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International emergency preparedness

If your organization operates around the world, you know that emergencies happen every place under the sun. There are so many barriers to cross cultural communication – language concerns, time zones, interpretation of your messages, not to mention that communication is difficult even if you are in the same country! Some pointers on how to handle this kind of situation may seem intuitive but we think they bear repeating:

1. Make sure you are sending out accurate information. Correcting information gets exponentially difficult across multiple languages and time zones.

2. How fast can your message be initiated? How fast is the situation changing? Do you need to incorporate translation time in your ability to respond quickly?

3. Is your communication consistent? Messages that change instructions won’t be trusted by those who need to abide by them.

4. Is your recipients’ contact information organized properly? If your messages have specific instruction for particular locations, then groups and filters help get the right message to the right people.

5. Conduct regular tests to ensure all of the above. We all know that testing helps ensure that you’re not finding out what’s wrong during an emergency.

Do you have any other pointers for successful international emergency preparation?

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