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'Communicating' is a critical element of preparedness

posted Feb 7, 2013, 10:39 PM by Brad Rupp   [ updated Feb 8, 2013, 8:42 PM ]

Whether it's a powerful earthquake, a hurricane or tsunami that collapse buildings and highways or even heavy snowfall that delays delivery of food to store shelves, few parts of the world are immune from the effects of an emergency or disaster. In 2005, public health professor Sarah Bass of Temple University noted researchers found "people universally rely on television and radio for information during an emergency. But surprisingly, they say, half of respondents would go to their clergy for information, highlighting the important role that non-traditional communicators play in emergency response."

Obtaining and sharing information for many once focused on traditional media broadcasters such as radio and television but today communications most likely center around the Internet or portable text-messaging devices. Infrastructure disruptions, often caused by power outages, can leave communities temporarily isolated from the "outside" world and residents seeking information from non-traditional sources.

The Church's website reinforces prophetic counsel by encouraging members to "prepare a simple emergency plan." Among the items the site lists for consideration are a three-month supply of food, drinking water, financial reserves, medication and first aid supplies, clothing, important documents and ways to communicate with family following a disaster. Stakes and wards are also reminded that "during an emergency, normal means of communication may become inoperable. Communication needs should be addressed in ward and stake emergency plans."

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