Getting ready for the next emergency with a “News Hose”

Getting ready for the next emergency with a “News Hose”: In Nashville, this first weekend of October is one of those stunningly beautiful days that makes this month in this place my favorite. I was going to attend the Highlands games, but my wife had other plans and, well, I’ve not been married 30 years for nothing. It’s such a peaceful day, I guess it’s strange to be blogging about what happens when a tragedy hits a community. Something like the April friday afternoon six months ago when a tornado hit one of Nashville’s suburbs. One of the most moving stories that came from that killer storm is being retold tomorrow night on the ABC program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It recounts the story of firefighter Jerrod and his heroic wife, Amy Hawkins and their family. Those of us in Middle Tennessee who have followed this amazing story of a mother who was paralyzed when saving the lives of her children while the tornado destroyed their home. It’s an amazing story of how thousands of neighbors — from all over a region — responded to Amy’s story. I’ve never seen Extreme Makeover, but I’ve set my DVR to record it tomorrow.

I also thought back to last April’s tornado when I read Doc Searl’s idea that he shared today for one way to distribute public safety information, news and citizen’s reports when the next emergency occurs in a local area: something that is especially needed with the decline in local news organizations. A need I’ve blogged about, but something Doc frames in a new and simple way with a very solid suggestion.

Doc’s idea is for a River of News approach for aggregating all sources of news and information focused on the emergency: a “Hose of News” he calls it. His description of it may not be entirely clear if you don’t know what “tagging” and RSS feeds are, however, it is a simple, brilliant idea that should be adapted by schools and communities and universities and businesses: A blog-aggregating, RSS feed that can be created far in advance of the next emergency and, as Doc says, be “the online equivalent of those ‘In case of fire, break glass’ things they have in the hallways of schools and hospitals. It wouldn’t take much.”

In the coming days, I’ll be blogging — and doing — more on this topic.

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