Archives for December 2012

Merry Christmas and Thank You!

The gift that keeps on giving. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The gift that keeps on giving… Image via Wikimedia Commons

We would like to wish our global Emergency 2.0 Wiki community a safe and peaceful Christmas and say a big Thank You!

Thank you everyone for your contribution this year to our vision to help build resilient communities empowered with the knowledge to use social media in emergency communications.

We chose this picture as the gift represents the Emergency 2.0 Wiki as a ‘gift that keep on giving to help save lives’ and the stars represent our global community who have contributed in so many ways:

Wiki Contributors

Thank you to all who posted content on the Wiki, adding to this free global resource.

Reference Group members

Thank you to our Reference Group members leading and overseeing the content development of key areas of the Wiki.

Sharing news, links and tips

Thank you to those who tweeted your tips to @emergency20wiki and shared links and news via Twitter and with our Emergency 2.0 LinkedIn Group.

Sharing our message

Thank you to all of you around the the world who helped raise awareness of the Wiki and shared our messages by retweeting our tweets, sharing our blog posts, blogging about us and linking to us.

Our alliance partners

Thank you to our alliance partners Business Continuity Institute of Australasia (BCI), Risk Management Institution of Australasia (RMIA), and Partnerships Toward Safer Communities (PTSC-Online).

Our pro bono partners

Thank you to our pro bono partners who freely provide their services to the Wiki: auditors Bentleys, web host Mammoth Media, lawyers NFP Lawyers and Hynes Lawyers and WordPress Site designer, Joanna Lane (currently redeveloping our site).

Board members

Thank you to our board members Denver Gibson, Dave Eade and Dr Joanne Redburn who have volunteered their time to oversee the direction of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki. We bid farewell to Dave Eade who recently resigned due to commitments with Gov2Qld (the community of practice that initiated the Wiki) and welcome Dr Joanne Redburn of NFP Lawyers (also a probono partner).

We wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year and look forward to working with you in 2013 in building Emergency 2.0 Ready communities.

With warmest wishes and lots of cheer,

Eileen Culleton, Founder and CEO (voluntary)

Wiki launches Accessibility Toolkit to empower people with disabilities to use social media in emergencies

Image of Richard Corby

Accessibility Reference Group Leader,
Richard Corby

On behalf of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Reference Group, I’m really excited to announce the launch of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit to help people with disabilities to use social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

The online toolkit provides tips, resources and apps to help people with a disability to overcome accessibility challenges of social media. The kit also includes guidelines to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible.

Graphic of disability symbols showing a person in a wheelchair, a profile of a head showing the brain inside, hands doing sign language and a person walking with a caneThe reason for developing the kit is that we’ve witnessed from recent disasters that social media can save lives, but people with disabilities often have difficulty accessing important messages because the social media platforms themselves are inaccessible.

It’s vitally important that people with disabilities, who are the most vulnerable in our communities during emergencies, are empowered to access instant, lifesaving messages through social media and the accessibility toolkit enables this.

For example, the main Twitter website can’t be easily read with a screen reader, a program that reads out information on a screen for people who are blind. In the kit we point users to alternative sites such as Easy Chirp to read tweets. As people tweet in real time, an accessible app such as this can provide immediate notification of when a fire starts or when flash floods hit a town.

Image of the engage app logo on the screens of a Blackberry, iPhone and Android phone

Engage app for deaf and hearing impaired that delivers emergency alerts

Accessibility resources on the wiki include:

  • Tips and guides for people with disabilities on how to access social media
  • Emergency smartphone apps for people with a disability
  • Apps and assistive technologies to access social media
  • Emergency Preparedness YouTube videos that are either captioned or use sign language for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Practical guidelines to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible

In a whole of community approach, the Accessibility Reference Group crowdsourced the content globally using social media. The group consist of professionals drawn from the emergency, government, NGO and business sectors in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. They are:

  • Australia – Richard Corby, Director at Webbism and Leader of the Reference Group
  • Australia – Scott Hollier, Manager, Major Projects & Western Australia Manager for Media Access Australia and W3C Advisory Committee representative
  • USA – Kim Stephens, Senior Associate at Abt Associates and author of the idisaster2.0 blog
  • USA – Stephanie Jo Kent, Working Group on Emergency Interpreting at Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. and Founder, Learning Labs for Resiliency (Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
  • USA – Brigitta Norton, Web Portal Business Consultant, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Government of the District of Columbia
  • NZ – Caroline Milligan, Consultant SMEM NZ and Team leader, NZ VOST – Virtual Operations Support Team (New Zealand)

Image of YouTube site with video of man signingThe reference group’s aim is to build the resilience of people with disabilities through encouraging the use of social media in emergency preparation, response and recovery.

Check out the Accessibility Toolkit and share it with others. If you know of a resource we should add, please let us know. Also, we’d love to have your feedback on the kit.

We’re looking to expand the group to include representation from each continent, so if you are from Europe, Asia, South America or Africa and you are working in the social media/accessibility field, please email me at richard@webbism.com.