Sunday, September 14, 2008

The use of the worldwide web in emergency communications

My son, Peter, a sophomore at Lamar University, was evacuated from Beaumont following Hurricane Ike. Last night, I got a call from him that they would be coming home.

As a father, I went to the Lamar University web site to get an update on where and when my wife could get him. Instead, I noted a short commmunique telling me that the school is assessing the damage.

While I understand that the goal of the university is to focus on rebuilding, I find it disconcerting that the university is overlooking the use of a web site to communicate with the 400 parents of the students who were transported to Nachogdoches, Texas to wait out Ike.

This is the second time that Pete has had to evacuate his home for hurricanes this year. The information given for the first storm was limited.

With the social media and Internet communication options available today, it's time for the folks at Lamar and other universities to review their parent communication plan for evacuation. The use of Twitter, a blog and the Internet are all excellent tools for colleges to communicate to parents.

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