LastQuake app user feedback concerning “Dos and don’ts” after an earthquake


After the Nepal earthquake in 2015, the EMSC survey showed that the most common request from users was to be provided with “Dos and don’ts” (44%), so that they would know how to act after an earthquake. This advice does not cover the duration of the shaking itself. Indeed, LastQuake is mostly used right after an earthquake. EMSC identified and elaborated universal and simple messages about what behaviour to adopt or avoid after an earthquake. Five general guidelines were selected: exiting buildings, staying far from buildings, calling emergency services only for serious injuries, using text messages rather than phone calls to contact relatives, and staying informed. In case of disaster, language-independent communication helps to improve the understanding of key messages and reduce the ambiguity of messages (especially those linked to semantic interpretation) (Fitrianie and Rothkrantz, 2007). Moreover, it has been found that not all languages use the same space frame. For instance, words like “up”, “across” or “between” don’t always have equivalents in Himalayan languages. It has also been found that an Australian Aboriginal language does not use any egocentric coordinates (such as “on the left”), but only cardinal directions (“to the East” for instance) (Deutscher, 2010). Because language and geo-spatial perception are strongly linked, this makes safety instructions difficult to translate (Margetta and Fitzgerald, 2016). Moreover, with between 100 and 115 distinct languages spoken within Nepal's borders alone, it would be impossible for EMSC to translate a document into so many languages. Using visual communication is thus a good alternative to textual communication. Cartoons have been found to be an efficient way to communicate in the aftermath of a disaster (Chae et al., 2014) and to be understood in a quite universal way. Thus, EMSC worked with a graphic designer to elaborate visual safety tips. To ensure that they could be understood and used all over the world, special attention was paid to use of colours, symbols and displayability on small screens. EMSC launched an online survey to evaluate the understanding of the visual safety tips. This was also an opportunity to check whether some differences in the images’ interpretation could be linked to culture. Results led to minor changes before the final version, presented in D3.3a. In order to reach higher standards in cultural diversity, one character was redesigned (in the last version of the app) as a non-white person, which ease the identification process (Figure 7). However, in drawings as small as these it is complex (and even utopian) to represent a wide variety of people. Figure 7. EMSC post-earthquake safety tips - Final version The five safety tips are displayed one by one, with the associated do and don’t on the screen, (Figure 8) and the user can swap the screen to see another safety tip. Figure 8. Screenshot of Safety tips as displayed in LastQuake For preparedness purposes and in order to gain visibility, the safety tips are permanently available for consultation through the LastQuake main menu. Additionally, when a significant earthquake strikes, users in the area are advised to look at the safety tips in the safety notification that is sent to them to inform them about the quake. Following preliminary results in D3.3a, safety tips are also automatically shared on the EMSC’s Twitter account in order to circulate more widely the good behaviours to enact after an earthquake. Due to limits in the safety tips monitoring system, EMSC decided to internalise it since February 2017. Doing so enabled to get a long term understanding of how the safety tips are consulted. Data about how the user arrived on the safety tips page are also be collected. The impact of safety notifications is thus being measured, as well as volunteer exploration of the app’s features.

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