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


#SMEM Directory

Guest Post by: Catherine Graham, Humanity Road

wiki20SMEMWe have published our Humanity Road USA #SMEM directory!  There are over 3,000 counties in the USA – Finding the right information fast in disaster is important.  Our mission at Humanity Road is to connect the public to information they need on how to survive, sustain and reunite.  In pursuit of that Humanity Road has been collating information on official social media emergency management accounts and using this list at the onset of disaster.

We are pleased to announce that in partnership with Emergency 2.0 Wiki and through the Humanitarian Toolbox initiative in a hackathon held this weekend in Austin, TX this information has now been published to a public directory with Emergency 2.0 Wiki.  This is the first step in creating the USA #SMEM directory and it is the largest directory of its kind for USA based social media accounts.  As social media emergency management accounts grow, so will this directory.

Humanity Road is committed to preparedness, response and process improvement in response to disaster.  It’s through process improvement that we gain headway in mitigating loss of life and property and help catalyze the recovery.  In transitioning this important directory to the public domain we also are launching an SMEM Directory forum for page administration roles for each state and USA territories.   The following pages have been published:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Districts & Territories:  American SamoaDistrict of Columbia, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Minor Outlying Islands, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

As you can see it was a large undertaking! We wish to thank all those volunteers who have spent many many hours collecting this data and to the development team who gave up their weekend to make this directory a reality.  We extend a special thank you to Katelyn Keegan who initiated this project, and to Robin Smith who truly helped make it a reality through her many hours of research and tenacity.

Humanitarian Toolbox logoA big thank you to @ClearMeasure  @jeffreypalermo  @mattsell  @phredAustin in Austin Texas for hosting the hackathon that helped make it a reality as well as @EileenCulleton with @Emergency20wiki and @TonySurma with the Humanitarian Toolbox team.  The Humanitarian Toolbox project is proving that when disaster strikes, code saves lives! The Humanitarian Toolbox is a sustained effort to leverage technology and skilled volunteer communities to solve the needs of response organizations and communities affected by natural disasters.  The creation of this directory is a good example of the benefits that can be achieved through such a valuable program.

It’s important to maintain and grow the directory as the field of Social Media in emergency response grows.   If you are interested in being listed as your state liaison for the #SMEM Directory sign up here

A huge thanks to the volunteer team at Humanity Road for your daily commitment to humanity!

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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)

Imagine a world of resilient communities empowered to use social media in disasters #2030NOW

Image courtesy Emergency 2.0 Australia Project

Image courtesy Emergency 2.0 Australia Project

Right now a global conversation is taking place online via #2030NOW about what kind of world we want in 2030.

Instigated by the Social Good Summit (22-24 September) in New York, with meetups around the globe, leading experts, advocates and innovators are sharing their ideas on how social media and technology can address some of the world’s biggest challenges.

SocialGoodSummit_Logo_2013_bWe’re adding our voice to the discussion, sharing ideas on how we can all help build resilient communities empowered to use social media in disasters. As well as taking part in the Twitter conversation, we’ll also be highlighting our article published on Plus Social Good, a community linked to the Summit. Please see the excerpt below:

“Imagine a world where during a disaster everyone knows how to use social media to save their own lives and the lives of others.

Where the whole of the community: emergency services, government, NGOs, community groups, business, media and citizens use social media to inform, share and collaborate to face disaster.

Where emergency services utilise social media to instantly broadcast emergency warnings to the public. Where citizens have emergency apps on their mobile devices providing them with live alerts, information on how to prepare for disasters and maps of evacuation shelters. And, which empowers them to share disaster information from the scene using social media.

Where emergency services actively crowdsource localised information from citizens? Where emergency information, road closures, live photos and video are posted on crowdmaps by the whole of community.

Where digital volunteers locally and across the globe work around the clock to help emergency services monitor social media and respond in real time to calls for help.

Where in the recovery phase of a disaster, 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.

We, the Emergency 2.0 Wiki community, believe this vision of resilient communities, empowered to use social media in disasters is possible and are actively working around the world to make this a reality. To help facilitate this, we created the Wiki, a world first free global resource for using social media in emergencies.” To read more please see Plus Social Good.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is looking forward to joining the #2030NOW discussion and sharing ideas on how we can all help build resilient communities empowered to use social media in disasters. We encourage you to add your voice!


Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (voluntary)

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