When a disaster strikes, there are two possible scenarios:
1. The community is unprepared for the disaster, people panic and chaos ensues.
2. The community is prepared and everything progresses as safely and orderly as can be expected during a disaster.
So what is the major difference between scenarios one and two? Education! But how do you effectively educate an entire community, especially when it is almost impossible to predict when a disaster will strike? After all, tradition community preparedness activities, training, and exercises, while effective, take time, resources, and money to implement.
The Solution: Social Media.
Social media now makes it easier and more cost effective for emergency managers to actively engage their communities when a disaster is looming. This can be done in several ways, including:
- Hashtags: A hashtag precedes a word or phrase on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, classifying information and making the word or phrase searchable. Emergency managers can pre-identify hashtags to use during different situations. For example, Houston adopted this strategy for impending severe weather, using hashtags like #powerout, #debris, #hail and #wind.
- Streaming Video: Using Ustream or YouTube, emergency managers can either stream live video or post recorded videos to educate community members, introduce local emergency staff, highlight activities, and much more.
- Twitter Town Halls: Similar to traditional town hall meetings and public gatherings, Twitter town halls are a great way to engage community members without ever leaving the house.
- Gamification: This is the method of using game functionality to create fun and engaging learning environments. Organizations like the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency in Washington have already effectively used gamification in their education efforts.
- Crowdsourcing: Emergency managers can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to gain feedback and access the success of educational programs.
- Quick Response (QR) Codes: These two-dimensional bar codes direct users to a designated website when scanned using a smartphone. Communities in Kansas and Virginia have considered placing QR codes on the back of hotel rooms, directing travelers to basic preparedness information.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media and disaster preparedness. Emergency managers are constantly striving to find new and creative ways to utilize Facebook, Tiwtter, Google+ and more to help make their communities safer and more prepared.
For any further questions on Social Media and Disaster Preparedness simply contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today.
When you consider how crucial security can be, and when you think of all the options that you’re faced with today, one thing becomes clear. You need a contractor with experience. For assessment, design, installation, testing and service, ARK is the expert across the board.