Publishing Organisation:International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Audience experience level
Disaster Management Phase
This guide is intended primarily for national authorities responsible for the development and implementation of the National Emergency Telecommunication Plan and is a useful resource for any person or organization generally involved in disaster risk management or in the administration of telecommunication/ICTs during emergencies. This includes governments, the private sector, non-governmental entities, humanitarian aid agencies, and private citizens.
National emergency telecommunication plan (NETP)
- sets out a strategy to enable and ensure communications availability during the disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery phases, by promoting coordination across all levels of government, between public and private organizations, and within communities at risk.
- Preparation and implementation of an NETP engages stakeholders to think through the life cycle of a potential disaster, it determines the required capabilities for emergency responses, and establishes a governance framework of roles and responsibilities.
- It also clarifies how to shape planning, envision and share desired outcomes, and it outlines effective ways to achieve and communicate expected results.
- The NETP will reflect what diverse stakeholder communities need to focus on in order to address specific risks with available resources.
Support for people with specific needs
- Consult with members of vulnerable populations directly and facilitate their involvement at all stages of the disaster management process.
- Ensure that accessibility and usability of telecommunication/ICTs are considered
- Use multiple strategies and mechanisms to promote accessible telecommunication/ICT
- Build the capacity of vulnerable populations to use telecommunication/ICTs in disaster situations
- Use multiple modes of communication to provide information before, during and after disasters
- Be aware of the potential for misuse of personal data of vulnerable populations in disaster situations
- Provide information packs, guides and manuals; conduct public awareness campaigns in multiple accessible formats in different languages; and provide sensitized resource persons to impart the contents of these packs to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
- Develop, promote and distribute mainstream and assistive technologies that can be used during emergencies and disasters
- Develop frameworks to facilitate inter-agency collaboration
- Specify accessible telecommunication/ICT infrastructure
- Ensure that all services, facilities and infrastructure developed after a disaster are accessible and inclusive.
- Provide information in multiple formats and through multiple modes about ongoing recovery efforts and how to get help or access resources
- Review disaster response efforts to assess any challenges for vulnerable groups
Telecommunications/ICT to support people with specific needs
Incorporation of multiple forms of ICT is key to bringing messages to all people, without discrimination of age, gender, ability or location. To ensure this inclusiveness, the following considerations are required:
- Public address systems:
- Alerts in audio and visual formats through public loudspeakers and electronic displays
- Sirens can be accompanied by flashing lights to denote the nature and level of threat.
- Radios can be used with attachments or with special features to enable use by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Employing closed captioning or subtitling in local languages can make audio commentary accessible to people who have hearing impairments or do not understand the language.
- In addition, sign language interpreters should be used when providing televised information about a disaster or emergency situation.
- If information is sent out only as SMS, people who need non-visual inputs and don’t have access to high-end devices that can convert text to other formats such as audio will be excluded.
- Notifications should be enabled in multiple languages.
- The software should be designed as per accessibility guidelines to enable it to operate seamlessly with a user’s assistive technology. o Use of graphics within the alert may assist people who have trouble understanding the language, children and individuals with cognitive disabilities.
- Social Media
- Social media sites should also be designed to be accessible and to work with a user’s assistive technology.
- Finally, although the new versions of the most popular social networks are offering accessibility features, it is important that the agencies publishing emergency information on these platforms know about electronic content accessibility to ensure that the messages are accessible.
- Websites providing disaster management information must be tested for accessibility to ensure that persons with disabilities do not face barriers in accessing the important information shared on the website.