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Effective Emergency Communications in Natural and Human-generated Disasters: Results of a Recently Released WERF Study

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Recent terrorist attacks and natural disasters demonstrate the need for improved systems of communicating information to the public during an emergency. Since the content, tone, and character of a message can have a large effect on community response, there is a need for utilities to create appropriate emergency messages. Researchers developed a communication planning tools, specific to water and wastewater utilities, based upon analysis of current emergency communication practices, including a literature review, a survey of water and wastewater utilities, and interviews with select survey participants to derive best practices.

Using this analysis, researchers created a Communication Preparedness Guide that assists utility representatives in applying current best practices in the industry. The guide walks users through creating a customized plan. Along with print resources, a CD-ROM-based software tool for building and managing a customized emergency communications plan, eCIMs, accompanies the report. The eCIMs allows users to prepare for communicating in virtually any kind of emergency.

Keywords: Emergency Operations Plans; Emergency communications; natura hazards; terrorist attacks; water and wastewater utilities

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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