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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Providing emergency information beyond social media

OK ... We have clearly established that most PIOs can integrate technology and social media to provide emergency information. Now what happens when elements of our critical infrastructure (CI) become unavailable?

With the perceived threats to our CI (electrical grids, worms/viruses affecting SCADA, DNS attacks, etc...) how prudent is it to put all our eggs (mostly!) on Internet-based communications channels? Or even to think there will be a reliable electrical supply?

We will have to turn to traditional media again to relay critical information. But will they, themselves, be able to deliver?

I often wonder how we'd reach many of our most vulnerable populations (in their own language? in remote areas?) following a large-scale disaster when communications become spotty.

Are our broadcasters ready to take up the slack if we can't use our websites or social media platforms?

In the US, they've prepared for that kind of contingency. Competing media conglomerates are working together, shepherded by the FCC and FEMA, to ensure continuity of operations in the provision of emergency information.

And the FCC, has just adopted new Public Alerting standards in the US.

But where are we in Canada? Some networks have done very good work, both in the public alerting field and the resiliency aspect ... Others, well ....

Some stakeholders are promoting a stronger national public alerting system for Canada but we're lagging behind ... both in public alerting and ensuring media reliability/resiliency during a disaster.

So I ask: how long can we wait?

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