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Interactive Voice is Useful and Easy-to-use in managing Crises

We conducted controlled-exercises, with Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya (Sarvodaya) Hazard Information Hub (HIH) Operators and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members. The HIH data center is in Moratuwa. The study using interactive voice, field tested the technology in  Colombo, Matara, Nuwara-eliya, and Ratnapura Districts. Figure to the left shows an average ease-of-use of 3.95 and usefulness of 4.12. On a, Technology Acceptance Model, evaluation scale of 1 to 5. Thus, an ~4.00 means the users “agree” that the system is useful and easy.

All things considered, their attitude towards using Freedom Fone (FF) for receiving alerts and sending situational reports are quite-good, quite-beneficial, quite-wise and quite-positive. We concatenated all the reasons the CERT had provided to create a wordle image on to the right. At a glance it reads like “FF system exchange information quickly … giving working people instructions … activities and tasks accurately”

Accountability is an important aspect Sarvodaya emergency coordinators keep stressing on; especially when communicating situation reports. The present day methods are informal and ad-hoc. They say “with the electronic voice recording system, we have a record telling our story, which otherwise, could go unheard and then turns in to a finger-pointing game.” They spent ~02:30 and ~3:00 on average to navigate through the interactive voice menus and to receive an alert or record a report, respectively.

This was their first exercise after the training. The blue shaded area represents those users who completed their alerting (42%) or reporting (43%) interactive voice procedures in a single attempt. The red shaded area depict those who made two attempts (Alerting= 37% and SitRep=46%). Impatience to hear the instructions and pressing the wrong menu option was the main obstacle.

The project introduced system makes use of the Freedom Fone interactive voice interface for activating Sarvodaya first responders and receiving field observation reports from the CERT members. The disaster information is managed with the Sahana Disaster Management System. Both applications: Sahana-Agasti Common Alerting Protocol enabled messaging module and the Sahana-Eden Situational Reporting enabled incident management module. They build on the Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) interoperable content standards.

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