#SMEM Directory

Guest Post by: Catherine Graham, Humanity Road

wiki20SMEMWe have published our Humanity Road USA #SMEM directory!  There are over 3,000 counties in the USA – Finding the right information fast in disaster is important.  Our mission at Humanity Road is to connect the public to information they need on how to survive, sustain and reunite.  In pursuit of that Humanity Road has been collating information on official social media emergency management accounts and using this list at the onset of disaster.

We are pleased to announce that in partnership with Emergency 2.0 Wiki and through the Humanitarian Toolbox initiative in a hackathon held this weekend in Austin, TX this information has now been published to a public directory with Emergency 2.0 Wiki.  This is the first step in creating the USA #SMEM directory and it is the largest directory of its kind for USA based social media accounts.  As social media emergency management accounts grow, so will this directory.

Humanity Road is committed to preparedness, response and process improvement in response to disaster.  It’s through process improvement that we gain headway in mitigating loss of life and property and help catalyze the recovery.  In transitioning this important directory to the public domain we also are launching an SMEM Directory forum for page administration roles for each state and USA territories.   The following pages have been published:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Districts & Territories:  American SamoaDistrict of Columbia, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Minor Outlying Islands, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

As you can see it was a large undertaking! We wish to thank all those volunteers who have spent many many hours collecting this data and to the development team who gave up their weekend to make this directory a reality.  We extend a special thank you to Katelyn Keegan who initiated this project, and to Robin Smith who truly helped make it a reality through her many hours of research and tenacity.

Humanitarian Toolbox logoA big thank you to @ClearMeasure  @jeffreypalermo  @mattsell  @phredAustin in Austin Texas for hosting the hackathon that helped make it a reality as well as @EileenCulleton with @Emergency20wiki and @TonySurma with the Humanitarian Toolbox team.  The Humanitarian Toolbox  http://www.htbox.org/ project is proving that when disaster strikes, code saves lives! The Humanitarian Toolbox is a sustained effort to leverage technology and skilled volunteer communities to solve the needs of response organizations and communities affected by natural disasters.  The creation of this directory is a good example of the benefits that can be achieved through such a valuable program.

It’s important to maintain and grow the directory as the field of Social Media in emergency response grows.   If you are interested in being listed as your state liaison for the #SMEM Directory sign up here http://bit.ly/SMEMDir

A huge thanks to the volunteer team at Humanity Road for your daily commitment to humanity!

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We’re crowdsourcing ideas for our Strategic Plan!

Flickr Lyn Friedman

Flickr Lyn Friedman

We’re crowdsourcing ideas for our Strategic Plan and we’d love to hear yours!

To coincide with our upcoming 2nd birthday on 8 December, we’ve released our Draft Strategic Plan and shared it as a Google Doc. To capture your ideas and feedback we’ve created a Google Doc Feedback Form.

We will publicly acknowledge all who participated when we publish the final strategic plan.

Flickr Randy Le'Moine

Flickr Randy Le’Moine

Our Vision

To help build resilient communities empowered with the knowledge to use social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

What we believe
Social media, disaster apps

Social media & disaster apps on cellphone

We believe that together we can help create a world where during emergencies and disasters, communities use social media to save their own lives and the lives of others.

  • Where emergency services use social media to issue alerts and warnings
  • Where emergency services engage with the community as partners
  • Where the community is prepared, including people with a disability
  • Where digital volunteers from across the globe provide ‘information aid’ during and after disasters
  • Where the community helps the community recover
  • Checkout our future scenarios for what this could look like in action.
Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community via TweepsMap

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community via TweepsMap

Who we are

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is a nonprofit driven entirely by volunteers. Our volunteers form a global, online, collaborative community of professionals and organisations drawn from emergency services, government, NGO’s, business, health, education and media, sharing their knowledge to help create resilient communities.

We utilise the Wiki, this Blog, Twitter, a LinkedIn Group, Google +, YouTube, Slideshare, Skype, Google+ Hangouts and Google Docs to communicate, collaborate, crowdsource and co-create.

emergency2.0wiki_logo_colour_lowres (2)The 4 key areas of focus for our Strategic Plan are:
  1. Become financially & operationally viable
  2. Increase participation & collaboration
  3. Increase reach
  4. Increase content
 Timeframe: Sunday 8 December (AEDT)

The Draft Strategic Plan is open for your ideas and feedback via the Feedback Form for two weeks. The deadline is Sunday 8 December (AEDT). Please share this post with people you believe could add value to this process.  It takes a global community to maintain the Emergency 2.0 Wiki, so we are looking forward to your ideas. Thank you in advance!

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Twitter mosaic

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Twitter mosaic

Other ways you can become involved

We thought now would also be a good time to invite you to become more involved. Our How to Help page outlines lots of options. Here are a few:

  • Join one of our Reference Groups to help lead the content development of the Wiki.
  • Join a Wiki Work Team to help drive key areas such as marketing and communications, education and training, library and research
  • Become a Pro bono partner. We are seeking pro bono partnerships for Accounting Services, Marketing and Communications and other services

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki community are an inspirational group of people helping create resilient communities across the globe. Many thanks to all of you and we look forward to your continued support for a successful year three!

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary)

Join us to highlight disability on International Day for Disaster Reduction #iddr

We invite you to join us in highlighting the issue of disability this International Day for Disaster Reduction (13 October) by participating in a Thunderclap and helping promote our Accessibility Toolkit. The focus of #idrr is on the one billion people around the world who live with some form of disability.

By joining the Thunderclap social media campaign you will be helping the UNISDR to amplify and promote IDDR on 13 October. By signing up with Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr you will be a part of spreading the word simultaneously across the globe!

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 caneAs part of  #iddr we will be promoting the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit and invite you to help spread the word about this lifesaving resource by sharing this post, re-tweeting our tweets, +1′ng our Google+ post and linking to the toolkit in your posts.

The Accessibility Toolkit helps people with disabilities to use social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. The 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.

This resource is vital because we’ve witnessed from recent disasters that while social media can save lives, 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.

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.

Accessibility Reference Group Leader, Charlie Carter

Accessibility Reference Group Leader Charlie Carter

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 charlie@webbism.com.

We’d love your feedback on the kit. If you know of a resource we should add, please let us know.

Many Thanks,

Charlie Carter, Wiki Accessibility Reference Group Leader

Twitter launches emergency alerts

TwitteralertsFema screenshotWe are excited to share the news that Twitter has launched “Twitter Alerts” to enable official agencies to issue emergency alerts during times of crisis.

Users who sign up for an agency’s Twitter alerts will receive emergency messages directly to their mobile phone via a text message, push notification or highlighted Tweet.

The ability to issue Twitter Alerts via this service is available free to local, national and international institutions that provide critical information to the general public such as:

  • Law enforcement and public safety agencies
  • Emergency management agencies
  • City and municipal governments as well as their agencies and representatives
  • County and regional agencies, providing services to cities and municipalities
  • And select state, federal and national agencies and NGOs.

Agencies need to first apply (and update their security) and once approved they will then have the Alerts feature displayed on their Twitter profile which followers can click to sign up as indicated below:

Twitteralertsfema

Agencies will also receive a custom url to promote to their constituents to signup eg https://twitter.com/fema/alerts. This is critical as followers will not automatically receive Twitter Alerts – they must sign up for the service. The agency will have the Alert function available to them when they are signed in to Twitter, which they can then activate in times of emergency for specific tweets. The service also operates from mobile devices.

So far participating agencies have signed up from the United States, Japan and Korea. Global nonprofits include the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and World Health Organization.

We have added this information to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki in our Tips for the Public and also our Guidelines for Emergency Agencies, Government, Community Agencies, Schools and Business section on Establishing Social Media Channels.

We  also plan to add the participating agencies to our Emergency 2.0 Wiki global directory and are calling for volunteers to help add the content and keep it updated. If you are interested in helping please contact us.

Please help spread the word about Twitter Alerts to accelerate global takeup of this vital lifesaving service.

Many thanks,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary)

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Imagine a world of resilient communities empowered to use social media in disasters #2030NOW

Image courtesy Emergency 2.0 Australia Project

Image courtesy Emergency 2.0 Australia Project

Right now a global conversation is taking place online via #2030NOW about what kind of world we want in 2030.

Instigated by the Social Good Summit (22-24 September) in New York, with meetups around the globe, leading experts, advocates and innovators are sharing their ideas on how social media and technology can address some of the world’s biggest challenges.

SocialGoodSummit_Logo_2013_bWe’re adding our voice to the discussion, sharing ideas on how we can all help build resilient communities empowered to use social media in disasters. As well as taking part in the Twitter conversation, we’ll also be highlighting our article published on Plus Social Good, a community linked to the Summit. Please see the excerpt below:

“Imagine a world where during a disaster everyone knows how to use social media to save their own lives and the lives of others.

Where the whole of the community: emergency services, government, NGOs, community groups, business, media and citizens use social media to inform, share and collaborate to face disaster.

Where emergency services utilise social media to instantly broadcast emergency warnings to the public. Where citizens have emergency apps on their mobile devices providing them with live alerts, information on how to prepare for disasters and maps of evacuation shelters. And, which empowers them to share disaster information from the scene using social media.

Where emergency services actively crowdsource localised information from citizens? Where emergency information, road closures, live photos and video are posted on crowdmaps by the whole of community.

Where digital volunteers locally and across the globe work around the clock to help emergency services monitor social media and respond in real time to calls for help.

Where in the recovery phase of a disaster, social media, mobile apps and crowdmaps are used to empower communities to directly help one another by donating and accessing relief supplies, accommodation and volunteer help.

We, the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community, believe this vision of resilient communities, empowered to use social media in disasters is possible and are actively working around the world to make this a reality. To help facilitate this, we created the Wiki, a world first free global resource for using social media in emergencies.” To read more please see Plus Social Good.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is looking forward to joining the #2030NOW discussion and sharing ideas on how we can all help build resilient communities empowered to use social media in disasters. We encourage you to add your voice!

Cheers,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (voluntary)

Related Articles:

 

Help shape public policy globally on using social media for disaster resilience

SocialGoodSummit_Logo_2013_bIt is exciting to see new technology and social media starting to become part of the public policy conversation around the globe as countries and governments look to how they can improve resilience to disasters. In this post we report on the US
Congressional Hearing on Emergency Management 2.0, Australia’s public policy conversation, the G8 Open Data Charter, the G-Everyone conversation and the 2013 Social Good Summit. It is our hope that we can learn from each other and join
together to help accelerate public policy globally on using social
media for disaster resilience.

US Government Congressional Hearing on Emergency Management 2.0

The United States Government recently took the policy conversation a giant leap forward by holding a Congressional Hearing entitled “Emergency MGMT 2.0: How @SocialMedia & New Tech are Transforming Preparedness, Response, & Recovery #Disasters #Part1 #Privatesector”.

The House of Representatives Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications held a hearing on 4th June to ask for input from the private sector. Google, The Internet Association, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and Palantir Technologies, were represented on the panel and submitted written testimonies.

The use of social media and new technologies in Hurricane Sandy was discussed as well as more recent disasters such as the Oklahoma Tornado. Key Learnings included:

  • People want to find critical information through familiar technology
  • Mobile technology is a game changer
  • The public want to be connected and involved
  • Crowdsourcing can enhance both quality and timeliness of critical information
  • The need for open data – emergency information should be available online in open formats and with open licences before a disaster
  • Deployable 3G/4G networks as well as mobile device charging stations should be a priority in the aftermath of a disaster

The video and written testimonies are available on the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security site. We have added this link to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki library under Public Policy Papers and Discussions.

Part 2 of the Subcommittee Hearing, asking for input from the government and NGO sector is planned for 9th July.

Social Media in Times of Crisis Forum – Australia

Australia’s public policy conversation was instigated in April by public think tank Eidos Institute, who brought together emergency management, government, nonprofit, business, research, political, policy and media leaders to share ideas in a bid to shape public policy on this important issue.  As featured in an earlier blog post, the Emergency 2.0 Wiki presented on how a whole of community approach to using social media in times of crisis increases its effectiveness.

We provided a local, national and global perspective on how a ‘whole of community approach’ was successfully applied, showcasing New York City’s social media response to Hurricane Sandy and drawing on examples from this year’s Queensland floods and Victoria bushfires.

Our key recommendations for a ‘whole of community’ approach to using social media in times of crisis were:

  1. Provide tools and the platforms to help the public help themselves, each other and emergency services and official agencies eg emergency apps, crowdmaps
  2. Educate the public on how to use social media to help themselves, each other and emergency services
  3. Engage in two way communication – ask the public to help
  4. Engage digital volunteers

You can find videos of the presentations and panel discussions at the Eidos Institute Vimeo channel. The conversation is continuing via the Eidos Institute LinkedIn Group ‘Social Media in Times of Crisis’, and a report will be released soon. We have added the Vimeo channel link to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki library.

G8 Open Data Charter
G8 Open Data Charter

G8 Open Data Charter

An exciting outcome of this year’s G8, the annual summit of the heads of government of the world’s eight largest economies (US, UK, Canada, Germany, Russia, France, Italy and Japan), on 18 June, was the G8 Open Data Charter. As was highlighted during the US Government Congressional Hearing on Emergency Management 2.0, open data plays a critical role in information dissemination in an emergency. Google Vice President of Technology for Social Impact, Matthew Stepka highlighted this in his written testimony:

“Information dissemination in an emergency depends on several factors: open and interoperable formats for emergency data, timely release of such data and location awareness. Without these, it is extremely difficult to get the right emergency information to the right people at the right time,” Mr Stepka said.

The G8 Open Data Charter outlines the following key principles for access to, and the release and re-use of, data made available by G8 governments:

  • Open Data by Default
  • Quality and Quantity
  • Useable by All
  • Releasing Data for Improved Governance
  • Releasing Data for Innovation

While some of these governments had already made commitments to open data (eg the US and the UK), the signing of the charter by the G8 sends a powerful global message. You can download the Open Data Charter on the Gov.UK site. We have also added this link to our library.

G-Everyone

G-Everyone3-07-2013 10-33-47 AMIn the leadup to the G8 Summit, G-everyone, a world first global online public conversation event was held on 10 June to discuss how technology, innovation and online communities can help build ‘open economies, open governments and open societies’ (the theme of G8).

An initiative of the partners of the Social Good Summit –  Mashable, 92nd Street Y, United Nations Foundation, Ericsson, U.N. Development Programme , Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with Ashoka, the digital #GEveryone conversation took place on Twitter, Google+ Hangouts and the Plus Social Good  site with key themes tabled to the G8 for consideration.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki participated in the Twitter conversation, highlighting the importance of online communities to disaster resilience and the importance of accessibility.

While the topic of community resilience didn’t make it onto the themes tabled to the G8 (it was a broad global agenda) we believe it was important that we joined the conversation.

Social Good Summit 2013

SocialGoodSummit_Logo_2013_bThe Social Good Summit 2013, a global conversation with leading experts, advocates and innovators about how social media and technology can help address some of the world’s biggest challenges, will be held on 22-24 September.

An initiative of Mashable, 92nd Street Y, United Nations Foundation, Ericsson, U.N. Development Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,the summit theme #2030NOW focuses on what kind of world we want in 2030. Everyone around the globe is invited to participate in the online conversation in the leadup via various social media channels including Twitter. As well as the keynote event in New York, people are also encouraged to organise Mashable Meetups to discuss what #2030NOW means to their specific communities and the world.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is looking forward to joining the global conversation and we encourage you to add your voice to the discussion on how we can help build resilient communities empowered with the knowledge to use social media in emergency communications. We also encourage you to join the Plus Social Good community and share your ideas there. You can learn more about getting involved on the Social Good Summit site.  We’ve also added this link to our Library.

We are keen to share updates on other public policy conversations going on around the globe in the area of social media, emergency management and community resilience and we invite you to share your news in the comments below. You are also welcome to join the Emergency 2.0 Wiki LinkedIn Group and use that forum to share news.

Cheers,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (voluntary)

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How a ‘whole of community’ approach to using social media in times of crisis increases its effectiveness

ncs_socialmedia_program_thumbnailv02Last week we presented at a national public policy forum on how to improve the use of social media in times of crisis in Australia. Social Media in Times of Crisis brought together emergency management, government, business, research, political, policy and media leaders to share ideas in a bid to shape public policy on this important issue.

Hosted by public policy think tank Eidos Institute, in partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), at the State Library in Brisbane, the conference showcased research from QUT and presentations from the Queensland Police Service Media Unit and the Department of Community Safety. Valuable ideas were shared and at once point the conference hashtag #SMTC13 even became a trending topic.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki presentation outlined how proactively involving the ‘whole of community’: government, business, NGOs, schools, hospitals, community groups, media and the public, in using social media in times of crisis can greatly increase its effectiveness.

We provided a local, national and global perspective on how a whole of community approach has been successfully applied, showcasing New York City’s social media response to Hurricane Sandy and drawing on examples from this year’s Queensland floods and Victoria bushfires.

We demonstrated how engaging with the community as ‘partners’ in the emergency response, utilising social media for two way communication, amplification, collaboration and integration can powerfully assist communities to better prepare for, respond to and recover from disaster.

Our key recommendations for a ‘whole of community’ approach to using social media in times of crisis were:

  1. Provide tools and the platforms to help the public help themselves, each other and emergency services and official agencies eg emergency apps, crowdmaps
  2. Educate the public on how to use social media to help themselves, each other and emergency services
  3. Engage in two way communication – ask the public to help
  4. Engage digital volunteers

 

We would like to hear your thoughts on our presentation and welcome your comments and input.  We look forward to participating in the ongoing public policy discussion on this critical topic and to sharing the link to the conference report with you in the near future.

Cheers,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (voluntary)

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Is your organisation Emergency 2.0 Resilient? #BCAW2013

Image courtesy Emergency 2.0 Australia Project

Image courtesy Emergency 2.0 Australia Project

In Business Continuity Awareness Week #BCAW2013, in this era of social media, it is important to ask the question “Is your organisation Emergency 2.0 Resilient?” Do you know how to use social media to help your organisation, employees and stakeholders prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies?

We invite you to consider this scenario and ask yourself “is this how my organisation would respond?”

A major emergency or disaster has struck your community and there is widespread damage… roads are cut and communications infrastructure is impacted with congested telephone lines and mobile networks and key emergency websites crashing due to load.

Flood evacuation tweet (@QPS Media)

Flood evacuation tweet (@QPS Media)

An ‘emergency 2.0 resilient’ organisation will respond by deploying its business continuity plan which has social media integrated throughout to ensure an ongoing flow of information and two way communication with employees, customers, suppliers, emergency agencies, the media and other key stakeholders.

Hurricane Sandy Google Crisis Response Map

Hurricane Sandy Google Crisis Response Map

Employees immediately access social media sites at work to obtain real-time emergency information and online maps to enable them to plan a safe route home, to pick up the kids from school or to head to evacuation centres. Once in a safe place, they make contact and stay in touch via the organisation’s internal social media network (eg Yammer).

monitoring the emergencySenior Management, business continuity and communications teams monitor the emergency in real time via emergency services updates on Twitter and Facebook (including live press conferences via Livestream). They also use social media aggregator tools such as Trendsmap to zero-in on tweets in specific impacted locations.

Employees from branches in other impacted areas are taking photos and videos of the damage to the offices on their mobile devices and posting it on the internal social enterprise network to share with the organisation.

Yammer screenshot

Yammer feed

A temporary remote workforce for business critical functions is established using phone, text, social media and the organisation’s internal social network. Staff are accessing Yammer messages via the app on their mobile phones. Virtual meetings are conducted with key staff who can’t get to work using social media channels. They collaborate virtually online using realtime documents such as Google word documents, spreadsheets and maps.

Westpac Bank Facebook page listing branches affected by Queensland floods

Westpac Bank Facebook page listing branches affected by Queensland floods

Customers, suppliers and other stakeholders including the media are kept informed and engaged via regular updates on the organisation’s social network sites as well as the website which incorporates the social media feeds on the home page.Senior Management and the communications team are also monitoring what is being said to the organisation on social networks and are quickly responding to frequently asked questions. They are also monitoring what is being said about the organisation and any rumours or misinformation is quickly corrected and quashed via social media channels.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Crowdmap

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Crowdmap

The organisation supports its local community to recover by posting offers to donate goods and services on online community crowdmaps and billboards.

It also utilises its social media channels to rally its stakeholders to also help.

We could go on with this scenario, but assume you’ve got the picture. Is this how your organisation would respond in a major emergency? Is your organisation emergency 2.0 resilient?

Emergency 2.0 Wiki main page

Emergency 2.0 Wiki main page

If you aren’t, the good news is that you can be! The Emergency 2.0 Wiki, in collaboration with our alliance partner the Business Continuity Institute of Australasia have developed tips and guidelines on the Wiki to help your organisation to use social media in each stage of an emergency:

Continuity Forum Presentation

Continuity Forum Presentation

Free Webinars coming soon on YouTube…

In addition to the Wiki guidelines, we aim to create and post webinars on YouTube to be freely available to all. As a volunteer driven not for profit charity we need funding to enable us to do this, so if you have ideas on how we could access funding/sponsorship for this vital initiative please contact us.

Join the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community

To keep up to date on the latest trends and technological developments in using social media for business continuity and resilience, you are welcome to join the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community by following us on Twitter @emergency20wiki and we also invite you to join the Emergency 2.0 Wiki LinkedIn Group.  We’d also love you to share your feedback, news, tips and ideas.

We can’t stop disasters from happening, but together we can make our organisations Emergency 2.0 Resilient!

Stay safe,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (voluntary)

Building emergency 2.0 resilient communities in 2013

American Red Cross Digital Operations Centre

American Red Cross Digital Operations Centre

Hi Everyone. As our Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community looks to 2013 and with many of us still reeling from January’s disasters of bushfires and floods in Australia and heavy snow and floods in the UK (to name a few), we thought we’d frame a discussion around what we aim to achieve together by reviewing how far the world has come in the journey towards building emergency 2.0 resilient communities and share what we believe the challenges are, how the Wiki can help and how you can help. We hope this discussion will also inform the development of our 3 year strategic plan, the first draft of which we will soon post online as a Google Doc for your comments and input.

2012 was another year of devastating disasters around the globe. The good news is that along with the accelerating usage of social media globally (including on mobile devices), we witnessed increasing usage of social media by the community in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters.

Hurricane Sandy Google Crisis Response Map

Hurricane Sandy Google Crisis Response Map

The most shining example was New York City’s social media response to Hurricane Sandy, in which we witnessed a ‘whole of community’ response, where emergency services, all levels of government,  media, business, NGOs, the volunteer technical community, community groups, faith-based groups and the public pulled together using social media to inform, share, connect, collaborate and galvanise to face the disaster.

The NYC government opened up its data enabling developers and designers to develop emergency maps and applications and partnered with organisations such as Google’s Crisis Response Team to develop a customised map featuring evacuation zones, shelters and recovery centres. Huffington Post launched a Crowdmap to encourage the public to share their own observations, photos and video of incidents such as flooded roads and downed powerlines via sms, tweets, email or web form. The public could also sign up to receive alerts when a report was submitted within their geographical area. This Crowdmap utilises the Ushahidi application, which includes a mobile app to facilitate ease of reporting.

Citizens downloaded mobile apps such as the FEMA Preparedness App and the Red Cross Hurricane App to receive alerts and emergency preparation information.

The NYC government used Twitter @nycgov, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube to issue information and they live streamed media conferences. Most importantly the NYC government engaged in two way communication with the public using social media, responding to questions and listening to the public in order to more efficiently allocate resources.

Digital volunteers from groups such as NYVOST and Humanity Road rallied locally and globally to help monitor the ‘fire hose’ of social media information generated by the public and working with local authorities to keep them informed.

Also listening and responding to local needs in real time via social media was the Red Cross, utilising their new digital operations centre.

The NYC Department of Education utilised Twitter @NYCSchools  and Facebook to issue preparedness messages to school staff and parents, to alert of pending school closures, of schools being used as evacuation centres and also to rally donations for emergency relief and volunteers in the recovery phase.

To enable businesses to directly help each other out with office space and other services such as internet connection and mobile device recharging, a member of the technical community Noel Hidalgo @noneck established a Sandy Coworking Crowdmap using the Ushahidi platform.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Crowdmap

Hurricane Sandy Staten Island Recovery Crowdmap

To support recovery in Staten Island a Crowdmap, created by the community was populated with information from the public via text, tweet using the hashtag #helpsi or directly online. This Ushahidi map automatically updates reports of relief help available or people in need as well as relief stations and volunteer opportunities. Businesses can update donated services and goods as well.

While we don’t have information on how the business sector used social media in the emergency preparation phase to prepare their workforce, or during the emergency to liaise with their stakeholders (please send us articles if you have them), from our observations, the majority of the Future Scenarios of an Emergency 2.0 Resilient Community that we posted on this site and the Wiki over a year ago were played out in New York City in the face of Hurricane Sandy.

We encourage everyone to revisit the Future Scenarios for emergency preparation, response and recovery and ask yourselves is this how my community would respond in an emergency? Is this how my emergency services would respond? My city government? My business? My local school? What are the gaps?

How the Wiki can help communities become Emergency 2.0 Resilient – and how you can help

Emergency 2.0 Wiki main page

Emergency 2.0 Wiki main page

Guidelines

Great progress was made last year in producing tips and guidelines for using social media for emergency preparation, response and recovery. Thanks to the great work and contribution of Wiki reference group members, the broader wiki community and the US and NZ governments, there is a wealth of resources on the Wiki for all to access.

Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide

Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide

Emergency agencies/First Responders guidelines

As well as on those tips and guidelines on the Wiki itself, a number of guides have also been published by government agencies, in New Zealand and the United States, which can be adapted for your own countries. These guides are referenced and linked throughout the Wiki and posted on the library page. They include:

Social media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide developed by New Zealand emergency services. The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is proud to have assisted with its development by facilitating an international review. This excellent guide was recently translated into French, thanks to the voluntary initiative of #SMEM and #MSGU community member Moro Cedric @moro_cedric and it is available via his I-Resilience blog and also on the Wiki.

Guidance for Collaborating with Volunteer & Technical Communities

Guidance for Collaborating with Volunteer & Technical Communities

The US Government produced three excellent guides last year for first responders on community engagement and social media strategy for emergency management.

The Digital Humanitarian Network, a new consortium of Volunteer & Technical Communities of digital volunteers, published Guidance for Collaborating with Volunteer & Technical Communities.

FEMA Social Media in Emergency Management online course

FEMA Social Media in Emergency Management online course

Free online SMEM course – available globally

This three hour online course was developed by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for first responders and is available to everyone around the world, for free! It is interactive, with videos and can be done in parts. The Wiki is proud to be referenced in the content and as a resource for further reading. The course is also listed in our library.

Accessibility Toolkit

We created an Accessibility Toolkit which not only provides tips on how people with a disability can overcome accessibility issues of social media, but 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 caneit also has guidelines on how organisations can ensure their social media messages reach this sector.

Our Reference Groups need you!

Technology and social media is changing so rapidly that what is ‘best practice today’ is not tomorrow. It’s the key reason why we created a wiki and not a website – to enable us to quickly update our tips and guides.

Emergency AppsA case in point for this is Facebook. As #SMEM guru Jim Garrow pointed out in his Face of the Matter blog, Facebook is no longer the ‘silver bullet’ – because they’ve recently changed the news feed so that only 10%- 15% of your messages will be viewed by your followers.

We need you to help us update the tips and guidelines on the Wiki and keep them up-to-date as the technology and platforms change. This means sharing your own tips and sourcing tips from the #SMEM community, the Wiki LinkedIn Group posts, leading blogs, news sites, case studies and research reports. Please check out our Reference Groups; we need you!

If you work in the Education or Health Sector, we’d also like to encourage you to help us start up Reference Groups to develop resources to help schools, universities and hospitals become Emergency 2.0 Resilient. While we’ve developed and collated some resources, there isn’t yet lot of content. This year we’d like to address this and encourage you to help us.

Capacity Building and Empowering Community Groups for Resilience

Image courtesy The Emergency 2.0 Australia Project for the Government 2.0 Taskforce Report 2010

Image courtesy The Emergency 2.0 Australia Project for the Government 2.0 Taskforce Report 2010

We believe that resilient communities are connected communities and it is critical to capacity build community groups to use social media for emergency preparation, response and recovery. This includes first responder volunteer groups such as CERT (US) and SES (Australia), service clubs such as Lions and Rotary, faith-based groups and neighbourhood watch groups. It is these grass roots community groups on the ground that are best positioned to tap into local needs in times of emergency and who will be there during the long road to recovery when outside help and media attention subsides.

The Wiki aims to, in consultation with key groups, develop a ‘Community Group Emergency 2.0 Toolkit’, which would consist of guidelines, YouTube webinars and other resources to empower groups to use social media for emergency preparation, response and recovery. We aim to seek grant funding and investigate crowdsourcing options for this vital initiative, so if you are interested in helping, please contact us.

Building Business Continuity and Resilience

Continuity Forum Presentation

Continuity Forum Presentation

Key to community resilience is keeping businesses operating and social media can play a critical role in helping business prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. We further developed the Wiki guidelines for business continuity and resilience, covering topics such as ‘using social media to empower employees’, ‘to communicate with stakeholders’ and ‘establish a temporary workforce’. We presented at a Continuity Forum in Brisbane (Australia) and Government 2.0 Conference in Canberra (Australia) and have since had many invitations to speak on this topic. To address the need to build business capability in this area, we aim to seek funding to create webinars to post on YouTube to be freely available to all to access across the globe. If you have ideas on how we could access funding for this initiative please contact us.

Citizen Engagement and Education for Resilience

Disaster Alert app by the Pacific Disaster Center.

Disaster Alert app by the Pacific Disaster Center.

Last, but not least, while citizens are increasingly using social media to find and share emergency information, we believe a lot of education is still needed to help people better prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. For example, encouraging people to download an emergency app onto their mobile devices so they can get alerts before disaster strikes is one action that has enormous potential to save lives. This includes raising awareness of the existence of apps produced for their locality, but also disaster alert apps available globally, that they can download prior to travelling.

Another priority is to ensure the social media messages shared by citizens on the scene contain critical information to best help emergency services, the media and the public. This includes enabling GPS on mobile devices and adding a #hashtag and the time when tweeting warnings, photos or videos. The following tweet was part of an awareness campaign we ran in January during the Australian bushfires to educate the public on how to share information using social media, providing links to the Wiki:

Another important education objective is to encourage people to help each other and local emergency agencies and governments by populating crowdmaps with their own information from the scene. As we have showcased, this was a vital feature of the social media response to Hurricane Sandy, but is still a new concept in many countries. The Wiki promotes the use of crowdmaps in our Future Scenarios and throughout the Wiki. We also promote their use during major disasters; for example we retweeted this message from Brisbane Council during the January floods in Australia:

We believe that key to successful citizen education and engagement for emergency 2.0 resilience is developing engaging social media campaigns that are designed to go viral. We also recognise that it is important to run these campaigns in the leadup to known disaster seasons eg hurricane/tornado/bushfire as well as during every major disaster to remind people how to use social media to prepare, share information, help one another and to mobilise and galvanise support for recovery.

This means also utilising the most popular social media sites such as Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube and Pinterest. At present, due to a lack of resourcing we are limited to Twitter, and our campaigns are sporadic, based on volunteer time availability.

To meet this challenge, we are seeking a communications agency to design a social media campaign on a pro bono basis. We also aim to establish a volunteer Marketing and Communications Wiki Work Team to assist with rolling out campaigns across the globe with local information such as emergency mobile apps. If you are interested in assisting, please contact us.

Help Translate the Wiki into other languages

At present, the Wiki is only available in English. To help accelerate the global adoption of social media for emergency management and help create emergency 2.0 resilient communities, we aim to make the content available in a number of languages. If you speak (and write) another language and are keen to help with translating sections of the Wiki, please contact us.

Funding Support

Delivering these important activities is reliant on the Emergency 2.0 Wiki receiving funding support. As a not for profit in the start up phase, run entirely by volunteers, the Wiki requires funding to enable us to continue to provide and develop this free resource for all.

To date, our activities have been very limited as we had not been in a position to fundraise while awaiting endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office as a deductible gift recipient (DRG). We recently received that endorsement and can now actively seek grant funding, corporate donations and ‘crowdsource’ funding and we aim to soon launch a donation page to enable people to make a welcome contribution (of any amount) to help us keep delivering and developing this vital free global resource for all. In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss ideas for funding support, we please contact us.

Thank You!

In closing, we’d like to thank you for being a part of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community and we look forward to working with you in building Emergency 2.0 resilient communities around the globe in 2013. Please checkout How to Help for all the different ways you can participate. We’d love your feedback and ideas, so please join the discussion on the Wiki LinkedIn Group, share your ideas in the comments below, or contact us directly.

Cheers,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary)

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)