Be aware of the challenges of disseminating travel information during disasters in rural areas.
Experiences of a panel of experts in disaster information dissemination.
- Be aware of the challenges due to limited infrastructure. In rural areas, the limited infrastructure may mean that ITS devices, such as Dynamic Message Signs, travel information websites, and phone systems, may not be available. Disaster managers may have to rely on more traditional information dissemination options. Media outlets, including radio, television, and newspapers are likely to be the only sources of information for many rural residents.
- Know what resources are available in advance. As previously stated, media outlets may be the only information source available in rural areas. The advantage of having fewer information sources is that people will know which outlets to turn to for information, and the messages being disseminated have a reduced chance of being changed or distorted. However, this also requires that the media be a trusted part of the process. Sometimes, agencies can also depend on the citizens themselves as sources of information for their neighbors, friends and surrounding communities.
- Plan ahead for multi-lingual evacuations. The evacuation of ethnic communities in rural areas needs to be planned for in advance. It is important to establish contacts with emergency personnel who can speak the language of the community members (i.e. Spanish or French).
- Identify the location of potential animal and farm shelters. In rural farm communities, residents are often reluctant to leave their farm animals behind. Identifying the location of potential animal and farm shelters can help agencies plan for evacuations of these rural farm communities more easily.
- Plan for a reduction in carrying capacity or a complete failure. Similar to urban areas, rural areas need to plan for a disruption in their communications infrastructure. When such problems occur, the number of information tools may become limited to battery powered portable (or car) radio.
Author: Mala Raman and Carol Zimmerman, Battelle; Todd Kell and Chris Bausher, PBS&J
Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation -Federal Highway Administration
Source Date: 28 March 2006
EDL Number: 14262
Other Reference Number: FHWA-JPO-06-024URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/14262.htm
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