Tag Archives: American Red Cross

Social Media and Emergency Management: Chatting Away

Post by: Kim Stephens

Twitter is a funny thing. For those unaccustomed to its power, it might just seem like a broadcast medium: a place to get your message out, period. But characterizing twitter or social media as such is completely missing the point. At its core, social media (both facebook and twitter) are tools for organizing groups of people with common interest, sharing information, or collaborating. For those of you interested in social media and its application to emergency management, a twitter group has formed around the hashtag #SMEM. This hashtag has attracted emergency managers, first responders, contractors, NGOs, volunteers, interested citizens and bloggers, such as myself. People go there to share information and best practices and to ask questions of the group, on an ongoing basis.

I have created a map of people using the hashtag in order to get a sense of its reach. To my surprise, people from all over the world have used the tag.  But emergency response personnel and/or interested public information officers might not have the time to watch the tag very often, but check it from time to time hoping to see content they are interested in. This is why the concept of a weekly chat was proposed. This past Friday, Jan 28, the first #SMEMchat occurred. Our goals were simple: test the concept and gauge interest.

I have summarized the chat below, and I hope it entices those who were not able to join us to try to mark their calendars for the next one. (Time/date, etc. will be announced on #SMEM).

Jeff Phillips, an Emergency Manager from New Mexico, agreed to be the moderator and composed some questions to lead the discussion. Questions 1 and 2 dealt with ground rules and how people had heard about the tag after its creation on 11/11/10.  A lot of people learned about it through the people they follow, including Jeff himself. Craig Fugate, FEMA Director,  joined the chat and indicated that he heard about it at the IAEM conference in San Antonio, Texas. In fact, Craig sent out a tweet about the tag and it “blew up” soon after that.

The third question was: “Are you aware that SMEM means bridging SM and EM? What does that mean to you? Why/how do you participate? This elicited some interesting responses but the consensus was “to learn from others” and to have a two-way conversation about how to best utilize social media for in the emergency management field.  Some people pointed out that twitter was the quickest way to pass information worldwide. Others participate on the SMEM tag to “pass useful info to the general public”.

The fourth question was “what are you doing locally/regionally to bridge SM & EM?” Jeff pointed out how in New Mexico they are using the power of social media in a “camp” format and that they have established local hashtags such as #NMEM, #NMFire, #NMStorm and #NMwx. As a side note, following Jeff @LosRanchosEM, is a great way to learn how to use social media to its full extent.

Other comments about bridging SM and EM ranged from developing an American Red Cross team to monitor social media traffic and other info streams for situational awareness (from @zborst), to tweets for Air Crew alerts (@jack4cap), and educating peers. In fact, trying to educate other local emergency managers about the power of social media became a conversation thread. Several people indicated that their local agencies were still fearful of the medium, seeing it as “for teenagers” or fearful to engage due to legal concerns.  Some people pointed out  how useful social media would be for rural areas underserved by any other kind of media–which is a great point.

Recommendations that came from that discussion thread:

  1. Develop FAQs and best practices from collective experiences, aggregate and publish best practices globally. (@FireTracker2)
  2. Provide information to emergency managers about citizens thirst for knowledge during large and small events (from snow storms to hurricanes) and desire to receive that information via social media. Examples exist: in NY  and Australia people were very vocal over a perception of a lack of information coming from their local govs when they knew nearby towns/cities were using social media successfully. @jack4cap illustrated this point even further: “Tuesday nite storms, FL county next door used tweets and nixel. My county, which is larger, better media: NOTHING, nada, NO INFO.”

The fifth question was about the SMEM wiki, were we aware of it? Jeff also asked for other links people followed.

  • I mentioned #lgovsm which is a tag used in Great Britain to discuss social media’s application for local government in general.
  • Others indicated that they use RSS feeds with keyword terms and then subscribe to blogs etc.
  • Just by following the SMEM tag, however, can provide enough reading material to last a lifetime.  People are very good about passing along good articles when they find them.

Question 6: “What points would you like to make about SMEM tag use and twitter etiquette? “Ah, a sore point for a lot of people. It seems the tag, with its heavy use by government officials, is just too enticing to not become a magnet. Key points about netiquette:

  • Don’t spam.
  • Don’t use SMEM for branding.
  • Don’t use it as a billboard.
  • Don’t use interns who don’t have good etiquette.
  • Don’t use it to announce how to get help during an emergency (it’s for discussion–not to pass disaster info. For example, when it snows in New Mexico Jeff sends out tweets that use #NMstorm; he doesn’t send out a tweet saying: “#SMEM It’s storming in NM”.)
  • DO: ask questions on the SMEM tag. People love to engage.

Last Question: “Should we do this again? How often? Move time around? Are you willing to host? Future topics.” There’s a lot in that one question. But the consensus was yes, we should do it again, fixed day, time each week in order to get more people to chat—e.g. they will be able to put it on their schedule.  The majority thought just one or two meatier questions would suffice. But there wasn’t really a consensus on which question for next week, per se.

But… that wasn’t the last question. Craig Fugate chimed in: “Branding issues and use of other hashtags, is there a need for the EM community to have a common way to share info?” This prompted a very good discussion about hashtag use during a crisis. In general, if you have a set tag (ala #NMstorm) that people are used to using, that is great. However, if you don’t, @FireTracker2 noted that you have to use the tag early in the event before the general public starts its own. If not,  your tweets will be marginalized. He suggested just following the public’s lead: “USE WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE USES!– he yelled virtually.

Recommendations gleamed from the discussion on hashtags:

  • Use tags related to the area: “#boulderfire perfect, #fourmilecanyonfire too complex, #wildfire too many false positives.” from @allhazardsblog
  • Cheryl Bledsoe (EM from Vancouver, Washington) stated: “I like seeing state tags like #CA #NM with the incident tag so users quickly know geographic region of threat”.
    • This is a good point, and a good reason why #911 would never work
    • Craig gave a shout out to Tweak the tweet—others mentioned that format as well.
    • @IndianRiverCOEM indicated that @NWSChat was something worth looking at for good collaboration.

It looks as if Indian River had the last word. Nonetheless, I think it was a great discussion and opportunity to collaborate. I look forward to the next chat. Join us! Folllow #SMEM for more info and to volunteer to host! Click here for a complete transcript.


Can Social Media aid mental health recovery after the BP Oil Spill?

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill - MODIS/Aqua Detai...

Image by SkyTruth via Flickr

Post by: Kim Stephens

When a disaster occurs people organize themselves to help recover and this helps the community heal, not just tangibly, but according to mental health professionals, intangibly as well, with mental health recovery. Increasingly, social media are being used to help in that regard. For example, just this week in the aftermath of students being held hostage by another student for many hours at a high school in Marinette, Wisconsin, a facebook page was launched in order to “to get the high school students back together as a community … and to help move forward.”  We also reported on this blog about similar efforts after the Boulder, Colorado wilfires.

However, this phenomenon does not seem to be playing out in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill along the gulf coast. According to experts interviewed for an interesting story on NRP this week entitled: BP Oil Spill Scars similar to Exxon Valdez,  man-made technological disasters such as DeepWater Horizon and Exxon Valdez can literally alter the way a community functions.

“It’s almost like Exxon Valdez fast-forward,” says Steven Picou, an environmental sociologist at the University of South Alabama. Picou has spent the past 20 years tracking the mental health fallout around Prince William Sound.”In Alaska, the communities up there were blindsided,” he says. “They did not realize what was happening to them until the suicides started and the divorces started and the domestic violence became acute in the communities.” Picou is seeing the same problems now on the Gulf Coast, even sooner than they surfaced after the Exxon Valdez spill. In Alaska, he says, there were seven suicides starting about four years after the spill. He says at least two suicides have been linked to distress over the BP oil spill. In response, the Red Cross, houses of worship and mental health providers have stepped up counseling and outreach. Picou is training “peer listeners” — people ready to identify oil spill-related stress and help their families and neighbors cope.

In fact, after digging around, I haven’t really found an organic organization offering that same kind of “moving-together-as-a-community” mentality that you see after most natural disasters. Of course traditional groups such as the American Red Cross are providing services, but it seems telling that the only type of groups to spontaneously form are ones offering heavy doses of vitriol pointed at either BP, the government or both.

The group on the left is still around after protesting the spill, but doesn’t offer any “hey, let’s get together and help each other” information. The NPR story, explained why this might be the case:

“Therapist Pam Maumenee, who is on the oil spill crisis team at AltaPointe Health Systems in Bayou La Batre, Ala., says natural disasters tend to build helping, therapeutic communities.

‘Everybody comes out after a hurricane. You clean up. You bond together,’ Maumenee says. But the opposite is true of a man-made disaster like the oil spill,’ she says. ‘What you see are families against families, brothers against sisters, neighbors against neighbors,’ she says. ‘The community becomes quite corrosive. There have been battles over who got lucrative contracts to work the BP cleanup and who didn’t. And there’s growing resentment over the claims process in the community.”

As a profound example of this one need only look at the facebook pages of spontaneous groups such as the one highlighted above from the oil spill, and contrast that with a facebook page from a natural disaster, such as the Fourmile Wildfire near Boulder, Colorado. The Fourmile page is devoted to the firefighers, and months after the event they are still active in organizing benefits for affected community members. Instead of an ugly picture of the fire, they’ve chosen nice pic of the downtown area for their page.

Officials pages exist, of course, including a page by HHS specifically for mental health complete with 30 second videos by the Surgeon General. CDC has its own Mental Health web page and “peer listening” has been implemented, according to the NRP story.

This is not an effort to measure government, established NGOs, or even BP’s performance with regard to addressing mental health issues, many other are doing that. But I think I did find some evidence that what Ms. Maumenee indicated seems to be true: there didn’t seem to be any organically formed “therapeutic communities” in the social media arena. If you know of some, please comment.

If someone tweets for help, and help doesn’t come, is the local public safety agency liable?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Post by: Kim Stephens

Recently I talked to my local emergency management agency about incorporating social media in their communications strategy.  One concern arose that stumped me:  if an agency using social media receives a report of an injury through Twitter, Facebook or any platform, are they liable if they don’t respond?

Some people would ask:  Why wouldn’t a response agency be able to react?  Although most emergency response organizations have 24 hour operations, at the local level in particular often only one person is responsible for monitoring social media communications and that person clearly would not working ’round the clock. Larger organizations have Public Information Officers on duty 24/7, but small organizations do not have that luxury.

This limited capability is usually not what the public imagines, as we saw with the American Red Cross survey completed this past Aug. (See earlier post on this topic.) The finding that most concerns me here is:

…the survey respondents expected quick response to an online appeal for help—74 percent expected help to come less than an hour after their tweet or Facebook post. (American Red Cross)

This expectation has been of concern to me, so I raised the matter with some outside experts.  The essential questions deal with responsibility and liability.  Specifically, how can  response organizations engage in social media yet not raise public expectations that it will be monitored 24/7 and replace 911, and not expose the agency to future lawsuits?

From the experts I talked to, here are some answers.  According to Mike Ellis of Code Red at ECN,  and confirmed by Claire Reiss of the Public Entity Risk Institute, you simply make it clear on  your social media site, in a prominent place, that you do not accept emergency notifications. Similar to the message you might hear if you call your Dr.’s office “If this is an emergency hang up and dial 911.” You should also make it clear that the social media sites are not monitored 24/7 if that is the case. There is one caveat, however, if someone sends a tweet or a post indicating an injury and your organizations responds to that communication, then the clock will start. If you tell the person help is on the way, it should be on the way in real-time since an expectation will have been established.

This does not mean, however, that any injury a person asks you about has to be ignored. An example comes from the LAFD’s use of social media. In one case a citizen sent a tweet to the LAFD saying that he/she had burned a hand. The PIO, Bryan Humphrey,  told the person some general first aid info (e.g. place burn under cold water) but also said to call 911 if  the injury was bad enough.  Instead of just telling them to “call 911” he engaged the person, but also directed them to the proper call center if it was necessary.

This, however, doesn’t even address what could happen if the person received a busy signal from 911 and then turned to the agency’s Facebook page for help. That is another matter for another posting.

My personal opinion is that response organizations may, in the future, have to hire more people expressly for the job of monitoring social media. Could the new hires be part of the 911 center, since that is already activated 24/7?  In this era of decreasing budgets that probably is not likely to happen. Another option is to recruit trained volunteers, via the Citizen Corps or CERT programs at the local level, especially for use during major crises or disasters. This is an option we will explore in a future posting.

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5 Ways Social Media are used for Disaster Recovery

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Post by: Kim Stephens

Yesterday I posed the question:  Is the frequency of using social media in crises and disasters bringing new innovations, progress, and improvements to crisis communications? Today, I would like to highlight 5 ways that social media have contributed positively to the recovery process, particularly with regard to citizens helping themselves and others.

1. Social Media are used for on-line collaboration to aid those in need.

Citizens providing aid to those affected by a disaster is nothing new. People have donated time, goods, money, etc. to disaster survivors probably since we walked upright. What’s new is the ease in which collaboration can occur.  The Four-Mile-Fire Help forum/website (re Boulder CO wildfires) is a case in point. The Forum operates as a clearinghouse for those offering assistance and those needing assistance. Everything you can imagine is listed from insurance help, animal help, food help, free therapy sessions; but the most viewed item is “housing help”. By choosing that link you see a list of people and businesses who have houses to rent, or space in their homes. People who need a place to stay can post their needs there as well.

However, with regard to monetary donations, there are mixed results. One article, Haiti Disaster Relief: Evaluating the Impact of Social and Digital Media, written just one-month after the earthquake, concluded: “although the role of mobile giving has been widely covered, its true impact is difficult to understand. Perhaps it increased the total number of donations or gained donors from a younger, previously unreached audience. But the negative impact of mobile donations is the danger of possibly cannibalizing potential larger donations because it tends to operate on the very low donations level.”

But others articles refute the claim that it’s only about mobile giving.  The article How Social Good Has Revolutionized Philanthropy illustrates how social media is used not only for soliciting donations, but for building a community. “Social good can bring attention to a cause and the companies trying to solve it without blindly canvassing for donations (or “the ask”). One person they interviewed for that article explained that its not just about money, saying “I want to build a relationship with someone over the next couple of years.”

Similarly, another on-line collaboration tool came from the Facebook company when it created “Global Disaster Relief on Facebook“.  Their stated purpose:

“We want Disaster Relief on Facebook to serve as a collaborative resource for individuals, non-profits, governments and industry to raise awareness for those in need around the world. We’re inviting relief organizations to be part of this effort so they can further highlight their needs during times of crisis. Most importantly, we hope all of you will join us by becoming a fan of Disaster Relief on Facebook and by continuing to support relief efforts along with your friends.”

The page has over 500,000 fans and has links to 16 different non-profit organizations and is helpful for those looking for a valid organization to send a contribution (which brings up another, somewhat uglier social behavior: exploitation). Also, see the article about the American Red Cross for another great example of non-profit organizations using social media to build a community.

UPDATE: Sept. 22, Facebook has announced the launch of a new social network called “Jumo”, which is described as a social networking website for non-governmental organizations with the idea of building relationships with people who feel strongly for a cause.  Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, was interviewed on “Talk of the Nation” yesterday and explained his motivation for the new network:

“We have networks that make it easy to connect with friends, to find a good restaurant to go to dinner, to watch a movie instantly, yet there’s no network for the social sector,” says Hughes. “The more that people know about a cause or a problem, the more that they know about the people who are working to develop solutions or implement solutions, the more likely they are to be aware of it or support those solutions.”

2. Social Media facilitate expressions of gratitude. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=boulder+wildfire&iid=9697291″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9697291/wild-fire-burns-homes-near/wild-fire-burns-homes-near.jpg?size=500&imageId=9697291″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]Expressing gratitude to public safety personnel is by no means confined to the social media world,  but it is interesting that a group formed on Facebook explicitly for this purpose after the Boulder, Colorado fire. Their page”Fourmile Heroes“is dedicated solely to thanking the response personnel. Their stated purpose is “…dedicated to expressing thanks and giving back to all responding heroes…that fought the devastating Fourmile Fire in Boulder, Colorado.” Through the page they organized a parade and mobilized citizens to show up at that event in order to honor the public safety personnel involved and also raise money for those in need. What is new here is not the “why” but the “how”.

3. Social media facilitate expressions of grief.

Although the examples above were related to the Fourmile fire in Colorado, I’d like to use an example of how social media can aid in recovery from an example closer to home. Recently a teenager (14) was killed in our community. Of course the kids who knew him, even those that didn’t, were overwhelmed  with grief.  Through social media they were able to post their comments on the deceased’s facebook page, watch old videos of him singing on YouTube, and organize themselves through forwarded text messages to wear his favorite color to school the first day back after his death. These same sorts of activities occur on a larger scale when an entire community is affected by a disaster, or when more than one person dies, as in the Virginia Tech Shooting incident. See the scholarly article: A Framework to Identify Best Practices: Social Media and Web 2.0 Technologies in the Emergency Domain by Connie White and Linda Plotnick. They call this “social convergence”.

4. Social media are used to share an individual’s experiences of the crisis or disaster.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=new+zealand+earthquake&iid=9703158″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9703158/earthquake-rocks-new/earthquake-rocks-new.jpg?size=500&imageId=9703158″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Sharing your experience after a disaster is cathartic. Social media appears to be filling this need. After the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake a facebook page was created with the title “I survived the Christchurch Earthquake“. The stated purpose of the group was simply “WOW”. More than thirteen thousand people “like” that page. It seems to just be a place that people can post their pictures.Their discussion page, however, does list some “useful websites for information”.

5. Social media are used to provide information after the mainstream media have left the story. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=bp+oil+spill&iid=9804410″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9804410/file-photo-health-advisory/file-photo-health-advisory.jpg?size=500&imageId=9804410″ width=”380″ height=”293″ /]Once the response phase of a disaster comes to an end, the mainstream media (and maybe even the government) declares the event over and leaves, sometimes well before the community has recovered, see Gulf Oil Well is Dead but Pain Will Remain. Blogs, facebook pages, and online community groups or forums are sometimes one of the few outlets for information for citizens: hundreds of tweets mentioning BP Oil Spill or Deepwater Horizon can still be found. Increasingly, local governments, and even the federal government are using social media to fill the void as well. The Deepwater Horizon federal response facebook page is still up and running (almost 38,000 people “like” their page–although some of the comments lead you to believe they don’t like it at all).

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Social Media and Web 2.0 Standard Operating Procedures: Guidance Material

Since the use of social media and or Web 2.0 (we really need a better lexicon here) is so new, some organizations might not yet have standard operating procedures developed regarding either implementation or overall strategy. Some of those procedures may include: workflow, managing comments, managing content,  statements of purpose, measures of success/metrics, or even which new media to engage in.

However, if you are responsible for implementing new media and not sure where to start, I recommend the blog Social Media Governance which has put together a wonderful database of social or new media policies (currently 154 total). The list includes government/non-profit policies from the American Red Cross to Walker Art Center; but the list also includes policies from businesses, the healthcare industry, as well general guidelines and templates. You can search for a policy related to your industry with the handy pull-down menu. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=twitter+image&iid=5243202″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5243202/microblogging-site-twitter/microblogging-site-twitter.jpg?size=500&imageId=5243202″ width=”380″ height=”242″ /]

There are even policies from international agencies, for example there is a handy Social Media 101 guide from Australia. And although some of the information would not apply in the U.S. (e.g. government codes of conduct) there are a number of helpful tips that are universal.

The General Service Administration’s Social Media Handbook can also be found there and is quite useful, however, local governments might find information from “The County of Orange, California” more applicable.

Most policies will deal with pushing information, if you know of any organization that has policies regarding receiving info from the public through social media, please let me know.

I also want to highlight the recent GAO Report: Challenges in Federal Agencies’ Use of Web 2.0 Technologies, July 22, 2010. The report summary:

Federal agencies are using Web 2.0 technologies to enhance services and support their individual missions. Federal Web managers use these applications to connect to people in new ways. As of July 2010, we identified that 22 of 24 major federal agencies had a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

They then list the challenges federal agencies have faced regarding use of Web 2.0 technologies:

Privacy and security:

Agencies are faced with the challenges of determining how the Privacy Act of 1974, which provides certain protections to personally identifiable information, applies to information exchanged in the use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as social networking sites. …

Records management and freedom of information.

Web 2.0 technologies raise issues in the government’s ability to identify and preserve federal records.

The use of Web 2.0 technologies can also present challenges in appropriately responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests because there are significant complexities in determining whether agencies control Web 2.0-generated content, as understood within the context of FOIA.

Federal agencies have begun to identify some of the issues associated with Web 2.0 technologies and have taken steps to start addressing them. For example, the Office of Management and Budget recently issued guidance intended to (1) clarify when and how the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 applies to federal agency use of social media and Web-based interactive technologies; and (2) help federal agencies protect privacy when using third- party Web sites and applications.

Of course this was written for the federal government, however, some of the information is probably applicable to states and localities.

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Ready or not the public uses Social Media in crisis situations

A Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) ladder tr...

Image via Wikipedia

Post by: Kim Stephens

The article “Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service: Emergency Management & Social Media Evangelism” by Latonero, et.al, (May 2010) is an interesting case study about the use of social media in the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).  Brian Humphrey, the long-time PIO of LAFD, was the focus of the study since he has been the tip-of-the-spear with regards to the implementation social media in the response community: see this online interview with him on John Solomon’s blog.  The Latonero article is interesting not only because it discusses some of the advantages new media can provide to a response organization, but also because it presents the numerous challenges created by this type of communications medium.

Biggest advantage: “Bypassing mass media as traditional intermediaries.” The ability to engage the public in near real-time and provide them with another way to receive legitimate information directly from the Department became one of the key motivators for implementing this form of communication.

Biggest challenge: The ability to engage the public in near real-time. One quote  from Mr. Humphrey’s twitter feed illustrates the challenge: “270 voice mails and 2000+ non-spam emails expecting a reply. Dunno how or when I’ll get back to you all.”

This article leads to the question: Why engage the public through social media at all if it creates unreal expectations? One answer is that people are already using social media daily and will use it during crises, whether we like it or not. This article in today’s Washington Post “Twitter breaks story on Discovery Channel gunman James Lee” is a prime example: From the story

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=discovery+channel&iid=9640899″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9640899/gunman-takes-hostages/gunman-takes-hostages.jpg?size=500&imageId=9640899″ width=”234″ height=”259″ /]”The news of a gunman at the Discovery Channel’s headquarters in Silver Spring indeed traveled fast on Wednesday, but none of it came through radio, TV or newspaper Web sites, at least not at first. As it has with other breaking news events — the landing of a jet on the Hudson River in 2009, the 2008 massacre in Mumbai — the story unfolded first in hiccupping fits and starts on Twitter..”

At the American Red Cross Emergency Social Data Summit this past Aug. 12, 2010, Heather Blanchard, one of the co-founders of Crisis Commons made the presentation: “Closing the Gap Between Public Expectation and Disaster Response Reality,  Call to Action: Finding Common Language for Cooperative Response.”  She made several interesting and compelling points regarding how the emergency management community could solve the conundrum of both engaging the public through social media and also handling the vast amount of information the new media provide.

How? Currently, in most response organizations, only the PIOs are responsible for social media in terms of both sending and receiving messages. This quote from the Washington Post story illustrates how much effort is involved in taking the raw information from Twitter, in this case, and then turning it into actionable intelligence.

But as rich as Wednesday’s Twitter feed was, it was merely a starting point for reporters. “The initial information may have come to us through these tools, but we have to apply the old-media skills of vetting and serving as a filter” for what’s accurate, said Allan Horlick, president and general manager of WUSA-TV. “We can’t let raw info to go out over air. The front end is new, but we still have to do our work on the back end.”

Ms. Blanchard pointed out that during large events PIOs could easily become overwhelmed, as demonstrated by Mr. Humphrey’s tweet. Instead, she recommended that response organizations think about who in their community could be trained as volunteers to assist with data collection, aggregation and vetting, for example: students from local universities or people from local technology companies.

With regards to organizational structure, she presented an EOC org chart with the concept of a  newly created “technology cluster”. The cluster would include

  • an analytic cell
  • GIS cell
  • open source info
  • ESF Liaisons

The analytics cell would indicate their data requirements but would not process data: the “Data Operations Center” (which could be manned by volunteers) would search, aggregate, and vet information and potentially provide that information in a visualization tool.

This is an interesting proposition. Read through her slides and let me know what you think.