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Fugate White House Briefing On Tenn. Flood Highlights Value Of Mobiles/PDA’s In Response & Need For Govt. To Add Them To Basic Kit, Educate Public On Their Uses During Disasters

May 12th, 2010 · No Comments

At a White House press briefing yesterday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reported that many Tennessee flood survivors who had been displaced from their homes were accessing the agency’s new mobile version of its website,, with their mobile phones and PDA’s to get information and register for recovery relief.

It underscores the fact that the mobile device may be the most important tool people can have during a disaster. Yet, many state and local emergency management websites still do not recommend it on their lists of what every citizen should have for an emergency. Last year, FEMA and the Red Cross added it to their recommended list. (As I have witnessed first hand, including at a Red Cross relief shelter, having a phone charger is also very important, as would be an extra cellphone battery.)

There had been some hesitation in the past about putting mobiles in the minimum recommendations due to “digital divide” concerns, but their widespread proliferation has made that objection anachronistic. In fact, if anything the need now is for government emergency officials to put far more of an effort into explaining to the public how best to utilize their devices to communicate with each other and the authorities in emergency situations (including social media). Employing case studies, such as during the Tennessee flood cited by Fugate, to help educate the public might be useful.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate Briefed Reporters At The White House Yesterday.

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Tags: Preparedness 2.0

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