Social media has become a mainstay in almost every person’s life and most of us probably only use it for what it was designed for as a way to interact with our friends, post updates about our lives and share pictures. But there is another really important use of social media that can actually save a person’s life that we don’t even really think about.
Social Media Emergency Communication Plan
In my place of employment we practice emergency drills that involve the use of social media to relay communication. We have a monitored response network that we can text to relay if we are injured, safe or need assistance. We have an emergency communications team that monitors all our social media sites so that in the case of a real emergency they can relay information and receive information about dangers. This is all part of our Emergency Communications plan and it’s what I think more communities and organizations should implement.
More and more emergency services are using social media or otherwise called “Crisis Informatics” to share information which helps them respond to emergencies that they may not have otherwise known about. Social media has become an invaluable tool that has helped in many emergencies or disasters because it has a larger reach than traditional methods and can in some instances work faster in getting information out. In fact, in 2013, Terrorist attacks at the Boston marathon were first posted on Twitter before news sources and emergency personal were notified.
Social media channel communication (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) is sometimes the only telecommunications medium that survives, and the first to recover as seen in disasters that struck the world in recent years, according to a review study of emergency situations by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers in the International Journal of Information Management.
Why does social media work for emergencies? Because half the population has some form of social media that they can relay messages, images and content on. In the past, emergency warnings only had a few channels to alert people of dangers, now people can actively search different sources to find information and can participate in conversations in cases of emergencies. Social media works because people’s nature in emergency situations is to “Ask what’s going on”. With access to networks like Twitter and Facebook, people can post the questions and images of emergency situations and get real life information. Emergency services can then monitor social media networks and in most case they have their own social media accounts that they post things like traffic accidents or emergency information.
Do you think social media is a good tool for emergency situations?
911! Social media can save your life!