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.
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!