Emergency Public Information: Time for a National Discussion

On May 9, 2013, in Emergency Alert System, by with Remote Possibilities / Broadcast Warning Working Group

Initial feedback from the Greater Boston area was that no Shelter-In-Place (SPW) warnings were issued using EAS. We do know that social media and illuminated road signs and other means were used to get the word out, so why not EAS? We also know an SPW went out to cell phones using Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), as noted here on AWARE.

If these early reports are verified, this is clear case when all possible warning systems, including the EAS, should have been employed to warn the Greater Boston public to Shelter-In-Place. The timing of the event should have led to a regional and event-specific EAS SPW that would have asked commuters outside the city to not drive or commute into the affected area. Continue reading »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Source:  House.gov

Source: House.gov

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 »

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