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Emergency preparedness: Using the Internet to educate the public

Kelly L. Brown, PhD, Christina Scheungrab, BS


This research examines the use of the Internet to educate the public on emergency management and homeland security issues. Despite the fact that disasters, when they occur, happen at the local level and directly impact the general public, the public is conspicuously absent from emergency management planning and training activities at all levels. This is true despite research which suggests that the public, given accurate and relevant information, can respond well to disasters. Educating the public on possible disasters, response scenarios, and other key emergency management issues is a critical first step to engaging the public in emergency management. The current research investigates the use of one means of educating the public, the Internet, on emergency management and homeland security issues. Content analysis of the 50 largest cities in one Midwestern state was conducted to determine the following: if the Internet is used to educate the public, the types of homeland security and emergency management information available to the public on city web sites, and how difficult the existing information is to access. Results show that few cities are using the Internet as a means of educating the public on emergency management issues. Future research should investigate other means by which the general public should be educated and engaged in emergency management and how the public is using the emergency management information available to them.


public education, Internet use, emergency management and the public

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