Emergency Management Resource Site Needed for Social Media Implementation

Post by: Kim Stephens

I have come to the conclusion that the emergency management community needs a website to assist them in their efforts to implement social media campaigns.  Although I am quite proud of this blog and its list of resources, I find myself envious of the social media site built by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  The mission of the site, as stated on their webpage:

…to build the capacity of law enforcement to use social media to prevent and solve crimes, strengthen police-community relations, and enhance services. The IACP will be creating practical tools and resources to enable law enforcement personnel to develop or enhance their agency’s use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations.

By highlighting the service this center provides, I hope to draw the attention of maybe IAEM, NEMA or even the ICMA to try to develop a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA to create a similar resource for the emergency management community.

Information and how-to’s regarding the implementation of a social media presence are available for local OEMs if they search for them. However, there really  isn’t one central location, not even the First Responders Communities of Practice (FRCoP) site, where a local agency can go to find everything from best practices, to a hyperlinked directory of every OEM in the country using social media. The FRCoP is more of a forum where first responders can discuss problems and highlight best practices, but since it relies on input from the community itself, it does not represent a complete compendium of information.

The first “getting started” page of the IACP site is a good example of why the EM community should be a little green with envy. For instance, under the Policy Development tab, there are model policies, legal considerations and guidance; under Strategy Development, agencies are encouraged to determine their goals and objectives before implementing a SM presence;  and of course, there is a tab for tutorials and guides on how to set up SM pages.

Although you can peruse the site yourself, I’d like to highlight another feature I found interesting, the topics page. This page provides timely information about 16 different topics, each with a description and then three tabs:

  1. Case studies
  2. Current news, and
  3. Publications

Publications include such items as fact sheets. For example, under the alerts & notifications topic there are fact sheets on twitter and facebook in printable, PDF formats.

One last page I’d like to highlight is the page on Case Law. Again, this page is presented in a searchable format with hyperlinks to full cases once you find the information you were looking for.

Although the emergency management community could turn to the IACP site for guidance, I believe there are issues specific to the EM community that they don’t address (crisis mapping and ICS, for example).

My hope is that those with an interest in social media and emergency management can make some noise for either an agency or an association to copy this very useful resource.

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6 responses to “Emergency Management Resource Site Needed for Social Media Implementation

  1. Hello Kim … A colleague and mine have embarked on a project on crisis communications and emergency management that focuses a lot of attention on the use of social media. It’s on a site called PTSC-Online (partnership toward safer communities). Here’s the link: http://www.ptsc-online.ca/home … our project is here: http://www.ptsc-online.ca/crisis_and_emergency_communications

    Although this site is Canadian … it might provide some good ideas …
    And thanks for the good work … a lot of the resources you’ve identified are very useful to us up here in the Great White North !

  2. Thanks Patrice, I was just on your site today, as a matter of fact. Your project looks very interesting and I think it will definitely yield some good results. There is so much information available on this topic that it is great to have people like yourself trying to make sense of it all.

  3. Besides IACP’s new social media site, which I contribute to as a blogger. First responders do have a new site which is put out by Homeland Security.

    https://communities.firstresponder.gov/web/make-america-safer-through-social-media/home

    here there are wiki’s etc, community interaction from all disiplines of first responders

  4. There is no question something like this is needed in the Emergency Management field. A combination of content experts and a professional association with the clientele and track record to bring new information to the community would be ideal.

    Let’s hope someone from FEMA is paying attention!

    Claire B. Rubin

  5. Hi Kim; Your blog is a great resource. A friend and I have recently incorporated a nonprofit in WA to help emergency managers set up and efficiently manage a social media presence. We hope to offer workshops and on-line advice and reviews. We’re finding that some emergency managers are not particularly interested in social media.

    • That is true, most EMs are a little leery of the medium; that is why I think a resource-site endorsed by DHS along with backing from NEMA or IAEM is so important. I think emergency managers would feel more comfortable with it if they thought it wasn’t just a passing fad and understood the benefits it affords for community engagement.

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