"21st Century Disaster Tips You Won't Hear From Officials" to Air on YouTube

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A hurricane or tornado strikes and you can't get Internet access. How can you still network with neighbors and share advice? How can you avoid the problems so many Katrina evacuees suffered when their medical records were destroyed? Innovative answers to these and many other emergency communication needs are found in a new series of public service announcements on YouTube, "21st-century disaster tips you won't hear from officials" (http://www.youtube.com/WDavidStephenson).

A hurricane or tornado strikes and you can't get Internet access. How can you still network with neighbors and share advice? How can you avoid the problems so many Katrina evacuees suffered when their medical records were destroyed?

Innovative answers to these and many other emergency communication needs are found in a new series of public service announcements on YouTube, "21st-century disaster tips you won't hear from officials".

Homeland security and emergency management strategist W. David Stephenson, of Stephenson Strategies (Medfield, MA) created and narrates the tips, adapted from a feature on his popular blog, "Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al." Stephenson said, "Mobile personal communication devices and applications we use every day have transformed our lives, and we'd use them in a disaster without thinking. These tips will make sure we use technology productively, in ways that contribute to solutions and information sharing, rather than making bad situations worse."

The tips detail creative ways that mobile personal communication devices people use daily, from cameraphones to WiFi laptops, combined with Web 2.0 applications, such as wikis or cell phone services for social networks such as Twitter, can be adapted instantly in a disaster to help neighbors and families share information and decide jointly how to respond. In some cases (especially with camera- or video-phones) individuals who know what kind of information can be valuable can also give officials crucial information about fast-changing situations. The first tips in the series cover how to:
*form instant community networks using free downloadable software
*use wikis so anyone can quickly and easily share disaster response information.

Future tips will include how to:
*download electronic medical records to a thumbdrive on your keychain
*provide valuable information to authorities via your cameraphone
*use the social application Twitter to instantly share information with your friends and relatives
*use simple walkie talkies to form neighborhood networks when all other communication devices fail.

Tom Simpson of Strategic Solutions NW, LLC, and former emergency manager for Multnomah County Oregon, said "Stephenson is using current technology to get through a timeless message: we can't get stuck on the old paradigm of writing a plan, sticking it on a shelf and it will always be good. It can't be good, because the world is changing. The response is changing in terms of how our population engages with each other and with first responders, and our first responders need to do that."

The tips are an integral part of Stephenson's "networked homeland security" strategy services that make the public full partners in anti-terror and disaster preparation and response by creative use of personal communication devices.

Medfield Community Cable Access (http://www.medfield.tv -- Jason Daniels, executive producer) pro­duced the public service announcements in recognition that embracing emerging technologies strengthen local cable access' community communication potential.

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