Could Social Media Save Your EM Job?

Post by: Kim Stephens

It is no secret that budget cuts have impacted the emergency management community directly, particularly the position of EM Director. Some community leaders view the EM’s job as dispensable, one that can be filled by the Fire Chief or by a very limited part-time person or volunteer. Isn’t the EM job only necessary in a “disaster”? However, I believe that by using social networking tools to provide a continuous stream of preparedness and crisis communications, EMs can demonstrate the value of  their organization to the community every day. These tools also help EMs build relationships with community members that was never possible with traditional websites. This comes in handy when the time comes for the budget ax. I was very happy today to see a direct example of this from Laclede County, Missouri Office of Emergency Management.

I love this post to their Facebook page, they tell the public how much of the overall budget their office represents, only 1.27%, and request people to “weigh in” on the upcoming hearing.

Getting people to support your office, of course, depends on how well received you are in your community. But, gaining  support for emergency services from people that might not ever personally need your direct assistance can be challenging. By using social media, however, you can connect to community members and provide relevant advise people can heed in their daily lives.  The word “relevance” is key. If you are not relevant in someone’s life then they will not think twice about removing your service from their list of items they have to pay for on the tax bill. Laclede OEM appears to do a great job getting that relevant content to their followers and do have a healthy fan base.

Good luck Laclede! Let us all know how it goes on the 11th!

4 responses to “Could Social Media Save Your EM Job?

  1. Wow, thank you guys! One of my associates dropped me a note to let me know you were talking about us. We try and keep the public educated and informed about issues; and to not let us “fall off their radar”. Social media has proved to be very helpful for us in that avenue!

  2. Hello Kim,

    My name is Sam Lanier and I am the CEO of FireWhat Inc. We are developing social media applications to crowd source the public in the event of a Major Wildfire. Currently our app has a cost, but we are developing two new applications. One of which will be free, and the other will be $.99. The apps let folks know when a wildfire is in there area and provides information on Evacuation routes, Information Centers, and also gives a list of guides to prepare people for evacuating there homes in the event of a major disaster.

    The app also allows individuals to post information directly to the @firewhat twitter feed which sends info out to responders and the like.

    Anyhow, it seems you have a great following of resources. I’d like to chat one day and maybe see if you can help us spread the word on our project.



  3. Good Stuff!

  4. Thanks for commenting Jonathan. I really appreciate the example you all provided.

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