Social Media

Lets Talk Tools

On March 26, 2013, in Social Media, by with Altus Emergency Management

SMEMBack in the early days of social media in emergency management (SMEM), early adopters adapted based on their favorite tools. Then the tool ended, e.g., Timely.IS. Then the scramblers, especially those who lacked a plan for social media engagement, raced to find a new tool to replace the old tool.  Even others developed multiple “favorite” tools to do multiple jobs.

Is it over? No. People still are looking for tools and new tools are being developed to help with new platforms of social media.

Looking at tools today may be necessary, but only after one develops the need for using social media. This article focuses on tools that can foster and forge team building and communication. Continue reading »

Tagged with:

Who remembers CONELRAD?

On March 19, 2013, in Alerts & Warnings 101, Emergency Alert System, Social Media, by with Altus Emergency Management

Yes, the image above has two triangles. Otherwise known as “Civil Defense” symbols, they are images of the Cold War.

CONELRAD: Radio meets the Civil Defense describes the two radio channels folks would tune to listen for news and updates in the “event of an actual emergency”.

CONELRAD became the Emergency Alert System and the triangles on the AM radios on the dash of the automobiles became Cold War Relics.

That was then and this is now. Has it improved?  Today, there is competition for the message. The emergency manager is challenged with getting the word out to folks listening to their MP3 player inside a house with the windows shut and the vacuum running.

No longer does the emergency manager have two frequencies upon which to place his warning message. The emergency manager must be aware of ALL the methods is customer uses to get news and information and, yes, even entertainment.

When the emergency manager hears that the customer wants him to be on Social Media, which one of them should he use? Does he dare omit Twitter to favor Google+? Does he simply say “I’m on Facebook. If you want the message, tune there.”?

This is why warning professionals encourage folks to have THREE ways to get information. At any given time, all three will be working or two may not.

What three are you using?

Weather alerts for the New York City area during Superstorm Sandy, as displayed by Google Public Alerts

Weather alerts for the New York City area during Superstorm Sandy, as displayed by Google Public Alerts

Hurricane Sandy put social media’s value for emergency response on the front page. Patrice Cloutier goes so far as to assert that “there’ll now be a before Sandy and post-Sandy in SMEM.” There’s no doubt: people use social media during disasters to get and give information and to interact with authorities. But is this the full picture? This article looks more broadly at social media’s potential and asks some questions we’ll be exploring in future articles. Continue reading »

Tagged with:

Do I need to use social media?

On January 28, 2013, in Social Media, by with Altus Emergency Management

At the recent Oklahoma Emergency Management Conference breakout session on social media, that burning question was asked.

The short answer given was “No”.  No one HAS to use social media.  Nevertheless, 69% of people surveyed by the Red Cross said they expected public safety officials to respond to questions and pleas from the public on social media. Continue reading »

Tagged with:


This year’s presidential inauguration marks a historical landmark for emergency management. For the first time ever, organizers will have dedicated staff monitoring tweets and other social media outlets to help manage crowds gathering in Washington D.C. This is one of several initiatives outlined in a comprehensive crowd management plan for the 2013 inaugural ceremonies. Chaired by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) designed the plan to address issues from the 2009 inauguration, when many ticketholders missed the ceremonies because they were stuck in an underground pedestrian tunnel and turned to Twitter and other social media sites to communicate about the issue. While local, state and federal agencies have used social media for situational awareness in the past, this is the first time presidential inauguration staff has been dedicated to monitoring social media for the purposes of real time crowd control.  This year also marks the first time the JCCIC will use Facebook to share event information with the public. Continue reading »

Tagged with: