Updated 10/23/2012 09:48 PM
Learning from Tropical Storm Lee
Twitter, Facebook and text messages all played vital roles in the response to Tropical Storm Lee. Now comes the review of those methods as our Elyse Mickalonis tells us what worked and what didn't, and how that information will be used moving forward.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
OWEGO, N.Y. -- Communication is key during any natural disaster and as technology progresses, information can be shared in a variety of ways.
"Social media, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, the community alert network, where somebody mentioned reverse 911,” said Jill Deskins, Red Cross of Tioga County.
Those means were put to the test during Tropical Storm Lee. Emergency planners and first responders utilized what technology they had at their hands to deliver life-saving information. Now the people who worked hard to keep the public alive and informed last year are looking back on what things worked and what didn’t.
"We have a voice over IP, so we can take our phone service with us,” said Deskins. “We found having an Internet-based phone system doesn't always work when the power is out or when you're flooded."
The idea is to brainstorm ways to improve on what worked, and incorporate communications planning into disaster preparedness.
"It’s important we continuously talk about and reevaluate how things went,” said Doug Barton, Tioga County Economic Development & Planning Director. “We can improve on this last event, but we can improve on how we communicate."
Despite how useful social media was during the disaster, experts suggest finding ways to communicate and stay informed that don't require power.
"It helps save lives for one. If someone has a crank radio or a battery operated radio, even go out in the vehicle if they can, they’ll know what's coming, what the weather is like, what the disaster will be the and what the implications will be if they don’t leave their home and they don’t go to a shelter or go to a friend’s house,” said Deskins.
Now with the information they need in hand, emergency planners can work to be one step ahead of the next possible disaster. Red Cross workers want the public to be as prepared as possible for any disaster, they recommend having an emergency kit and plan ready to go. For more information on that, head to www.redcross.org.