Assignment 3 Identifying Myths
Competencies Addressed in This Assignment
Competency 1: Analyze the range of potential human dynamics in a disaster event.
Competency 4: Articulate the impact of cultural myths on disaster response and
Competency 5: Explain the impact of the media on public perception about
disaster relief efforts.
Competency 6: Communicate effectively with diverse populations.
As the unit readings have showed, myths regarding disaster events often are fueled by
images seen on media sources. It is not just enough that those employed in the emergency
management field know these myths; they must also be able to recognize them in a
working environment. Understanding that these myths persist can help you as an
emergency manager during all phases of the emergency management cycle.
For this assignment, you will be review the scenario presented in the Identifying Myths
media (given in the resources) and address the following:
Identify two behaviors or statements that can be classified as cultural myths.
Articulate the actual reality that makes these two behaviors or statements myths.
Analyze why it is important for emergency managers to recognize these two
Express how media has impacted the public perception regarding these two myths.
Your paper should meet the following requirements:
Written communication: Must be free of errors that detract from the overall
o Resources and citations: Format according to current APA style and formatting
o Length of paper: 3â€“4 typed, double-spaced pages, not including the title page or
the references page.
o References: A minimum of two references.
o Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
You are required to submit your paper to Turnitin. Once you review your results and
make any needed changes, submit your paper for grading.
Note: Your instructor may also use the Writing Feedback Tool to provide feedback on
your writing. In the tool, click the linked resources for helpful writing information.
Identifying Myths Scoring Guide.
APA Style and Format.
Capella Online Writing Center.
Community of Excellence.
Criminal Justice Undergraduate Library Research Guide.
Submit an Assignment.
Riverbend City: Identifying Myths
It’s evening in Riverbend City, where the rain has been falling hard for days. After a brief
respite earlier today, the people of Riverbend City relaxed a bit, thinking that the Brown
Trout River — which runs through the middle of the city — would stay within its banks.
But it’s still raining hard north of the city, and it looks like the river might flood after all.
Reverse 911 Call
Red Cross Shelter
The city begins responding to the flood.
7:42 p.m. - Director of Public Works Robin Gianni calls the police chief with some bad
Glen Edwards: Hey, Robin, how goes the battle?
Robin Gianni: Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ruin your day. Remember how we thought the
break in the weather would keep the water below flood stage?
Glen Edwards: I don’t like the sound of this...
Robin Gianni: Sorry, Glen. It’s heading up again. The gauges show that it’s not far from flood stage.
The rain in the north is even worse today, and that’s combining with our own. Perfect storm.
Glen Edwards: All right, I better get the emergency manager up to speed. So I assume we need to
put Ruby Lake on evacuate alert?
Robin Gianni: No, you better evacuate Ruby Lake right now. I don’t know how long we have, but it’s
not long. Plus, remember, the construction on the Clellen Bridge is going to slow down the exiting
traffic. And we don’t know how long either of the bridges is going to be accessible on the flooded
Glen Edwards: Okay, thanks for the heads up. I better get hold of the Emergency Manager!
7:45 p.m. - The chief calls Emergency Manager Jenny Cunningham.
Jenny Cunningham: Hey, Glen, what’s the story?
Glen Edwards: Jenny, we’ve got trouble. I just heard from Robin Gianni, and she’s projecting that
the river will reach flood stage within hours, or maybe less.
Jenny Cunningham: Oh, boy. So what does that mean? Do we need to put the whole riverfront
area on alert, on both sides?
Glen Edwards: No, they’re already on alert, right? Remember, the North Bank is higher, so it’s the
south side we need to worry about first, particularly Ruby Lake. The land slopes down from the bank
there, and then slopes back up south of the neighborhood. So Ruby Lake is going to get a lot of
water. We need to trigger the reverse 911 system and get the word out to Ruby Lake that they’ve got
Jenny Cunningham: All right, I’ll take care of the reverse 911 system, and brief the mayor. Do you
have personnel available to detach for evacuation duty?
Glen Edwards: Yep. I wanted to believe we were going to get lucky, but just in case, I planned for
the worst. Go ahead and send out the message, and I’ll start getting units over there right away.
7:50 p.m. - Jenny Cunningham calls Mayor Keith Bauer.
Keith Bauer: Jenny, what’s the latest?
Jenny Cunningham: Mr. Mayor, we’ve got a flood on our hands. Or we will, soon.
Keith Bauer: That break in the weather didn’t do us any good, I gather?
Jenny Cunningham: It did not. Glen’s sending units to Ruby Lake to help guide an evacuation.
Keith Bauer: Okay. Is the shelter set up? Anything I need to help out with there?
Jenny Cunningham: Not yet. We’re going to send them to Lindner Hills High School, and before I
initiate the reverse 911 call I’m going to activate the shelter management team. They’ve been ready
to go for two days.
Keith Bauer: Do we have enough capacity in that building?
Jenny Cunningham: It might be crowded. Most people have cars in that neighborhood, so we’re
expecting a lot of people. If I need to activate the second location, I’ll let you know.
Keith Bauer: How do we usually handle medical assistance?
Jenny Cunningham: That’s the fire department, so I’ll need to check with the chief and find out
whether he needs anything.
Keith Bauer: Okay. I better get ready to make a statement for the press. You’ll get in touch with the
governor’s office? We may need a disaster declaration, and we may need FEMA to get involved.
Jenny Cunningham: They’re my next call.
Keith Bauer: All right, let’s start the fun, then.
Jenny Cunningham: I wouldn’t call it that publicly, sir.
Keith Bauer: [chuckles] Thanks. I’ll remember that.
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Reverse 911 Call
As planned, the reverse 911 call goes out to warn people in affected areas that a flood
is imminent and evacuation is necessary.
Jenny Cunningham: This message is from Mayor Keith Bauer, police chief Glen Edwards, and fire
chief Chuck Bicking. The city’s Emergency Management Team has announced that dangerous
flooding is likely to occur soon on the south side of the river near the Ruby Lake neighborhood.
Residents in the following boundaries are asked to evacuate as soon as possible:
On the north: Shirley Chisholm Drive.
On the south: Basin Drive.
On the east: Ford Road.
On the west: 17th Street.
We are advising people in that area to take the following protective actions:
Leave as soon as possible.
Take the following items with you: special medications or dietary needs, personal items, infant
If you or someone in your household needs transportation help, call the Flood Emergency
Hotline at 555-1212.
Drive slowly and carefully, obeying all traffic laws and any officials directing you along
If you need a place to stay, a shelter is set up at Lindner Hills High School. Before leaving your
home or business, turn off all electrical appliances, including heating or air conditioner systems.
If you cannot evacuate in time, take shelter in your home. Bring pets inside. Close and lock all
outside doors and windows.
For further information, tune in to WHIL-FM.
If you see or have an emergency, please call 911.
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News broadcasts cover the flood.
8:15 p.m. - Breaking News: Flooding Imminent
Victoria Moran: Good evening, folks. We’re going to have to interrupt your regularly scheduled
programming, to alert you to some important news. Despite earlier projections that the danger of
flooding might be past, we’re getting reports from City Hall that that’s not the case. Gauges in the
river are showing that it’s near flood stage and rising pretty rapidly. So we’re going to see some
floodwaters pretty soon here. Let’s go live to the mayor’s office, where he’s about to make a
Keith Bauer: Good evening. I expect most people in the city are aware that the river that runs
through our fair city has been rising for a couple of days. Well, we’ve had a lot of people monitoring
the situation closely and they say it won’t be long before the waters overtop the South Bank and we
start having flooding on that side. I want to emphasize that not all of the city is affected yet. Although
we’re keeping an eye on it, the north side of the river is not considered to be in imminent danger. At
this time, we’re asking residents of the Ruby Lake neighborhood to evacuate their homes
immediately. I want to encourage those folks to do so in a calm, orderly fashion. We’ve got rescue
workers to help people get to the hospital if they need to, we’ve got law enforcement helping out, and
we’ve got a shelter established at Lindner Hills High School for those who need a place to go.
Victoria Moran: Okay, some big problems ahead for the city, it looks like. We’ve got the city’s
emergency manager on the line, and she’s going to talk to us about how the city is going to be
coping with the flood if it happens. This is Jenny Cunningham, Riverbend City Emergency Manager,
and she’s coordinating the effort to evacuate and keep everyone safe during what may be a long
night. Good to talk to you, Jenny.
Jenny Cunningham: Thanks for having me on, Victoria.
Victoria Moran: So what’s in store for Riverbend City?
Jenny Cunningham: Well, the north side of the river is relatively safe for now. That higher North
Bank is going to hold back those floodwaters for longer than the south side. On the South Bank, the
Ruby Lake neighborhood is definitely in harm’s way, as are a couple of other neighborhoods to a
lesser degree. It’s just unfortunate topography, because Ruby Lake is in almost a valley just south of
the river bank.
Victoria Moran: Isn’t that why, for a long time, that area wasn’t developed? In hindsight, it kind of
seems like poor policy to allow development there, doesn’t it?
Jenny Cunningham: Well, it’s been a long time since since this area was developed. Certainly
before my time.
Victoria Moran: Well, let’s focus on the current crisis. Is the city ready for this flood?
Jenny Cunningham: Absolutely. We’ve got a shelter ready within easy driving distance of the
neighborhood. If people want to evacuate, they can. We can’t force them to, and some people just
choose not to. But we’ve put everything in place to make it easy for them to do it.
Victoria Moran: This is a pretty significant evacuation, isn’t it? How do you expect it to go?
Jenny Cunningham: We’ve done our best to plan for every contingency here at the city. So if there
are problems, it’s likely to be the human element. [Gets a little flustered] All I mean is that, even if
folks in the neighborhood have trouble figuring out what to do, we’ve got plans for them to follow and
personnel on the ground to guide them through it.
Victoria Moran: All right, thank you, Jenny Cunningham, city emergency manager and a very busy
Jenny Cunningham: Thank you.
8:32 p.m. - Pundit Interview with Laurence Dylan, former public safety specialist
Victoria Moran: Now with me is Laurence Dylan, a retired public safety specialist, and he tells me
that it might be a rough night for Riverbend City. Laurence, thank you for joining us. Can you tell me
a little about what’s in store for all of us?
Laurence Dylan: Thank you, Victoria. The truth is it’s going to be a long night. Before I retired, I was
in various public safety positions for 30 years, and I saw my share of disasters. In a disaster, you
often have a lot of people displaced from their homes, and that’s a breeding ground for social
disorder. We can probably expect some looting or other bad behavior before this is over.
Victoria Moran: Looting? During a flood?
Laurence Dylan: That’s right, Victoria. People take advantage of social breakdown, and when the
lights go out or the police are too busy with other work, that’s when people get lawless.
Victoria Moran: That’s a pretty bleak picture. Don’t you think disasters can bring people together?
Laurence Dylan: Absolutely. The one thing about disasters is that they don’t discriminate. We’re all
equal in the eyes of the storm!
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Ruby Lake Neighborhood
The reverse 911 call has gone out to the Ruby Lake
neighborhood. While many of the residents have
left already, some are still around, talking about
Nestor Asencio: Hey, didn’t you guys hear? We’re supposed to be evacuating! What are you still
Maria Carpenter: I’m checking on a couple of people and then I’m out of here.
Eduardo Alvarez: I’m leaving as soon as I can get hold of my cousin. She moved and I don’t know
where, but I’d rather crash with her than go to the shelter.
Nestor Asencio: I’m not going anywhere. How am I supposed to get to work if I leave the
Maria Carpenter: I’m sure your boss would understand.
Nestor Asencio: Are you kidding? It’s a prison, not an accounting firm! A prison is a 24-7 operation.
If I don’t show up for my shift, they’re short-handed. Besides, they’ll fire you for just about anything!
There’s always someone who needs a job and will take less money than you were making.
Maria Carpenter: That doesn’t seem right.
Nestor Asencio: Nope. Nothing I can do about that, though. At least if I stay, I can still make it to
work. But if I go across town and they block the roads, I can kiss my job goodbye.
Eduardo Alvarez: Did Mrs. Mendez’s kids come to get her?
Maria Carpenter: You mean Pilar? I think so. She was going to go to the shelter too, but she was
worried about keeping her insulin refrigerated there.
Nestor Asencio: Don’t they take care of that kind of thing?
Maria Carpenter: Maybe, but if you get there and they can’t handle it, you’re up a creek!
Maria Carpenter: Bet they don’t have this problem at Lindner Hills!
Nestor Asencio: [laughing] That’s the truth. In fact, I heard they pulled the cops out of our
neighborhood to make sure there’s no looting in Lindner Hills!
Maria Carpenter: Well, I guess we’ll have to manage on our own, then.
Nestor Asencio: I’m going to swing by Nicole’s place to see if they need any help. See you after the
water goes down!
Nestor Asencio: Hey, Nicole, I was hoping I’d find you gone.
Nicole Wolff: I’m trying to get hold of an ambulance to come get Mrs. Mendez. Her kids aren’t here
yet and she’s having chest pains. It’s probably stress or maybe something diabetes-related, but
she’s really scared.
Nestor Asencio: Well, where’s the ambulance?
Nicole Wolff: I can’t even get through! 911 is just ringing and ringing!
Nestor Asencio: Well, let’s not wait for them to get their act together. Hugo!
Hugo Cabrera: What’s up?
Nestor Asencio: You’re on your way out, right?
Hugo Cabrera: Yep.
Nestor Asencio: Well, can you swing by and pick up Pilar Mendez? She needs a ride to the
hospital, and there’s no ambulance to get her there. If you can get her to the hospital, Nicole can call
or leave a note for her kids so they know where she is.
Hugo Cabrera: Okay, cool. Happy to. Does anybody else need a ride? I don’t want to leave
anybody stranded if I can help it.
Nicole Wolff: That’s a good point. Should we make a few calls around the neighborhood? That
reverse 911 call was only in English.
Hugo Cabrera: OMG, you’re right! [laughs in disbelief] What on earth were they thinking?
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Evacuated residents wait at the shelter.
9:32 p.m. - Breaking News: Flooding in Riverbend City
Victoria Moran: If you’re just joining us, we’ve covering the flood in Riverbend City. Parts of the city
have about four feet of water on the ground, particularly the Ruby Lake neighborhood just south of
the river bank. But the water isn’t the only problem this area faces.
Earlier, we heard from public safety expert Laurence Dylan, who explained that looting is a very likely
development. We’re following that as closely as we can safely. We don’t want to contribute to the
panic or put any of our reporters’ lives in danger.
As you’ll see from our live feed, there’s evidence of some looting in one of the businesses on 14th
Street. The window of the neighborhood bodega is broken out, and witnesses say that it’s probably
the work of looters. They were pretty worried about what might happen next, and they’re probably
not the only ones.
Nestor Asencio: What the…what is she talking about? I was there when that window got broken.
The firefighters were using the cherry-picker to get someone out of one of the apartments above the
shop and broke the window that way. “Probably the work of looters”? Nice. Who are these idiots and
why is the press taking them seriously?
9:47 p.m. - Breaking News: Flooding Leads to Trouble
David Julian: We’ve been reporting to you live from the Ruby Lake neighborhood, where the waters
are rising and the residents are fleeing. Sadly, although we hoped not to see this, so are first
responders. We’ve been unable to confirm movements by the city’s Emergency Management Team,
but the absence of police officers in our live feed suggests that some first responders are simply
leaving their posts. We hope to find out more for you, but for now, Ruby Lake seems to be on its
Nestor Asencio: This is so stupid! That cop outside the bodega told me they were pulling back from
the neighborhood because the neighborhood was empty, the water was getting too high for them to
move around in their current vehicles, and they needed to respond to some other situation. Is he
saying the cops just ran away? What IS he saying?
Eduardo Alvarez: Who knows! They just have to keep talking. They’ll say anything at this point. I’m
just glad it isn’t too crowded here. If I could have gotten hold of my cousin, I wouldn’t be here either!
Nestor Asencio: Right? It sounded like the politicians thought the whole neighborhood would be
Eduardo Alvarez: I don’t know if the cops have bailed, but the firefighters sure haven’t.
Nestor Asencio: No way. I talked to one of the firefighters at that transformer fire. He said he was
actually supposed to be off shift, but his house is in the neighborhood and there’s water up to the
second floor. So he just came back to work. Said he didn’t have anything better to do right now.
Eduardo Alvarez: Our station has such a great force! We should take up a collection for them when
we get back home.
Nestor Asencio: If we get back home. The way the TV people were talking, the whole neighborhood
is a mass of looting and people have nothing better to do than mill around and talk like idiots!
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The flood in Riverbend City is an unfolding disaster. But what people see and expect
varies, depending on how close or far away they are from the affected area. What gaps
do you see between what people see or expect, and what’s actually happening on the
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