YouTube Can Help Spread Emergency Preparedness Messages

Post by: Kim Stephens

Yesterday (March 26) I had the amazing honor of sitting on a panel at the National Emergency Managers Association with some of the most talented and creative emergency managers in the country, particularly with regard to their use and application of social media: Cheryl Bledsoe (@Cherylble), Greg Licamale (@G_r_e_g) Jeff Phillips (@JSPhillips), James Hamilton (disaster_guy), Chris Thompson (@redcrossmom), Brian Crumpler (@emgis), Rob Dudgeon (@sfDEMrob).

For my small contribution to that esteemed panel, I talked about how to creatively provide disaster preparedness information to the public via social media. My talk was based, in part, on this post.  A tweet today led me to another example of agencies doing great work in this area. The Greater Kansas City Region’s Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee  (MEMC) has developed three YouTube videos that  look and feel little like the Mac/PC commercials. They even have nice catchy music in the background. A big guy is “Mr. Disaster,” and he’s up to no-good. Another reasonable guy walks citizens through easy steps they can take to prepare for Mr. Disaster should he come their way.

The use of YouTube here, is important.  YouTube allows for videos to be shared easily on a multitude of platform: blogs, facebook, twitter, and google +.  The MEMC have embedded the video on their own webpage, and as you can see, I’ve posted the video to this blog post. This ease of sharing can only allow for more eyes to see the content and therefore, hopefully, increase public engagement and preparedness.

Is your agency creating this kind of message for YouTube? It would be fun to have a repository for those videos. Maybe the Emergency 2.0 wiki would be a good place for that.

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11 responses to “YouTube Can Help Spread Emergency Preparedness Messages

  1. I am a huge supporter for the use of social media in emergency managment and I really like these creative videos, however, I would have liked them better if they were captioned and audio described. People who are deaf or blind don’t have access to this valuable information. Building accessibility in at the outset and making it a part of your initial planning for whatever you do is important.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. To be honest, that is something I didn’t consider, and obviously, nor did they. Excellent observation!

  3. Thanks so much Kim for this article and shout out for the Emergency 2.0 Wiki! We’ve posted links to all three videos on the wiki here: http://bit.ly/GS0IVh
    If anyone has any more great videos they’d like to share (we’re also looking for disaster specific videos such as how to prepare for an earthquake, tsunami, blizzard etc) we’d love to hear from you! Maybe you could post a link on the comments section here… Thanks again Kim :)

  4. Wonderful Eileen! That is a great start!

  5. Great, creative use of social media – engaging with and educating people of all ages in order to prepare them for an emergency or disaster! Thanks Kim /C

  6. Here is a link to another great site that uses video for tornado preparedness. This page was put together by Missouri. There are a total of 4 videos here, they are not, unfortunately, on YouTube and therefore can’t be shared as easily. They do have written transcripts.
    http://stormaware.mo.gov/when-a-tornado-strikes/

  7. I think taking advantages of social media to convey emergency preparedness messages is a great idea. Many people (mostly in developing countries), have limited knowledge in emergency management. Through video like this, many people can gain more knowledge in emergency preparedness for free. Thank you for your post :)

    Bekti Mulatiningsih
    http://bmulatiningsih347.wordpress.com/

  8. Great article. YouTube is a very good channel to spread information in disaster, as you say.

  9. This particular video series I think has five more videos that have yet to be released. I know they had some conversation about making them more “friendly” to functional and access needs communities, but it was a limitation of technology and money. Because these were developed by a region that recently lost its UASI funding I am sure they made decisions to try and ensure they could get the most “bang for the buck”.

    • Thank you Adam. We are beginning to see some free open sources captioning tools like CaptionTube http://captiontube.appspot.com/ and iMovie for Mac has captioning features. The ADA requires “effective communitcation,” so providing a transcript of the content is acceptable if it is an undue hardship to caption. Since these videos show actions of the characters with words, in the transcript you can describe what is going on which would then give your viewers who are blind a scenario synopsis as well. Right now providing a transcript is acceptable but there is some indication that the Access Board may require in the Section 508 refresh that all multimedia tools include captioning and audio description. WGBH in Boston is a great resource for information regarding accessible media.

  10. Thank you Adam. We are beginning to see some free open source captioning such as CaptionTube coming out. http://captiontube.appspot.com/ The ADA requires “effective communication,” so when it is a undue hardship to provide captioning and/or audio description, a transcript of the content has been acceptable. Since in these videos the actors are doing various activities without speech, you can describe at the front of the video what is taking place for your viewers who are blind or have visual impairements. The Access Board currently is reviewing Section 508 for the 508 Refresh and there is some indication that in the Refresh all multimedia materials will be required to be captioned and audio described. We will have to wait and see. I hope this information is helpful.

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