I have been seeing notifications all over media about the upcoming Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System on Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 PM EST. The FEMA website states that the test will be broadcasted on TV and radio stations. Does anyone know if there are social media aspects included in the EAS and how accessible these alerts are to people with disabilities?
This summer I was sitting in the hospital in Michigan after the birth of my daughter and suddenly the TV began to shake. We wondered if we just imagined it, if there was large construction equipment nearby, or if we had just experienced an earthquake. Where did we look for information? Why by checking Facebook on our smart phone of course. Did anyone else feel anything? Answers and other posts came in from across the country. Within minutes we found out there was a large earthquake in Virginia, and we were feeling the very edges of the shockwave.
Given the prevalence of social media and handheld personal devices like smart phones, how can social media be used to enhance emergency alerts? Is a top down approach with the government pushing out information the best way or should it be more organic and driven by individuals sharing their experiences and knowledge? And how accessible to people with disabilities or limited technical resources are all these alerts? Is anyone collecting data on these questions?
This is another post from the Accessibility Forum 2.0 blog.