Utilising social media to build resilience to emergencies

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki presented at the Gov 2.0 Conference 2012 in Canberra, Australia, this week on how government agencies can utilise social media to build resilience to emergencies.

Our participation in this conference supports our vision “to help build resilient communities, empowered with the knowledge to use social media in emergency communications”.

Gov 2.0 is an annual conference bringing together innovators from government and the private sector to highlight technologies and ideas that can be applied to the challenges of achieving an open, transparent and consultative form of government.

Our presentation shared how government agencies can become ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready’ by:

  • Using social media to help your agency, employees and customers better prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies
  • Empowering employees with the knowledge of how to use social media in emergencies
  • Using social media channels for emergency communication, monitoring and business continuity
  • Identifying emergency apps, maps, tools, tips and guidelines

Checkout the presentation and please share it with others. We’d also love to hear what you think!

Cheers,

Eileen

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)

US Government releases social media community engagement guide for emergency preparedness

To coincide with September being National Preparedness Month, the US Government has released a social media guide “Community Engagement Guidance and Best Practices” for first responders.

In support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “Whole of Community” approach to emergency management, this guide discusses best practices for the use of social media by public safety agencies and partner organisations for meaningful and successful engagement of community members and stakeholders.

“Whole of Community” is described as including non-governmental organisations like faith-based and non-profit groups, the private sector, academia, individuals, families and communities.

“Social media can provide a means to tap into community and volunteer efforts, saving resources and time by leveraging existing networks, identifying existing resources, encouraging information sharing between the “whole of the community” and official response organisations, and helping to ensure that all information shared is immediate, accurate and up-to-date.” (page 7)

The guide defines and discusses various goals for community engagement, such as “to encourage individual connectivity and promote community resources”, “to promote and encourage efficiency, credibility and transparency” and “to encourage multidirectional sharing of essential information”.

Challenges and considerations covered include “Brand Management and Awareness” and how to address “Oversaturation of information”.

Recommendations and use cases are provided for topics such as:

  • Crowdsourcing for creative problem solving
  • Online collaboration and multi-media information sharing
  • Developing creative and engaging content
  • Relationship building and community partnerships
  • Volunteer networks

This guide builds on earlier social media guides “Social Media Strategy” and “Next Steps Strategy” produced in January by the First Responder Communities of Practice Virtual Social Media Working Group. The Emergency 2.0 Wiki has now added this set of guides to the Emergency Preparation section and the Library joining the following guides sourced from around the globe:

  • “Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide” (New Zealand – for which the wiki facilitated an international review)
  • “Project to Advance Crisis and Emergency Communications” (Canada)
  • “Use of social media in crisis communication” (Belgium)

We hope these guides will be utilised internationally to help accelerate the adoption of social media for emergency management and create ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready Communities’. The guide is also available via the FirstResponder.gov site. Please share widely.

Cheers,

Eileen

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)

Wiki facilitates international review of new SMEM guide

We are proud to announce the Emergency 2.0 Wiki facilitated an international review of a new social media for emergency management guide which is freely available to all online.

The guide, “Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide” was developed for the emergency management sector in New Zealand by the Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group and prepared by Opus International.

Due to the Emergency 2.0 Wiki’s role as a global hub facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing across all industry sectors, we were asked to facilitate an international review of the draft guide by experts in SMEM to provide insights and input.

As well as the emergency sector these experts were also drawn from the health, government, academia and private sectors (see list of contributors below).

While developed for emergency managers, this guide provides valuable generic content and practical tips, checklists and templates that could be adapted by all industry sectors aiming to become emergency 2.0 ready.

Topics include:

Before an Emergency

  • Important considerations before engaging in social media
  • Technology types
  • Policy and strategy
  • Staffing and resourcing
  • Streamlining information release and labelling of reliability
  • Legal considerations
  • Building your online presence

 During an emergency

  • Resource allocation
  • Links with the community and other organisations
  • Building trust with the community during an event
  • Information out (including alerts and information release, addressing rumours)
  • Information In (analytic tools, validating community information)

After an Emergency

  • Some quick tips (including evaluating your social media response)

Checklists and templates

  • Checklists for actions to take before, during and after an emergency
  • Templates for monitoring of information, and information release and alerts

It is important to highlight this is only the third social media for emergency management guide in the world to be published and made freely available online (if you know of any others please tell us). The other two, also available via the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Library are:

  • “Project to Advance Crisis and Emergency Communications” via Partnerships Towards Safer Communities (PTSC-Online) created for the Canadian emergency management sector
  • “Use of Social media in crisis communication” via Kortom created for the Flemish emergency management sector

These guides were also referenced in the development of this guide, as was the Emergency 2.0 Wiki. We have also added the guide as a resource to the Wiki Emergency Preparation, Emergency Response and Emergency Recovery sections.

International Review Contributors

We would like to thank the following experts (drawn from the emergency, government, health, academia and private sectors) who contributed their time and expertise to reviewing the guide:

We hope this guide will help to accelerate the adoption of social media for emergency management globally and we encourage you all to share it widely. It is also available online for free download from the Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group website.

Cheers,

Eileen

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)

Introducing our first Guest Tweeter!

Patrice Cloutier

We are pleased to announce that our first Guest Tweeter for @emergency20wiki, Patrice Cloutier, will start tweeting for us this week!

This is a new initiative in which we will be inviting leaders in social media and emergency communications from around the world to Guest Tweet for a month. This will provide our wiki community with increased exposure to the latest news and developments in the field from different global perspectives.

Patrice Cloutier, from Ontario, Canada, is respected internationally as a leader in social media and emergency communications and his two blogs, crisis comms command post and Crisis & Emergency Communications on PTSC-Online provide valuable insights to this field. Patrice also leads the Wiki Emergency Response Reference Group.

Patrice describes himself as:

  • an interested observer of social media’s role in emergency management and crisis communications
  • avid blogger
  • civil servant in Ontario, Canada
  • former journalist

We look forward to his tweets!

PS. You can also follow him on Twitter on @patricecloutier.

Cheers,

Eileen

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)