Information and communication technology: Connecting the public and first responders during disasters


  • Michelle M. Buzzelli, MS, CHES
  • Paula Morgan, BA
  • Alexander G. Muschek, BA
  • Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, BVSc, MSc, MPH, MRCVS



ICT, disaster preparedness, emergency management, social media


Lack of success in disaster recovery occurs for many reasons, with one predominant catalyst for catastrophic failure being flawed and inefficient communication systems. Increased occurrences of devastating environmental hazards and human-caused disasters will continue to promulgate throughout the United States and around the globe as a result of the continuous intensive urbanization forcing human population into more concentrated and interconnected societies. With the rapid evolutions in technology and the advent of Information and communication technology (ICT) interfaces such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Myspace, and Smartphone technology, communication is no longer a unidirectional source of information traveling from the newsroom to the public. In the event of a disaster, time critical information can be exchanged to and from any person or organization simultaneously with the capability to receive feedback. A literature review of current information regarding the use of ICT as information infrastructures in disaster management during human-caused and natural disasters will be conducted. This article asserts that the integrated use of ICTs as multidirectional information sharing tools throughout the disaster cycle will increase a community's resiliency and supplement the capabilities of first responders and emergency management officials by providing real-time updates and information needed to assist and recover from a disaster.

Author Biographies

Michelle M. Buzzelli, MS, CHES

Student for Master of Professional Studies, Homeland Security, Public Health Preparedness, The Pennsylvania State University, Parkville, Maryland.

Paula Morgan, BA

Student for Master of Professional Studies, Homeland Security, Public Health Preparedness, The Pennsylvania State University, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Alexander G. Muschek, BA

Student for Master of Professional Studies, Homeland Security, Public Health Preparedness, The Pennsylvania State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, BVSc, MSc, MPH, MRCVS

Assistant Professor and Course Instructor for Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Terrorist Emergencies, Department of Public Health Science, Hershey College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, Washington, DC


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