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


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.

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.

Emergency 2.0 Wiki launched for global collaborative input

Launching the Wiki from the Local Disaster Coordination Centre, the Wiki Working Group Members (L to R: Desley Gilbey, Tracy Whitelaw, Klynt Oberto, Cat Williams, Matt Kassay, Denver Gibson, Eileen Culleton, Karen Schofield, Rae Allen) The rest are tweeting and blogging elsewhere! (Photo courtesy Tim Miller)

Tonight the Emergency 2.0 Wiki launched for global collaborative input via an online blitz! Launching from the Local Disaster Coordination Centre in Brisbane Australia, the Wiki Working Group are on our laptops, mobile phones and notebooks, tweeting, posting discussions and blogging!

In early 2011 the world experienced unprecedented disasters – the Queensland floods, Cyclone Yasi, the Christchurch earthquake, the Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis and the US tornados. During this time we witnessed the power of social media used to send instant warnings to save lives, to share realtime information, and to enable the community to help one another.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki aims to empower people everywhere with the knowledge of how to use social media in emergency situations.

For the public the wiki has:

For emergency agencies, government, community and business the wiki has:

This wiki project is a new collaborative model for sharing and advancing knowledge – to provide best practice guidelines on how to utilise social media in all phases of emergency communications (prevention, preparation, response and recovery).

This Wiki is a volunteer initiative of the gov2qld group, a community of practice of professionals working in the government and social media space.

It takes a community to create a wiki and we need your participation! This wiki is currently a framework, we will be ‘crowdsourcing’ input from all sectors of the community including emergency services, government, community agencies, business, ICT, the voluntary technical community, the education sector, the media and the public…

Checkout the Wiki … and check out the ‘seeded content’ to provide an example of the type of content we aim to produce (practical and easy to follow!!!)

Checkout this blog site too, as it provides information on the project, future scenarios of what an emergency 2.0 empowered community will look like, frequently asked questions, events and resources.

We aim to have the wiki ready for November for the southern hemisphere summer season of floods, cyclones and bushfires…and the northern hemisphere winter season of blizzards… So we have 3 months to make this happen!

To contribute to the Wiki, you do need to register, via the Emergency 2.0 LinkedIn group.  Also please share with people you know who would be interested in helping.

We are also establishing Reference Groups to lead the development of key sections of the wiki. If you have expertise that you feel could assist we’d love to hear from you.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community!

For media enquiries please contact the Project Leader, Eileen Culleton eileenculleton@gmail.com

Social media and famine in the Horn of Africa

Collecting water at Ifo camp, Dadaab

Collecting water at Ifo camp, Dadaab (image from Oxfam - Flickr)

The United Nations has declared the Horn of Africa a disaster area with “as many as 38 million Africans living under the threat of starvation” http://bit.ly/pZqe2q

This sort of emergency is being recognised by organisations such as Oxfam who recently developed this interactive map to show where food shortages and famine are likely or exist. http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/food-price-volatility-map

Other bodies are using twitter, flying in bloggers, broadcasting concerts and holding online fundraising as a way of raising awareness and funds for the area –  http://mashable.com/2011/07/29/africa-famine/

For more background see: http://bit.ly/o7P4mI, http://bit.ly/qJJ7mR


UPDATE: An Australian East African Appeal has been launched, promoted primarily through radio and social media platforms: