the information you need for the assignment. Also, provide your interviewee with the attached Interview Consent form so they understand the purpose of the interview.
After completing the interview, write a brief reflection (250-500 words) discussing what you learned about the communication network and technology in your jurisdiction. Include a few recommendations to improve communication channels or improve the use of technology to shore up any identified vulnerabilities in the network. Include the list of your interview questions with your reflection.