Disaster Management Manual
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4.2.1 Introduction

In the development of this topic, a large number of disaster specialists from the PIARC member countries have participated in analyzing important needs in information and communication in disasters.

The management of information and communication should be part of a planned process that road organizations use to manage risk and disaster. Information and communication management are currently considered an indispensable part of disaster management. Both the protocol development and tool investment in information and communication management are becoming very important tasks that should be developed by road organizations. Information is the most valuable asset not only during a disaster but also in the pre-event and post-event situation, so it is very important to study the ways of managing disaster and disaster related information and data.

Disaster management activities rely on information, which enable better coordination among all agencies who deal with emergencies. This task will be more effective where the information management issues are well understood and there is an exchange of information between agencies and the public through appropriate communication techniques and processes. It should be noted that the tasks of collecting, communicating and disseminating information in emergencies is always dealt with in complex and stressful situations, where the public require only the most immediate and urgent information.

Such information should be collected, analyzed, and provided to public and technical agencies. It is also important to understand that information for the public and technical agencies should be consistent for better understanding of disaster situations and to assist individuals in preparing against subsequent and anticipated events. However, public information and technical information are required to be presented differently to communicate effectively to different audiences. Effective and efficient procedures for communication and administrative structures for sharing this information are required and should be implemented early.

New computer software and other tools based on new technologies greatly assist in information processing and collection. Social media, web media, and social media services are very powerful tools to almost instantly disseminate any kind of data to many people worldwide. Current technology creates a real advantage; when combined with databases, it improves information analysis and sharing. However, excessive reliance on new technology can be inappropriate. Road administrators should be prepared for electricity outages and damage to communications facilities – such as phone towers – to disrupt communications. It should also be pointed out that road administrators should consider sharing information with other countries in order to get a good comparison of results.

In this report, current practices regarding disaster information management of different countries – through an international survey and collection of case studies – were reviewed to identify the best practices for dealing with an emergency or disaster situation. Recommendations have been made to help road organizations understand and manage the context of the disaster and facilitate information management and public communication tasks.

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