During a time of crisis, (such as natural disasters, pandemics, acts of terrorism) relevant information and knowledge is not received by the individuals or groups of individuals that need it the most. For instance many times First Responders are not able to respond quickly and effectively without the right information and knowledge during a crisis event. The lack of timely and accurate information increases the level of confusion, resulting in their ineffectiveness that may cause loss of life. Our current emergency broadcast systems are ineffective, see National Public Radio September 30, 2009 “GAO Faults FEMA on Nationwide Alert System (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113345772).
This ineffectiveness is due to the lack of timely, accurate and meaningful information being delivered to the correct recipients during emergencies. This also prevents first responders, key government leadership and the public from preparing for imminent danger, compromises the ability to make informed decisions and enact the proper emergency preparedness operations.
Knowledge Management (KM) applied to the preparedness, response and recovery mission of First Responders will enable the first responder organizations to arrive at the scene in a timelier manner, be equipped with the right knowledge of the situation and have the right tools and technology to execute their job, resulting in saving lives. In many urban areas of the country, when a first responder team is dispatched they often do not arrive in a timely manner, are not fully aware of the situation and are not fully equipped to handle the situation. Applying KM to disaster preparedness, response and recovery will save lives not only in the communities’ first responders serve but also within the first responder teams themselves resulting in a safer, fully knowledgeable team responding to a crisis event.
With the current crisis event happening in Hawaii, and the recent events in Haiti having an Intelligent National Alert System is critical! Let me know your thoughts, I look forward to your comments.