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Blog 2: Why communication is so important at crisis?

The role of communication in Incident Command System is essential. If we opt out the communication part at the ICS, I think we miss most important part of it.

At the crisis, proper communication could grant another opportunity to the government, or private organization getting through crisis. That means, without proper and clear communication at the crisis, they may lost everything including damages from crises. And one recent example of the government that failed terribly on proper communication at crisis was Japanese. As you know, I am talking about Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. During this crisis, Japan government failed to have clear, deliberate, easy, honest, prompt communication and actions which ICS strongly required.

No More Nuclear Power Plant, and government?

And the result? NPR wrote, “Japanese lose faith in government.” and Japanese prime disaster had to resign.

In the NPR article, a reporter note that, “Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces a no-confidence motion in parliament over his handling of the aftermath of Japan’s huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. Distrust of the government is mounting, especially in areas close to the stricken nuclear plant. Anger has focused on the hot-button issue of children’s safety.” The failure of proper communication at the crisis could cause distrust of government even in Japan where people had strong faith and belief in that contrast to that of Americans.

In the ICS manual, crisis require government need to have simple and clear command system, put qualified worker at the proper places, use simple and common language. However, in Fukushima case, Japanese government failed miserably in so many things especially at communication. Even inside of the government, they sent mixed signal of evaluating the magnitude of crises, and different rates of radiation to public, which turned out to be lie. In addition, Tokyo electronic, which is a private company that was charge of Fukushima power plant didn’t share honest information with government and didn’t share unified command system either. Unified command system is one of the essential part of ICS to handle crisis.

South Korea also had same problem about two months ago, when Seoul, which is the capital of South Korea was flooded due to extremely heavy raining. At this time, Korea government failed to have swift communication with public. Because, there is no unified command system and lack of resources, government failed to send clear direction to citizens how should they respond. Lee Myung Back, the president of South Korea said, “People at the company should leave the office early.” after more than 32 people were died because of flood and landslide.

Why communication is so important at crisis? Because most of crises, people lost their reason and failed to have reasonable responses. Somebody need to direct them, somebody should maintain their reason to help people. The ICS is such a good tool to help people sustaining their reason while they are in crisis. Envy you guys to have this.

  1. September 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    What do you mean in the first paragraph of your post when you say, “If we opt out the communication part at the ICS, I think we miss most important part of it?” How can we “opt out” of communication in ICS? Is communication optional in this model?

    With regard to the rest of your post, do you think a system like ICS will prevent the sort of problems that Japan experienced following Fukushima? Or do you think such problems could still occur even with ICS?

    Lastly, moving forward work on getting your posts as concise and clear as possible. You have a lot of text in this post, which is fine, but just make sure all of the text you include is clear and part of a focused argument.

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