Technology has become key to disaster management and disaster risk reduction. The team of the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) has been investigating on the use of technology by citizens and disaster managers in disaster situations and the cultural factors related to the technology adoption and use. Their most recent work is focused on best practices to improve disaster risk reduction technological tools, particularly used in the events of earthquakes, and support disaster management that is culturally aware.
After an earthquake, quickly accessing information is necessary for citizens. The EMSC has developed a mobile application, LastQuake, as part of their earthquake rapid detection and information system. LastQuake provides users with timely information about felt earthquakes around the world and allows eyewitnesses to share their experience. As such it is useful for the scientific community (looking for situation awareness and effects) but also for citizens and disaster managers.
The EMSC has also developed post-earthquake safety tips which were identified through a benchmark of commonly agreed upon safety rules and presented in a visual way thanks to cartoons. Another best practice tested by the EMSC is a safety check feature of LastQuake which was designed after a study of pre-existing similar tools such as Facebook’s safety check and Google’s Person Finder. The goal was to develop a complementary tool to them, as not all citizens use social media and instead focus on text messaging of SMS. In result, safety checks have been triggered for 19 earthquakes during the four-month testing period. 141 users took advantage of this feature to send SMS to their relatives to reassure them.
Other findings shared by the EMSC Team could be found in the summaries of their deliverables published here.
Follow CARISMAND News and Views section for updates on the team’s work progress.