Blog 3: FEMA Press Conference in Joplin
FEMA’s public information systems training does fit with our class understanding of disaster communication. As an example, In a press conference in Joplin, Missouri on May, 24, 2011, about 48 hours after the tornado hit Joplin, the deputy director of FEMA from Washington DC spoke to the media about plans for helping the people affected by the tornado as well as the city of Joplin. This included information about applying for assistance, how to find family members and friends, and where to find housing and food. The deputy director was working with the Joplin city manager and emergency personnel. He didn’t give too much information to confuse people since this was the first FEMA communication with the people of Joplin. He gave phone numbers and websites where people could get help; an assistant handed out all of that information on a flyer to everyone who attended the press conference. The deputy director gave basic information and reassured people who FEMA would be there for as long as it takes to restore order back to Joplin.
Additional information did come from this last FEMA training. The deputy director gave basic information in the press conference that was needed immediately and described how the chain of command would be used to help in this disaster with the coordination being done by FEMA using a chain of command.