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


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. 


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.


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


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

We are pleased to share highlights of our presentation to the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference #IDRC2014 at Davos Switzerland 24-28 August 2014, organised by the Global Risk Forum in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

We were excited to have this opportunity to showcase the Emergency 2.0 Wiki on the world stage, share our message on how countries can build disaster resilience through a whole of community approach to using social media, and also influence future world policy.

It was a powerful opportunity to share how our work had supported the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, and to influence future world policy, making recommendations for the Post 2015 Disaster Risk Reduction Framework to be ratified at the UN World Conference WCDRR in Sendai Japan in 2015. We did this via our presentation, an extended abstract, a personal statement and a video Red Chair Statement.

emergency2.0wiki_logo_colour_lowres (2)How our work supported the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action:

  • Priority 1: Promoting community participation and social networking
  • Priority 2: Providing guidance on how to act on early warnings via social media
  • Priority 3, 5: Facilitating exchange of information on good practices and lessons learned
  • Priority 4: Providing a social media accessibility toolkit for people with disabilities

csm_idrc2014_6fe511616eRecommendations to address the main gaps, needs and further steps to be addressed in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in:

  • Research: provide practical recommendations for using social media, lessons learned, short timeframes to ensure relevance
  • Education & Training: capacity build communities to use social media
  • Implementation & Practice: provide social media tools and platforms to enable the community to help themselves and each other
  • Policy: apply a whole of community approach to using social media in disasters, recognising the potential for social media to make resilience a social norm

Red Chair Statement

To view our submission documents, please visit our policy submission page.

Our presentation

Our presentation topic was “The importance of a whole of community approach to using social media for disaster resilience and how the Emergency 2.0 Wiki can help.”

We believe that social media can play a transformative role in making disaster resilience a social norm. Social media offers the potential to help create a level of resilience that ensures communities don’t just ‘bounce back’ after a disaster, but ‘bounce forward’, becoming stronger with increased social networks, social cohesion and social capital.

This requires a ‘whole of community approach’ in which the community becomes partners in using social media for disaster resilience. We explained how along with emergency response agencies, all sectors of the community: local government, schools, hospitals, ngos, community groups, faith based groups, service clubs, business and citizens; have a role to play in disaster resilience, showcasing examples from around the world.

We also made special mention of the vital role of digital volunteers.

We emphasised the need for capacity building and to provide the social media tools to empower the community to help themselves & others in disasters #IDRC2014:

This involved highlighting the importance of empowering people with a disability to overcome social media accessibility issues to access alerts, and we showcased our social media accessibility toolkit for resilience:

Strategic Contacts

We also made strategic contacts for potential future alliances and projects. Watch this space for updates…

With thanks to our Sponsor
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We would like to thank our major sponsor, Emergency Management Australia, part of the Australian Attorney General’s Department, for making our presence at #IDRC2014 possible.

We also thank our other numerous supporters who also contributed to make this a reality.

We look forward to continuing to help the international community use social media to ensure disaster resilience becomes a social norm.

Many thanks,


Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)

p.s. Thank you to everyone who supported our participation in #IDRC2014… together we are making a difference to build disaster resilience and save lives.
p.p.s. Follow us on Facebook

Wiki to present at global disaster forum

IDRC Davos 2014Exiting News! The Wiki has been accepted to present at the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference (#IDRC2014) in Davos Switzerland 24-28 August. This conference is organised by the Global Risk Forum in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and is the largest world gathering of key players in this field.

IDRC Davos 2014 attempts to find solutions to today’s challenges by managing risks, reducing disasters and adapting to climate change.

Our topic will be “The importance of a whole of community approach to using social media for disaster resilience and how the Emergency 2.0 Wiki can help.”

We believe that together we can help create a world where communities use social media to save not only their own lives in a disaster, but also the lives of others. A world where:

  • Emergency services use social media to issue alerts and warnings to save lives
  • Emergency agencies engage with the community as partners
  • The community is prepared, including people with a disability
  • Digital volunteers from across the globe provide ‘information aid’ during and after disasters
  • The community reaches out to help the community

We believe this involves educating and empowering all sectors of the community: emergency services, the government, NGOs, community groups, faith based groups, schools, hospitals, business, media and citizens to understand that they can all play a role in using social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

emergency2.0wiki_logo_colour_lowres (2)We will be sharing best practice examples from around the world and showcasing how the Emergency 2.0 Wiki, a free global resource for using social media and new technologies in disasters, can help.

The Wiki serves as in information hub providing tips, guides, mobile apps, mapping tools, videos and an international directory of emergency services on social media. It has tips for citizens to help themselves and help others, an accessibility toolkit for people with disabilities and guidelines for emergency services, government, community groups and NGOs, schools, hospitals and business.

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Twitter mosaic

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Twitter mosaic

Sponsorship Opportunity

We are offering the opportunity to sponsor the Emergency 2.0 Wiki’s presentation at #IDRC2014 and receive increased brand profile through a global social media campaign.

The three phase social media campaign (pre, during and post conference) will promote our participation, raise awareness of our key presentation messages and publicly recognise and thank our sponsors. We will utilise this blog, Twitter (@emergency20wiki), Google+, Emergency 2.0 LinkedIn Group, YouTube and Facebook (coming soon).

Sponsor logos will feature on the presentation which will be posted after the conference on the Wiki, the IDRC website and this blog.

Eileen Culleton presenting at Social Media In Times of Crisis Symposium 2014. Photographer Fiona Muirhead

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Founder & CEO Eileen Culleton presenting at Social Media In Times of Crisis National Symposium.

Conference Attendees

Over 1000 participants from 100 countries will be attending #IDRC2014. These include UN agents such as UNISDR and UNSESCO, NGOs, international organisations, private sector, risk management experts, practitioners, scientists, academic sector, key players from civil society and the media. The global social media spotlight will also be on the conference via the hashtag #IDRC2014.

If you are interested in sponsorship please contact me on

We are excited to have this opportunity to showcase the Emergency 2.0 Wiki on the world stage and make strategic contacts to form alliances with international bodies. It’s also a powerful opportunity to influence world policy: the outcomes will be presented at the UN World Conference WCDRR in Sendai Japan in March 2015 and aim to influence the post 2015 agenda such as the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the successor of the Kyoto Protocol.

We look forward to sharing our message on the global stage and helping countries better utilise social media to build disaster resilience.

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)
P.S. Together we can make our world safer… Thank You!
Image Credit: Social Media in Times of Crisis National Symposium, Eidos Institute Facebook. Photographer Fiona Muirhead.

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 (no, we don’t mean cool electric kids dirt bikes, although we like those) 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)