What’s the first thing you should do during an emergency?
For decades, the answer has been: Call 911. However with the dramatic rise of social media and mobile internet connectivity more people are using social media as a supplement – and has Congress seeking to harness these resources in response.
Social media channels have been used in area wide-emergencies such as the earthquake in Japan, and the tornadoes in the US to allow people to let their friends and family know they were safe when all other forms of communication was in chaos. Recently a student at University of Georgia quietly updated his Facebook status from his attic in a desperate plea for help while three armed robbers tied up his family and ransacked his house for valuables.
In light of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak there has been a Facebook page devoted entirely to helping victims of the storms reunite with cherished pictures and items that insurance cannot replace. To date over 5,500 pictures have been posted on the site, with the attention of over 100,000 followers.
Take a look at the data presented below, courtesy of creditloan.com
Five ways to use social media for better emergency response:
- Reach a wider audience -Viral messages are repeated again and again
- Two-way emergency alerts with ability to send and receive – Ongoing contact can improve preparedness prior to a crisis
- Monitor the conversation – Allows emergency operations to broadcast information as well as monitor
- Integrate data sources for situational awareness – Provides another way for responders to get a better view of emergency situations
- Collaboration with responders- Social Media lets organizations communicate their needs during an emergency