What are the biggest communication challenges in emergency measures ?

Since our company offers an emergency communication solution for first responders, we believe that it’s essential to question ourselves about the major communication challenges that these responders encounter in an emergency crisis.

This is why we decided to question stakeholders on social medias. We ask them «According to you, what are the main communication challenges in emergency situations?». Following, are the elements that were more frequently mentioned in discussions.

– First responders coordination: Some managers in emergency management told that they have never been able contact some responders only because the contact information have never been updated. Thus, the concept of single inbound number seems to be a value added to communication systems employed in emergency situations because it allows responders to communicate together, without knowing everybody’s number, which increases significantly the efficiency of the operation.

– Coordination between the different emergency services implicated: Those challenges often go beyond technological challenges. That might explain the increasing popularity for the interoperability concept in the emergency measures industry. Let us recall that interoperability serves to facilitate collaboration between different organizations in emergency measures. In that sense, the Public Safety of Canadian Government established  The Communications Interoperability Strategy for Canada that «sets goals and identify key national priorities to enhance governance, planning, technology, training and exercises to promote interoperable voice and data communications». Thus, we can see that interoperability is nowadays a major issue in emergency measures.

– Withhold information vs disclosure: Sharing information is an element that created a lot of reactions to our question. First, we can’t denied that the internal sharing of information (between first responders) has a direct impact on the progress of any given operation. However, it appears in some power struggles arise between the individual or group of individuals that hold the information. Not only does the withholding of information block operational efficiency, but it can also creates a feeling of unfairness among the various members involved.  On the other hand, the speed at which the disclosure of information to the public remains a major challenge for crisis management managers.

In light of the above, we realize that even if emergency measures benefit from advanced technologies, the human being will always stay a key element in the communication process.

Sources :

Stratégie d’interopérabilité des communications pour le Canada :http://www.securitepublique.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/ntrprblt-strtg/index-fra.aspx