What will an emergency 2.0 resilient community look like?
Here are some scenarios of a how a resilient community empowered with the knowledge to utilise social media and web 2.0 tools would prepare for emergencies.
Emergency service/first responder agencies and local governments
Emergency service agencies and local governments have integrated web 2.0 and social media tools into their communications networks and information systems ensuring they receive and issue real-time localised emergency information. They are proactively issuing emergency preparedness messages to the public of the local risks in their communities via a multichannel approach using both mainstream and web2.0 channels. Online community education information is provided via a number of platforms including websites, mobile friendly sites, smart phone apps and video sharing sites as well as social networking sites.
They also have trained, trusted ‘digital volunteers’ they can call on to assist in times of emergency.
Community agencies, NGOs, community groups and service clubs
Community agencies, NGOs, community groups and service clubs are also prepared and are using social networking platforms to connect with their volunteers and other agencies, creating ‘hyperlocal’ connected communities. They are educating their communities on how to use social media in times of emergency to access real-time emergency information.
Government agencies and schools
Government agencies and schools are using social networking platforms along with traditional communication channels to engage with their communities. They have an emergency page on their websites providing information on how they will also utilise social networking sites to communicate with the community during an emergency (providing links). Their social media sites link to their websites as well as key emergency agencies websites and social media sites. Clear policies and procedures are in place to mitigate potential risks and key agency staff are trained to use the tools and empowered to use their professional judgement.
Businesses too are prepared. They are already using social media to engage with their customers, employees and the media. They have integrated instructions on how to use social media in an emergency into their employee inductions, emergency drills and emergency communications procedures. Employees know how to follow a #hashtag, what the key emergency agency sites are and how to find real-time online community maps. They have been shown emergency smart phone apps and relevant online resources such as “How to sandbag your home” on YouTube. They also know how to amplify social media messages to help others. The business continuity plan includes the use of social media tools to keep employees informed and engaged, to create a temporary remote workforce, and to keep customers and suppliers informed and engaged. The crisis communications plan integrates social media with the procedures of the call centre, media and web teams. Policies are clear and roles and responsibilities are identified, with built-in agility to maximise responsiveness.
The public are directly receiving and acting on timely, regular education messages to their social networking sites from emergency agencies, reminding them of the local risks in their communities. They are accessing direct links to online information on how they can prepare via a number of online platforms including websites, mobile friendly sites, smart phone apps and video sharing sites as well as social networking sites. Their emergency contact list includes social media sites of emergency agency, school, work, family and friends, as well as their phone numbers and web addresses. They know how to follow a #hashtag on Twitter to monitor emergencies and how to access and share information via social networks. They also know how to access online real-time community maps and how to provide updates with their own local information. They understand the power of a geo-tagged photo in sharing information with their loved ones, the community and emergency agencies and they know how to use their smart phone to take these images and send via sms or post to social networking sites.
More future scenarios…
NB: Inspiration for these scenarios was drawn from the Emergency 2.0 Australia Project 2009 for Government 2.0 Taskforce Report.