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)

Creating Emergency 2.0 Ready Communities in 2012

Hi Everyone! Happy New Year! As our Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community looks to 2012, we thought it was important to frame a discussion around what we aim to achieve together by first focusing on the vision of an ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready Community’, and how it would respond to an emergency… and to ask you three questions:

  1. Is this how your own community would respond?
  2. Is this how your workplace would respond?
  3. What are the gaps? How can the Wiki help everyone become ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready’?

The scenario: A major emergency/disaster has struck your community…

Emergency/first responder agencies immediately mobilise, utilising the power of social media and sms to instantly broadcast and amplify emergency warnings to the public along with radio and TV news bulletins. They monitor and actively crowdsource localised information via GPS coded tweets, photos, videos and sms messages from community agencies, schools, government, service clubs and the public, displayed on online crowdsource maps publicly accessible for all. Emergency personnel on the scene utilise this information to help them pinpoint search and rescue efforts.  In turn, they are relaying geo-tagged information updates, images and situation reports back to the operation centre for incident coordination.

Evacuation tweet (Qld floods, Aus)

Community agencies, NGOs and service clubs have also swung into action, harnessing their ‘connected communities’, liaising with agencies and volunteers to help those impacted by the emergency. They are amplifying emergency agency messages by retweeting and sharing on their social networks. They are following the emergency #hashtag on Twitter and accessing online real-time interactive community maps. In turn, they are also updating these maps and providing local, real-time geo-tagged images and situation reports to their agency counterparts and to emergency services.  They are conducting ‘virtual meetings’ using social media channels such as Skype and Google Plus. They collaborate virtually online using realtime documents such as Google word documents, spreadsheets and forms.

Emergency crowdsource map (Hurricane Irene, USA)

‘Voluntweeters’ and online volunteers, locally and globally via groups such as Crisis Commons, Humanity Road and Virtual Operations Support Group, are assisting emergency agencies, local councils and NGOs such as the Red Cross, to amplify messages to the public by re-tweeting and sharing Facebook posts. Others are monitoring the emergency #hashtags and emergency agency Twitter feeds and Facebook sites for calls for rescue or help. Other volunteers are  verifying tweets, photos, and Facebook messages from ‘citizen reporters’ and adding it to the crowdsource maps.

Government agencies and schools are implementing their emergency communication plans, using a multichannel approach including social media to keep their employees, customers, suppliers and communities informed. Employees are accessing social media sites at work for real-time emergency information and online realtime maps to establish the risk to their homes or their loved ones and to plot the safest route home (or to schools to collect their children). A Twitter feed (including feeds from official agencies) is posted on their website home page. Their websites and social network sites provide links to key emergency agencies websites.

Businesses are deploying their business continuity plans which include social media channels to provide ongoing information to employees, customers and suppliers. Employees are also accessing social media sites at work for real-time emergency information and maps to enable a safe route home or to evacuation centres. Once home or in a safe place, they make contact and stay in touch via the business internal social media network (eg Yammer) or sms. A temporary remote workforce is established using phone, text, social media and the business internal social network. Virtual meetings are conducted with key staff who can’t get to work via social media channels. They collaborate virtually online using realtime documents such as Google word documents, and spreadsheets.

The public/citizens are directly receiving and acting on localised, real-time emergency warning information via sms alerts to their mobile phones, push notifications to emergency apps and messages to their social networks along with the traditional channels of radio, TV and online.

Bushfire/Wildfire Alert App for Smartphone (NSW, Aus)

They are directly accessing links to online information via a number of platforms including websites, mobile friendly sites, smart phone apps and video sharing sites as well as social networking sites.   They are actively forwarding official emergency messages to their social networks, amplifying the warnings. They are following the #hashtag on Twitter and accessing online real-time interactive community maps.

They protect their homes by following instructions via sms and emergency apps and help their elderly, disabled and vulnerable neighbours. They are sending geo-tagged photos from the scene via SMS and social media to emergency services to help them make critical operational decisions and to notify the public of further dangers.

They are posting messages on their social networking sites and online ‘billboards’ to let their loved ones know they are safe, leaving the phone lines free for emergency calls.

If they need rescue, they are texting a designated help number, using their smartphone app to send an SOS message with their GPS location to emergency agencies or loved ones, or sending a tweet or Facebook message and image with GPS activated to enable emergency services to assist locating them…

Is this how your community would respond if a major emergency or disaster struck right now?

What about your workplace? What are the gaps? How can the Wiki help everyone become ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready’?

The answer to these questions will frame our focus and actions for 2012 and we need your input! In our January planning, we’ve identified a number of activities: 

Our global Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community on TweepsMap

The Wiki

Together we have created a great resource, but there are gaps:

  • Guidelines: We still need to develop practical guidelines for a number of key topics and for the health, community and education sectors.
  • Smartphone Apps Directory: We have apps for many emergencies, but need help uploading links to apps from the lists we’ve been sent, and to add new ones as they are developed…
  • Global directory: We’ve got a solid list for Australia, the US and NZ, but need help to add emergency social media contacts for the rest of the world. If you don’t fancy editing the wiki, please just add the web addresses to this blog post as a comment and a volunteer will copy it over (show of hands please!)
  • For more info on how to help with the Wiki, please visit How to Help.
We also aim to help build community resilience and create ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready Communities’ through:

Social Media in Times of Crisis Symposium; Eidos Institute

Education and Training:

We will continue to present at industry conferences, seminars and workshops on how organisations and individuals can use social media and new technology in emergency prevention, preparation, response and recovery.
We also aim to accelerate capacity building in communities by providing ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready Train the Trainer’ sessions for organisations such as professional industry associations, councils and service clubs.

BCI Alliance


Alliances:

We will forge ahead with building alliances with agencies and networks from across all industry sectors to support common goals, for collaboration and knowledge sharing, and to help facilitate delivery of education and training.

Resilience Framework:

We aim to develop a resilience framework that can be utilised by all industry sectors to become ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready’.

Community Engagement:

We aim to increase our community engagement, awareness and education activities to promote the use of social media and new technology for building community resilience.

We attended a stakeholder workshop to help inform this report

Research:

We will continue to promote and support research activities in the use of social media for emergency communications and to build community resilience.

We helped inform the development of the Ready Qld emergency volunteer app


Technology Innovation:

We will assist our community to stay at the cutting edge of emergency communications technology. For example, as new tools and applications are developed and released eg Google Plus, they will be posted on the Wiki along with practical guidelines on how to use these tools for emergency communications and business continuity.

We will also continue to promote and support technology innovation for emergency communications and to build community resilience, such as the development of new apps.

This is a big agenda for the Emergency 2.0 Wiki, but we believe these activities are important to help our communities become Emergency 2.0 Ready and that together, we can make it happen…

We will also be seeking funding support from a number of sources. On the governance side, we also look forward to expanding the board with the expertise needed to help us achieve our goals. As well as this, we’re aiming to create a governance model that will enable people from across the globe to take on voluntary leadership roles in areas such as community management, education and training, marketing and communications and research (in addition to the Wiki Reference Groups who are focussed on content).

This is your Wiki, a free global resource that you helped create and it is vital that you continue to have input to its direction as well as the content and we aim to regularly seek your input and feedback. Another key enabler for this will be the establishment of a membership base, which would give everyone a formal voice and voting options. We plan to post more on that soon.

Thank you for being a part of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community. We’d love your feedback and ideas and really look forward to working with you this year to help create Emergency 2.0 Ready communities in 2012.

From the founding directors (voluntary): Eileen Culleton (CEO), David Eade and Denver Gibson.

Business Continuity Institute takes leadership role to help develop the Emergency 2.0 Wiki

 

Paul Trebilcock, Emergency 2.0 Wiki Business Continuity Reference Group Leader

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Australasian Chapter is pleased to have the opportunity to be involved with the Emergency 2.0 Wiki initiative and lead the content development, management and promotion of the Business Continuity (BC) Section. 

The BCI is the world’s most eminent Business Continuity Management (BCM) institute and its name is instantly recognised as standing for good practice and professionalism. The aim of the BCI is to promote the art and science of Business Continuity Management worldwide.  The BCI currently has over 6000 members in 100 countries. 

The Wiki will be a key resource for the BCI community and will assist members to stay at the cutting edge of emergency communications technology.  For example, as new tools and applications are developed and released eg Google Plus, they will be posted on the Wiki and the BCI, in collaboration with the global Emergency 2.0 Wiki community, will develop practical guidelines on how to use these tools in the business continuity context. 

While the 2.0 Wiki has a focus on emergency communications, it will also compliment the BC Online Forum (BCOF), a BCI Australasian Chapter initiative.  The BCOF website is currently under development as a pilot project with the aim of providing a forum to facilitate information exchange between BC practitioners and stakeholders on issues, incidents and events occurring in the region.  

I strongly encourage all members of the BCI and the broader BC community to play an active role in supporting this valuable global initiative.  

 

Paul Trebilcock OAM, MBCI

Lead – Emergency 2.0 Wiki Business Continuity Reference Group

BCI Forum Leader – Queensland

Lead – BC Online Forum 

 

 

Editors note: To visit the wiki, click this link If you’d like to help write, edit, peer review or comment on wiki content, you will need to first register via the Emergency 2.0 Wiki LinkedIn Group. Everyone’s input is welcome.