The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is winding up

We have news to share that the Emergency 2.0 Wiki is winding up. This is not a decision taken lightly, however after much consideration the board came to the conclusion that it is time.

The world today in 2018

It is a very different world today compared to 2011 when the Emergency 2.0 Wiki launched in the wake of the wave of disasters that swept across the globe – the Queensland floods 1 and Cyclone Yasi 2 in Australia, the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand 3, the Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster 4 and Hurricane Irene in the USA 5.

We were inspired and galvanised by the life-saving potential social media offered to enable people to receive disaster alerts, along with the ability to help themselves and each other. Back then, very few emergency agencies were using social media. Of those who were, such as the Queensland Police in Australia 6 7 they were a testament to its life-saving power.

Gov2qld, a government focused social media community of practice in Queensland, Australia, formed a working group, appealing to counterparts across the world to volunteer to join us to create a global hub for knowledge sharing on best practice, as well as tools and tips for first responders and the community.

This received a very positive response and in December 2011, the Emergency 2.0 Wiki launched with a vision to help build resilient communities, empowered with the knowledge to use social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. Fast forward to 2018, looking at today’s emergency and disaster response social media landscape in Australia and internationally, we believe this vision is largely accomplished!

A new paradigm

The world has entered into a new paradigm. Social media is now an essential tool emergency agencies use to engage the public before, during and after an emergency event. Social media is also an essential tool the public use to share information with emergency services and with each other, as well as to rally to help their communities to recover.

Key to this new paradigm is Twitter 8, Facebook 9 and Google’s 10, proactive commitment to supporting emergency response. These initiatives include developing emergency alert tools for agencies, such as TwitterAlert  11, and other tools to help the community help themselves and each other, including Facebook’s Safety Check and Crisis Response  12 and Google Crisis Map 13.  

Pinnacle Milestone

We believe the Emergency 2.0 Wiki played an integral role in ushering in this new paradigm and our pinnacle milestone was our advocacy to ensure the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015:2030 – the global blueprint to build the world’s resilience to disasters – incorporated social media 14,  15,  16.

This UN framework has had a great impact on the global acceleration of government use of social media for disaster resilience. Since then many countries have developed or are developing national frameworks and policies to use social media and new technologies to build disaster resilience, in collaboration with the community.

For example In Australia where the Wiki is based, the federal government agency Emergency Management Australia 17 created the Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience (AIDR) 18 which has a national leadership and coordinating role in establishing national frameworks, policies, best practice guidelines, manuals and standardised training for using social media in emergencies and disasters. Its website also serves as an information hub and resource centre to share knowledge and global best practice  

While AIDR is now replicating most of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki’s objectives and activities, and in effect making the Wiki redundant in Australia, we actually welcome this, because this national government approach is what we have been advocating for locally and globally. We also wish to recognise that Emergency Management Australia was the primary sponsor for the Emergency 2.0 Wiki presentation in Switzerland to inform the development of the UN framework.

Honouring pioneers who helped shape the new paradigm

FEMA

We wish to highlight the pioneering and leadership role of the United States Government Federal Emergency Management Service (FEMA) in advocating for a “whole of community” approach in which the whole community (individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and state, local, tribal, territorial, insular area, and federal governments)19 become partners in using social media in times of disasters. We encourage countries around the world to view FEMA’s extensive resources 20 including social media toolkits for inspiration and best practice.21 . We also thank them for referencing and linking to us in their first online social media for emergency management (SMEM) course 22.  

VOST Europe

Another important source of inspiration and leadership is VOST Europe with its digital volunteers working in Virtual Operations Support Teams (#VOST) supporting emergency services during crisis. Operating in eight languages, these VOSTs are highly regarded by the government agencies and communities they support and have received accolades at the highest level 23. Many of these VOSTs also operate in their own right, engaging with the public daily to build following and trust. VOST Europe has seen rapid expansion throughout the continent, ushering in a new paradigm for digital volunteering.

The model is outlined in a new guide for agencies working with VOSTs published by the European Emergency Number Association (EENA 112) 24

Given the Wiki’s history advocating internationally for governments to strengthen their emergency response capability by partnering with VOSTs, 25 and our alliance with VOST International (VOSG) 26, we are thrilled to see the recent rapid expansion in Europe and the growth in Central and South America (VOST Americas) 27.

Humanity Road

We would also like to honour Humanity Road 28 who are pioneers and global leaders in digital disaster response providing humanitarian aid. Their disaster desk manned by volunteers responds when natural disaster strikes around the world, connecting people, animals and emergency officials with help and resources. We are privileged to have an alliance 29 with this exceptional humanitarian organisation. 

#SMEM

We also wish to honour the #SMEM community in the US who were early pioneers in social media for emergency management and from whom we drew a number of our reference group members. We encourage practitioners to follow #smemchat, a live weekly Twitter chat for knowledge sharing, facilitated by the Virtual EMA 30. While primarily US focused, there are valuable tips shared.

Accessibility

Last, but certainly not least, we wish to honour those acting to ensure our most vulnerable in the community, those with disabilities, are being reached through social media in times of emergency. When this issue came to our attention, people with disabilities faced barriers in accessing social media. In times of disaster it meant a case of life or death. People with visual impairment could not access life-saving information via Twitter because it did not provide the capacity for “screen reading” and those with hearing impairment suffered similar barriers across a number of social media platforms.

Wiki Accessibility Toolkit page screenshot

In response we established the Accessibility Reference Group 31 and the Accessibility Toolkit 32 adapted from a social media accessibility guide with permission from Media Access Australia 33 who are strong advocates and innovators in the sector.  The reference group also engaged in informal knowledge sharing with the Social Media Accessibility Working Group, a committee within the United States Federal Social Media Community of Practice which developed an accessibility guide 34. Much progress has been made since then, but we implore the social media platforms to keep accessibility issues top of mind when they are planning new developments.

The Future of Wiki Resources

In the spirit of the Wiki, which is all about making information freely accessible to all, we would like to invite you to feel free to copy resources that are useful to you before we de-commission the website, planned for end February.

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Thank You

We would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who helped contribute to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki including:

“In today’s world, while we can’t always prevent emergencies and disasters, we can ensure that we quickly get lifesaving information to people and we can enable the community to help themselves and each other. Together, the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community has helped make our world more disaster resilient and we thank you for this!” Eileen Culleton (Founder and CEO)

Stay safe and keep helping each other.

With sincerest thanks,

The board of directors (voluntary): Eileen Culleton (Founder and CEO), Kerry McGoldrick, Craig Thomler

References

VOSG & Emergency 2.0 Wiki Partnership #smemau #vost #smem #osint #actionablegraphics

jointlogo

We are excited to announce a partnership between the Virtual Operations Support Group (VOSG) and the Emergency 2.0 Wiki for resource and knowledge sharing. Our first two joint projects are the Actionable Graphics Project and supporting the development of VOST Australia.

#actionablegraphics #SMEM project

Sample animated graphic for public safety message: Do not drive through a flooded road

Sample animated graphic for public safety message: Do not drive through a flooded road

The Project aims to provide a series of iconic social media public safety graphic messages (a graphic go-kit), available for download from the Emergency 2.0 Wiki website, where selected and approved graphics and messages will be shown side by side in customized English, French and Spanish versions.

The intent is to provide an immediate, trusted (approved and verified)  public safety messaging resource, specifically for use by emergency management organizations and the Virtual Operation Support Teams (VOSTs) which support them in amplifying important official messages in an emergency or disaster situation.

Animated GIFs and infographics appeal to the general public who we hope will share widely with their own social media networks, increasing reach and exposure.

The graphics will be for major emergencies such as flood, snowstorm, hurricane, wildfire, earthquake, mass shootings and terrorism.

We will be crowdsourcing feedback and input for this project, so watch this space for developments…


The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is assisting with the development of VOST Australia, a Virtual Operations Support Team to provide surge support for emergency services in times of disaster.

In March 2016 a VOST Australia Meet Up was hosted by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) in Brisbane. Eileen Culleton from the Emergency 2.0 Wiki and Joanna Lane from the Virtual Operations Support Group (VOSG) enjoyed a tour of the State Disaster Coordination Centre by Kathy Wright (QFES).

Photo: Kathy Wright, Eileen Culleton, Joanna Lane at State Disaster Coordination Centre (QLD)

Kathy Wright, Eileen Culleton, Joanna Lane at State Disaster Coordination Centre (QLD)

VOST Australia will be activated by emergency response agencies as an official resource to perform specific functions such as:

  • Supplement existing personnel and fill gaps in intelligence
  • Hone in on specific data that is requested and actionable
  • Amplify official information to wider networks
  • Correct misinformation in major incidents
  • Ensure key public safety messaging is reaching the whole community or intended audience across all media
  • Build relationships with key community groups, using them as a resource
  • Monitor and report isolated problems
International support

VOST Australia will be able to upscale and access surge support from the 37 other active VOST Teams around the world. VOST Australia will also act as surge support for overseas VOST teams responding to disasters.

Sharing lessons learned

Key lessons learned from VOST Australia activations will be shared on the Emergency 2.0 Wiki to help accelerate learning across the world.

Feeder for learning and cross collaboration

It is our hope this partnership will foster greater collaboration, learning and knowledge sharing between the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community and VOST teams around the world.

More information on VOST Australia can be found at http://vostaus.blogspot.com.au/ also follow on Twitter @VOSTAus.

For enquiries, including membership, contact VOST Australia Team Lead Daniel Eshuis via vostaus [at] gmail.com.

Also see VOSG International at http://vosg.us/ and follow on Twitter @VOST1.

More information on the Emergency 2.0 Wiki can be found on the Wiki and blog. Also follow on Twitter @Emergency20wiki.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas 2015

We would like to wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year and thank you for helping us build resilient communities empowered with the knowledge to use social media in disasters.

Information sharing

Thank you for sharing apps, guidelines, research reports, tips and other resources with the wiki.

Promoting us

Thank you for helping raise awareness of the wiki by posting links to the wiki, blogging about us and sharing our tweetsblogFacebook and Google+ posts.

Reference Group members

Thank you to our Reference Group members for promoting us and helping us develop content for the wiki.

Knowledge sharing and collaboration partners

Thank you to our knowledge sharing alliance partners Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Australasian Chapter, and the Risk Management Institution of Australasia (RMIA) and collaboration partners  VOSG (Virtual Operations Support Group) and Humanity Road.

Pro bono Partners

Thank you to our pro bono partners who generously provide their services to the Wiki: our auditors Bentleys, web host Mammoth Media, lawyers HWL Ebsworth and NFP Lawyers and our WordPress Site designer, Joanna Lane.

We wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year and look forward to working with you in 2016 to help make our world more disaster resilient.

With warmest wishes and lots of cheer,

Eileen Culleton, Founder and CEO (voluntary)

p.s. Together we are helping to build disaster resilient communities.
p.p.s. Follow us on Facebook

New UN global framework for disaster risk reduction contains social media

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at the opening of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at the opening of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan

Success! We are thrilled to report that the new United Nations global framework for disaster risk reduction, ratified in Sendai, Japan, now contains social media!

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, last week, now incorporates social media.

This is an exciting outcome, which we believe will have a great impact on the global acceleration of the use of social media for disaster resilience, leading to substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, property and livelihoods and a faster, stronger recovery.

We are also celebrating because the Emergency 2.0 Wiki helped influence this outcome through our presentation and recommendations to the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference Davos (IDRC2014), which provided the science and technology input toward the new Framework.

Our key recommendations and correlating Framework outcomes (bold emphasis added) are below:

Wiki Recommendation: Incorporate social media into mainstream emergency communications

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Priority 1. Understanding Disaster Risk
  1. (m) Promote national strategies to strengthen public education and awareness in disaster risk reduction, including disaster risk information and knowledge, through campaigns, social media and community mobilization, taking into account specific audiences and their needs.
  1. (c) Strengthen the utilization of media, including social media, traditional media, big data and mobile phone networks to support national measures for successful disaster and risk communication, as appropriate and in accordance with national laws.
  1. (b) Invest in, develop, maintain and strengthen people-centred multi-hazard, multisectoral forecasting and early warning systems, disaster risk and emergency communications mechanisms, social technologies and hazard monitoring telecommunications systems.

In addition to this, although no specific mention was made of social media in the following outcomes, we were delighted to see the Framework incorporate the essence of many of our other recommendations including:

Wiki Recommendation: Take a whole of community partnership approach

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Guiding Principles
  1. (d) Disaster risk reduction requires an all of society engagement and partnership.
Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
  1. (h) Empower local authorities, as appropriate, through regulatory and financial means, to work and coordinate with civil society, communities and indigenous peoples and migrants in disaster risk management at the local level.
Role of stakeholders
  1. …. Non-state stakeholders play an important role as enablers in providing support to States… their commitment, goodwill, knowledge, experience and resources will be required.
  1. (a) Civil society, volunteers, organized voluntary work organisations and community based organisations to participate, in collaboration with public institutions…. In the development and implementation of normative frameworks, standards and plans for disaster risk reduction; engage in the implementation of local, national, regional and global plans and strategies: contribute to and support public awareness, a culture of prevention and education on disaster risk; and advocate for resilient communities and an inclusive, all-of-society disaster risk management which strengthen the synergies across groups as appropriate.

Wiki Recommendation: Capacity build the community – provide education and information

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Priority 1: Understanding Disaster Risk
  1. (g) Build the knowledge of government officials at all levels, civil society, communities and volunteers, as well as the private sector, through sharing experiences, lessons learned, good practices and training and education on disaster risk reduction, including the use of existing training education mechanisms and peer learning.
Priority 4: Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and the “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction
  1. (f) Train the existing workforce and voluntary workers in disaster response and strengthen technical and logistical capacities to ensure better response in emergencies..
  1. (d) Media to: … stimulate a culture of prevention and strong community involvement in sustained public education campaigns…

Wiki Recommendation: Empower the community – provide tools and platforms

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Guiding Principles
  1. (f) While the enabling, guiding and coordinating role of national and federal State Governments remain essential, it is necessary to empower local authorities and local communities to reduce disaster risk, including through resources, incentives and decision making responsibilities, as appropriate;
Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk
  1. (c) Develop, update periodically and disseminate, as appropriate, location and disaster risk information, including risk maps, to decision makers, the general public and communities at risk to disaster in an appropriate format by using, as applicable, geospatial information technology;
  1. (f) Promote real-time access to reliable data, make use of space and in situ information, including geographic information systems (GIS), and use information and communications technology innovations to enhance measurement tools and the collection, analysis and dissemination of data.

Wiki Recommendation: Empower people with a disability by providing accessible information:

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Guiding Principles
  1. (d) Disaster risk reduction requires an all of society engagement and partnership. It also requires empowerment and inclusive, accessible and nondiscriminatory participation…. A gender, age, disability and cultural perspective in all policies and practices;

Wiki Recommendation: The need for agencies to work more closely with digital volunteer groups:

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Guiding Principles
  1. (d) … special attention should be paid to the improvement of organized voluntary work of citizens;
Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk
  1. (o) Enhance collaboration among people at the local level to disseminate risk information through the involvement of community based organizations and non-governmental organizations.
Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
  1. (h) Empower local authorities, as appropriate, through regulatory and financial means to work and coordinate with civil society, communities and indigenous peoples and migrants in disaster risk management at the local level;

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the efforts of the many participants from the global disaster risk reduction community who also advocated for these outcomes.

We look forward to helping the international community implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 and utilise social media and new technologies to make our world more disaster resilient.

Many thanks,

Eileen Culleton, Founder and CEO (voluntary), Emergency 2.0 Wiki

Related Links and Articles:

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.pdf

#IDRC2014… we came, we saw, we shared with the world

Emergency 2.0 Wiki article in Global Risk Forum Davos Planet @ Risk, Volume 3, No 1, Special Issue on the IDRC Davos Outcomes, for the Post 2015 Framework for DRR

Imagine a world where using social media for disaster resilience is the social norm

Image Credit: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at the opening of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Image via UNISDR Flickr under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)