Archives for August 2011

Brisbane City Council’s social media use during the floods of January 2011

Brisbane City Council Floods House Image

Flood affected house in Brisbane - Brisbane City Council

The flood events in Queensland in January 2011 continue to haunt many individuals throughout the state. With record-breaking flood levels in many areas, the City of Brisbane prepared itself for what some feared may be flooding worse than the infamous 1974 floods which engulfed the city. Brisbane City Council knew that they needed to quickly and efficiently communicate with as many residents as possible, so alongside door-knocking, media releases, radio announcements and more, they turned to social media to help disseminate information quickly and accurately.

The response to Council’s social media use during the flood has been overwhelmingly positive and the Independent Review conducted into the flood earlier this year commended Council’s use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help spread urgent information to the community. As Council’s social media officer, it has been extremely satisfying to know that we used social media in the floods in such a widely acclaimed way. More importantly however, it was most satisfying to see the impact it had on individual lives, as well as the wider community. This case study highlights the way that we handled our social media in a crisis and the impact it had on helping to clean up Brisbane after the floods.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki will add this case study to the to the resources section and ensure that we incorporate the learnings into the development of the guidelines.  We are also keen to crowdsource case studies on how social media was used during the Christchurch Earthquake, the Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster and the recent US Tornados. Please contact us if you can assist.

Maturing social technologies becoming increasingly important

Evacuating Rosalie

Evacuating Rosalie during the 2011 Brisbane floods

Julian O’Shea is a humanitarian engineer who coordinates research programs for Engineers Without Borders.

He writes that “The increasing frequency and scale of natural disasters make the need for proper responses critical. Information is at the core of effective decision making for emergency services and for people directly impacted by natural disasters.”

“Each time we face nature’s fury, these maturing technologies will function as increasingly-important tools.”

In an article for ABC Technology, Julian summarises a lot of the ways social technologies were used during the disasters earlier this year.

More at “Technology responds when disaster strikes

QPS publishes case study of its social media disaster response

Queensland Police Service Disaster Management and Social Media - a case study

The Queensland Police Service (QPS), recognised widely as world leaders in the use of social media in disasters, has published a case study documenting how they used social media during the Queensland Floods and Tropical Cyclone Yasi in late 2010 and early 2011.

This case study powerfully documents the onset of the disasters and the QPS Media and Public Affairs Branch approach and response and the benefits to those impacted:

“People stranded by the side of the road, or in their homes isolated by floodwaters and without electricity, people hunkered down in their bathrooms under mattresses as cyclones passed over their houses, members of the deaf communities, hearing impaired and people interstate or overseas wanting information on their loved ones could access detailed, up-to-the-moment information”.

As well as outlining the key benefits of using social media in a disaster, the case study also lists the lessons learned, the most poignant being:

“If you are not doing social media, do it now. If you wait until it is needed it will be too late”.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki will add this case study to the resources section and ensure that we incorporate the learnings into the development of the guidelines.  We are also keen to crowdsource case studies on how social media was used during the Christchurch Earthquake, the Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster and the recent US Tornados. Please contact us if you can assist.