In the past two weeks I have met a group of people from Germany and talked about the needs of some pacific island states regarding issuing warnings to their community.
Issuing warnings in a repetitive way, with useful information that meets the needs of people involved in an emergency, is what I call “emergency broadcasting.” It’s not just issuing media releases and going to wall-to-wall or rolling coverage. That’s “news,” and flow programming and it’s interesting and sometimes compelling but if it doesnt consider the needs of the community when they are facing the emergency, it’s not emergency broadcasting.
If the elements of emergency broadcasting are all considered alongside the content, then it will be more effective communication package to the community.
I needed to write a report defining emergency broadcasting to those unfamiliar with it.
Here is what I came up with. Does it make sense?
The aim of “emergency broadcasting:”
“Giving people information they could use to respond to an event before, during and after the emergency.”
It is conducted in partnership with emergency agencies, The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the media outlet, and is relevant in all natural hazards, and some man-made disasters such as human, animal and plant quarantine, civil unrest, active shooters, utility failure and toxic gas and chemical spills.
The principals of emergency broadcasting are:
- Understanding the threat environment by all involved in emergency broadcasting.
- Ensuring that all staff involved in EB includes, among other things: weather forecasting, the natural environment; the disaster history in the region; planning and undertaking emergency broadcasting; understanding human behaviour in disasters; understanding the response agency operations; sharing information.
- The provision of formal and informal warnings and information to assist individuals to respond and recover.
- To work in partnership with emergency agencies and the Bureau of Meteorology to understand their operations and assist them to meet their goals.
- To ensure that information can be provided even when no formal warning and advice are forthcoming.
- To build partnerships with transmission agencies to ensure broadcast pathways are maintained and prepared.
- To ensure that the information can be provided in a way which best suits the needs of the whole community regardless of language, age and cultural barriers.
- To emphasise the need for a whole of community response to best survive and recover.
- Regular review of all emergency broadcast activity in collaboration with emergency agencies.
The strategies to achieve these principals are:
Use of audio alerts, and effective headlines to ensure the listening and viewing audience knows that the messages are important.
Warnings provided in a way that is scalable depending on the level of the threat.
Education campaigns to ensure that the audience knows what the provision of emergency broadcasting includes.
Education campaigns to ensure they know what to do when they receive a warning.
The capacity to scale up content quickly.
Collaboration with technical departments to ensure transmission and technical services are aware of the emergency and can prepare.
Training of broadcasters to understand emergency agencies operations; basic weather forecasting; and to reduce stress and anxiety which can be problem when conducting an emergency broadcast.
Managers engage with State, District and Local disaster committees to build strong understanding, personal networks, and local capabilities.
Have I missed anything?