Disaster response learning

Kerrie Christian recently posted a fantastically detailed and passionate post about her experiences in disaster management on actKM.

One of the things that struck me is that her experiences and the stories she was told serve as a really important mental reinforcement. By having a highly emotive reminder on why these lessons matter, Kerrie was more likely to remember them.

There was a great article posted recently by Jim Macdonald about the potentially devastating impacts of not immunizing:

Essentially, it details a lot of horror stories about what happened to kids (and adults) in the old days when immunization wasn't routine. He uses these stories as a way to reinforce the importance of precautionary actions.

Similarly, in the same article Jim refers to how the US Navy makes available a highly graphic "Explosives Safety Accidents and Lessons Learned" manual to show the devastating effects of improperly handling ordnance. Navy gunnery officers have to to re-read this manual once per year.

From a KM perspective, it appears that linking stories to actionable lessons is a supremely important tool for us to learn to use properly, particularly in disaster situations.

For example, how do we effectively capture and disseminate these stories about local natural hazards so that town planners coming in from outside can internalize the importance of mitigating the risk?

And how can we effectively share these stories to learn lessons for similar geographic hazards (ie flood-prone, bushfire-prone and subcategories of each) at all levels of the disaster response hierarchy?

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