Mobile Technology Can Help Rescuers

August 9, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. mobile (adj.) [moh-buhl] – can be readily moved from one place to another
Example: Bringing a mobile phone everywhere is important.

2. terrorist (n.) [ter-er-ist] – a person, usually a member of a group, who uses violence to achieve some goal (usually political in nature)
Example: The suspected terrorists were questioned by the authority.  
3. monitor (v.) [mon-i-ter] – to observe or watch closely
Example: Weather stations monitor if the storm will arrive today.

4. deploy (v.) [dih-ploi– to send out a group of people who are ready to do a job
Example: The rescuers deployed volunteers in the area affected by the disaster.

5. hazard (n.) [haz-erd] – a danger or a risk
Example: Eating unhealthy food is a hazard to your health.

Read the text below.

Mobile technology such as text messaging may save lives during disasters but only if people are precise about the information they share, explains Russ Johnson, an expert in public safety and security.

In recent emergencies such as natural disasters and even terrorist attacks, people in affected areas post information on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. People also make use of SMS text messaging when data connections like telephone lines go down.

By monitoring this information, emergency response teams are able to efficiently deploy rescue and relief operations. They can also locate affected areas and know what to expect on their way there. Johnson adds that GPS technology solves the problem of finding specific locations when street signs or landmarks are damaged by a huge disaster.

Information provided by people near the affected areas also help rescuers avoid hazards that may be encountered. In addition, information sharing also makes it easier to assess the damage and to determine problems already fixed such as repaired power lines or supplies delivered.

However, not all information people share is useful, explains Johnson. Unreliable information can distract rescuers from saving lives and providing aid.

In sending efficient information, Johnson suggests to keep text messages or Twitter posts short, clear and specific. People should also provide direct details about the location and aid they need.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         What do you think about the emergency response operations in your country?
·         How do you prepare in case of emergencies?

Discussion B

·         What information do you usually post online?
·         What do you think should be the limitations when sharing information online?

August 9, 2011