#SMEMau Australian Disasters – 2nd Annual #SMEMchat Special Event

Guest Post by: Joanna Lane, Virtual Operations Support Group (VOSG)

Open Invitation

Injured wombat and kangaroo


On Twitter, event hashtag: #SMEMau

For those new to twitter, follow the discussion at http://bit.ly/RPe6ow or search for the #SMEMau hashtag


Friday 9th May 2014 – 0900 to 1030 Australia AET

Thursday 8th May 2014 – 1900 to 2030 US EDT

For other time zones: www.timeanddate.com

The purpose of the #SMEMau Special Event is to create an open learning forum about the role of Social Media in Emergency Management in Australia and to assist Australia to become a more proactive, disaster resilient country. Challenges in Emergency Management (AU) include:

  • Incorporating social media into catastrophic and large-scale events
  • Maintaining situational awareness in complex environments
  • Coordinated operations and integrated doctrine
  • Exploring models (such as VOST) to surge capability and capacity
  • Exploring partnerships with NGO & private sector

Map Jan 2014 BOMParticipants are invited to share lessons learned, accomplishments and new initiatives in the context of all incidents including recent wildfire, cyclone, tsunami and other severe weather events, from across Australia and beyond.

  • To provide clarification of the effectiveness of social media in disasters and its contribution to relief across the full spectrum of preparedness, response, and recovery mission efforts.
  • To provide participants direct insight from practitioners “directly engaged on the ground” in Australia as to how and when Social Media is being employed in their efforts.
  • To provide participants a forum to ask questions and offer comments or solicit additional feedback in real time based on their understanding of how Social Media is being implemented.
  • To identify best practices and share lessons learned in the use of Social Media in a regional or nationally significant catastrophic event.
  • To demonstrate the use of real-time Twitter search to find disaster traffic, as proposed by Project Self-Serve.

10415767646_15928ae175_bAt the conclusion of this #SMEMau Special Event participants will gain new insight into the utility of Social Media in Emergency Management and understand how and when it can be most effectively utilized based on a real world event. New techniques, learned over the last 12 months, will be shared.

Participants will better understand the barriers and challenges to the effective use of Social Media and how; or if those obstacles can be successfully overcome while simultaneously managing a regional or nationally significant catastrophic event.

Based on the insight and knowledge gained through engaging in this #SMEMau Special Event, participants will be better prepared to plan and execute a Social Media Emergency Management Strategy and Plan in their local areas for disasters which they are directly impacted by or responsible for.

Participants will recognize the benefit and value of #SMEMau as a premier source of information, knowledge, and insight into the emerging and evolving field of Social Media in Emergency Management, and will return often to both participate and contribute, and expand the base of participation by inviting those in their own networks to become involved and participate as well.

Who Should Attend

13782083785_530c785cec_bAnyone curious about or engaged in social media for emergency management in all phases of emergency and disaster, including:

  • emergency managers
  • public information officers
  • media journalists and bloggers
  • SMEM and VOST practitioners, consultants and trainers
  • social media operators
  • health professionals and hospital crisis managers
  • media liaison staff
  • councils / shires
  • animal welfare agencies
  • elected officials from VIC / NSW / QLD / TAS / SA / WA / NT / ACT
  • non-government organisations
  • digital volunteers
  • technology partners

Please use this form to submit questions in advance: http://bit.ly/1tzmTsY

Further Reading

Links to what we did last year. 2013 #SMEMau Australia Bushfires Complete Archives: http://bit.ly/14mtmuJ 2013 Storify: http://bit.ly/Pxk8rU

vosglogo-120hVOSG 2014 Event Committee: Joanna Lane, Robert Dunne, Brad Lemon, Daniel Eshuis, Eileen Culleton, Caroline Milligan, Cedric Moro, Nathan Hunerwadel, Lise St. Denis

Please join us!

Photo Credits

Injured wombat and kangaroo joeys rescued from the Riddles Creek fire convalesce at Pastoria East Wildlife shelter. Picture: Rob Leeson Source: News Limited:  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/bushfire-watch-warnings-remain-in-place-across-victoria-as-bushfires-continue-to-burn/story-fnl2cq7o-1226821646947

Map Jan 2014: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Bushfires Oct 2013: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garyhayes/10415767646/in/set-72157636648984283/

Tropical Cyclone Ita Off-Shore Queensland, Australia: NASA/NOAA via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory Credit: NASA/NOAA via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

We’re crowdsourcing ideas for our Strategic Plan!

Flickr Lyn Friedman

Flickr Lyn Friedman

We’re crowdsourcing ideas for our Strategic Plan and we’d love to hear yours!

To coincide with our upcoming 2nd birthday on 8 December, we’ve released our Draft Strategic Plan and shared it as a Google Doc. To capture your ideas and feedback we’ve created a Google Doc Feedback Form.

We will publicly acknowledge all who participated when we publish the final strategic plan.

Flickr Randy Le'Moine

Flickr Randy Le’Moine

Our Vision

To help build resilient communities empowered with the knowledge to use social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

What we believe
Social media, disaster apps

Social media & disaster apps on cellphone

We believe that together we can help create a world where during emergencies and disasters, communities use social media to save their own lives and the lives of others.

  • Where emergency services use social media to issue alerts and warnings
  • Where emergency services engage with the community as partners
  • Where the community is prepared, including people with a disability
  • Where digital volunteers from across the globe provide ‘information aid’ during and after disasters
  • Where the community helps the community recover
  • Checkout our future scenarios for what this could look like in action.
Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community via TweepsMap

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community via TweepsMap

Who we are

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is a nonprofit driven entirely by volunteers. Our volunteers form a global, online, collaborative community of professionals and organisations drawn from emergency services, government, NGO’s, business, health, education and media, sharing their knowledge to help create resilient communities.

We utilise the Wiki, this Blog, Twitter, a LinkedIn Group, Google +, YouTube, Slideshare, Skype, Google+ Hangouts and Google Docs to communicate, collaborate, crowdsource and co-create.

emergency2.0wiki_logo_colour_lowres (2)The 4 key areas of focus for our Strategic Plan are:
  1. Become financially & operationally viable
  2. Increase participation & collaboration
  3. Increase reach
  4. Increase content
 Timeframe: Sunday 8 December (AEDT)

The Draft Strategic Plan is open for your ideas and feedback via the Feedback Form for two weeks. The deadline is Sunday 8 December (AEDT). Please share this post with people you believe could add value to this process.  It takes a global community to maintain the Emergency 2.0 Wiki, so we are looking forward to your ideas. Thank you in advance!

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Twitter mosaic

Emergency 2.0 Wiki Twitter mosaic

Other ways you can become involved

We thought now would also be a good time to invite you to become more involved. Our How to Help page outlines lots of options. Here are a few:

  • Join one of our Reference Groups to help lead the content development of the Wiki.
  • Join a Wiki Work Team to help drive key areas such as marketing and communications, education and training, library and research
  • Become a Pro bono partner. We are seeking pro bono partnerships for Accounting Services, Marketing and Communications and other services

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki community are an inspirational group of people helping create resilient communities across the globe. Many thanks to all of you and we look forward to your continued support for a successful year three!

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary)

Join us to highlight disability on International Day for Disaster Reduction #iddr

We invite you to join us in highlighting the issue of disability this International Day for Disaster Reduction (13 October) by participating in a Thunderclap and helping promote our Accessibility Toolkit. The focus of #idrr is on the one billion people around the world who live with some form of disability.

By joining the Thunderclap social media campaign you will be helping the UNISDR to amplify and promote IDDR on 13 October. By signing up with Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr you will be a part of spreading the word simultaneously across the globe!

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 caneAs part of  #iddr we will be promoting the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit and invite you to help spread the word about this lifesaving resource by sharing this post, re-tweeting our tweets, +1’ng our Google+ post and linking to the toolkit in your posts.

The Accessibility Toolkit helps people with disabilities to use social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. The 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.

This resource is vital because we’ve witnessed from recent disasters that while social media can save lives, 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.

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.

Accessibility Reference Group Leader, Charlie Carter

Accessibility Reference Group Leader Charlie Carter

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 charlie@webbism.com.

We’d love your feedback on the kit. If you know of a resource we should add, please let us know.

Many Thanks,

Charlie Carter, Wiki Accessibility Reference Group Leader

Twitter launches emergency alerts

TwitteralertsFema screenshotWe are excited to share the news that Twitter has launched “Twitter Alerts” to enable official agencies to issue emergency alerts during times of crisis.

Users who sign up for an agency’s Twitter alerts will receive emergency messages directly to their mobile phone via a text message, push notification or highlighted Tweet.

The ability to issue Twitter Alerts via this service is available free to local, national and international institutions that provide critical information to the general public such as:

  • Law enforcement and public safety agencies
  • Emergency management agencies
  • City and municipal governments as well as their agencies and representatives
  • County and regional agencies, providing services to cities and municipalities
  • And select state, federal and national agencies and NGOs.

Agencies need to first apply (and update their security) and once approved they will then have the Alerts feature displayed on their Twitter profile which followers can click to sign up as indicated below:


Agencies will also receive a custom url to promote to their constituents to signup eg https://twitter.com/fema/alerts. This is critical as followers will not automatically receive Twitter Alerts – they must sign up for the service. The agency will have the Alert function available to them when they are signed in to Twitter, which they can then activate in times of emergency for specific tweets. The service also operates from mobile devices.

So far participating agencies have signed up from the United States, Japan and Korea. Global nonprofits include the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and World Health Organization.

We have added this information to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki in our Tips for the Public and also our Guidelines for Emergency Agencies, Government, Community Agencies, Schools and Business section on Establishing Social Media Channels.

We  also plan to add the participating agencies to our Emergency 2.0 Wiki global directory and are calling for volunteers to help add the content and keep it updated. If you are interested in helping please contact us.

Please help spread the word about Twitter Alerts to accelerate global takeup of this vital lifesaving service.

Many thanks,

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary)

Related Articles