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


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 also follow on Twitter @VOSTAus.

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

Also see VOSG International at 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

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


Preparathon FB postImagine a world where using social media for disaster resilience is the social norm. Where the whole community joins together to use social media to help prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, resulting in more lives saved, properties protected and faster community recovery.

Imagine a world where emergency services, government, NGOs, schools, hospitals, community groups, media, business and citizens use social media to inform, share and collaborate to face emergencies and disasters.

Citizens promoting resilience

Imagine a world where in the leadup to disaster seasons such as floods, the whole community uses social media to raise awareness and share preparedness plans with their friends, family and workplaces. A great example of this is America’s Preparathon! a nationwide, community based campaign by to increase emergency preparedness. A key strategy is TweetChats (see above).

Another key strategy is providing disaster preparedness social media toolkits for the community to use for social media sharing. See this Facebook post encouraging people to share flood safety in their community by downloading a flood safety toolkit with suggested Tweets, Facebook posts and graphics:

Floodsafety social media kit 2015-02-28_14-47-48
Empowering people with disabilities

Imagine a world where people with a disability use social media to better prepare for and respond to disasters and where the accessibility issues of using social media no longer exist. We created the Wiki Accessibility Toolkit with tips to help people with a disability overcome social media issues and to help agencies ensure their social media messages are accessible:

Wiki accessibility toolkit

Sending Twitter Alerts directly to mobile phones

Imagine a world where emergency agencies in all countries send Twitter Alerts with urgent warning messages directly to citizen’s mobile phones. Unlike a normal tweet which can be missed, in times of emergency and disaster agencies can use Twitter Alerts to send push notifications to the mobile phones of those who signup. Here is an example of a Twitter Alert by the Queensland Police warning residents to evacuate ahead of Cyclone Marcia:

Providing multi-disaster smartphone apps that alert and empower

Imagine a world where every country has a free multi-disaster smartphone app that issues push notification warnings based on geolocation, empowers citizens to act as early warning detectors, offers live tweets from key official agencies, information on how to prepare for disasters, maps pinpointing evacuation shelters, that empowers citizens to share their own photos and videos from the disaster zone and to ask for or offer assistance with emergency relief.

While we can’t yet point you to a disaster app with all these features (if you know of one please contact us and we’ll add it to our global apps directory), we believe it’s possible because there are mobile disaster apps containing many of these features, such as the US Government Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) app below which provides disaster preparedness information, evacuation shelter lists, access to live tweets from official agencies, and enables citizens to share their own share images from disaster zones:

Fema crowdsource relief app 2014-08-26_7-25-27












Australia’s EmergencyAus smartphone app also has a number of these features such as multi-disaster alerts, push notification warnings based on geolocation, empowering citizens to act as early warning detectors including sharing photos from the scene, and to ask for or offer emergency relief. NB: this is not an official government app:

Emergency Aus app screenshot 2015

Crowdsourcing information

Imagine a world where emergency services partner with the community to crowdsource localized information from citizens. Where along with providing mobile apps enabling citizen information sharing, they also provide online crowdmaps with emergency information, which easily enable posting by the community via text, Tweet or email. For example this Tweet by Brisbane City Council promotes a crowdmap they created during the Queensland Floods in Australia in 2013 using a free user-friendly crowdmap provided by Ushahidi:

BCCfloodcrowdmaptweet 2013









Health services alerting to  pandemics and disaster response

Imagine if agencies in all countries used social media to instantly broadcast pandemic alerts and warnings to citizens, including information on how to prevent the spread of infection. For example with the Ebola outbreak, Nigeria agencies successfully used Twitter and Facebook to send alerts and infection control information to quickly contain the outbreak:

EbolaAlert, a nonprofit and volunteer lead initiative were key to this, and after their success in Nigeria they are operating in the other Ebola affected African countries.

Imagine a world where health services in every country use social media during disasters to alert the community to important updates such as hospital evacuations and closures, updates to patient’s families and to employees on reporting for work. See these tweets by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation during Hurricane Sandy that struck the US in 2012:

nycsandyhospitaltweets - Copy










Below is a tweet from Queensland Health on restoration of power to key hospitals after the recent Tropical Cyclone Marcia that struck northern Australia:

Digital volunteers provide information aid

Imagine a world where digital volunteers specialising in disaster response were utilised by all countries to provide ‘information aid’, helping emergency services monitor social media, respond to calls for help and map damage. The Digital Humanitarian Network (see below), Humanity Road and Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) are doing great work around the world assisting emergency service agencies in times of emergencies and disaster.

DHNetwork Activations Map 2015-02-27_17-04-08


Empowering communities to directly help each other in recovery

Imagine a world where in the recovery phase, social media, mobile apps and crowdmaps are used to empower communities to directly help one another by donating and accessing relief supplies, accommodation and volunteer help. Below is an example of a crowdmap for disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy 2013:

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Crowdmap


Together we can create this world!

We believe that together we can create such a world, because as we have demonstrated, there are examples of this already happening.

But we still have a long way to go before using social media for disaster resilience becomes a social norm… where the whole of the community: emergency services, government, NGOs, hospitals, schools, community groups, business, media and citizens join together to use social media to inform, share and collaborate to face emergencies and disasters.

Capacity building and empowerment

We believe what is needed is capacity building by providing the ‘know how’ for using social media and new technologies in the disaster context, and empowerment by providing access to the tools to enable the community to help themselves and each other.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki, as an online global information hub and collaborative knowledge sharing model crowdsourcing the latest technology and best practices for using social media for disaster resilience, is committed to capacity building and empowering communities.

The wiki has tips and resources for citizens, emergency agencies, local government, schools, hospitals, NGOs, community groups and business to use social media to better prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. We encourage you to use the resources, adapt our tips for your own messaging and link to us.

We also encourage you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and join our LinkedIn group.

Changing policy

We believe that governments also need policy change to ensure agencies integrate social media into emergency management and disaster resilience and we are advocating for this. We also believe this policy change needs to incorporate a whole of community partnership approach to using social media for disaster resilience. Watch this space for a report on the anticipated inclusion of social media in the new global disaster framework to be ratified at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) to be held in Sendai City in Japan this week 14-18 March.

We made recommendations for the technological input toward the post 2015 framework via a special conference, the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC Davos 2014) coordinated by the Global Risk Forum in collaboration with the UNISDR. We encourage you to add your voice to the online policy debate for WCDRR via #WCDRR and #Road2sendai.

We need you!



Social media and new technology is changing so rapidly that what is best practice today for using social media in emergencies and disasters is not best practice tomorrow. It’s why the Emergency 2.0 Wiki is such an important resource – we save people time trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ by providing up to date information and tips on using the new technologies in the emergency context.

As a volunteer driven non profit, we are always on the lookout for volunteers keen to share their knowledge and to help us drive and promote the wiki. See How to Help for more information.


We are looking to increase our knowledge sharing alliances with like-minded organisations. For more information please contact our CEO


We are looking for sponsors to partner with us to support our operations and to deliver key initiatives such as our proposed Community Resilience Toolkit and Business Resilience Toolkit. To discuss please contact our CEO

Pro bono partners

We are seeking pro bono partners to provide accounting, web and graphic design services. To discuss please contact our CEO

Our Strategic Plan

Want to know more about where we are headed? Here’s a link to our Strategic Plan that we developed ‘wiki style’, by incorporating ideas crowdsourced from the online community.  We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who put forward their ideas.

Thank you

Thank you to our Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community who help us provide this vital resource including our volunteers, reference group members, alliance partners, pro bono partners and board members. We look forward to working with the global community in 2015 in helping make social media for disaster resilience a social norm.

Many thanks,

Eileen Culleton, Founder and CEO (voluntary)

p.s. Together we can create a world where using social media for disaster resilience is a social norm
p.p.s. Follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle+

Future scenarios

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