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Use Social Media for Emergency Planning

The power of social media truly lies in its speed and ease of use. While the majority of people use social media to share photos, texts and marketing promotions, its capabilities extend beyond that.

Twitter and Facebook are excellent resources to keep up with important local and national news such as natural disasters and weather reports.

According to Emily Rahimi, the New York City Fire Department’s social media manager:

“Overall the past year has really been big in terms of social media for emergencies. There was Sandy, which was kind of small in comparison to the others. Boston was huge; the police department there used it in an innovative way to inform the public. The Red Cross in Kenya during the mall attack. Philip Ogola [who runs Kenya Red Cross’ social media command center] was doing incredible things, whether he was giving people first aid information via social media or finding missing people, he was so crucial to saving lives there. It was really showing that social media is a way to get people information in a very instant way that we didn’t have before.”

Social media has become a two-way conversation platform, which is vital in times of emergency. More people are now receiving important news through social media, but it is still up to the users to do their part by following important news sources.

Here are some important Twitter accounts you can follow to keep updated on the latest emergency news:

  • CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response is responsible for managing public health crises, including epidemic outbreaks and other public health threats. Follow: @CDCReady
  • Emergency Management Magazine covers all topics related to disaster management in all types of emergencies. Follow: @EmergencyMgtMag
  • National Disaster Preparedness Training Center is dedicated to developing plans and training government institutions, nonprofit organizations, and public sector companies in disaster preparedness. Follow: @DisasterCTR
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees all aspects of health and wellness through the United States. Follow: @HHSGov
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is responsible for educating the public on fire safety, in and out of the home, as well as managing fire codes. This organization is also responsible for fire-related research. Follow: @NFPA

Even celebrities are using their large social media following to influence awareness. Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, recently filmed a public service announcement promoting water conservation, and she spread the message to her 41 million Twitter followers and elsewhere on social media. The California drought needs a collective effort from the state’s millions of citizens to conserve water and social media is an efficient tool to spread the message.

As a certified Green Business of San Francisco, our agency has a social responsibility not only to our city, but to the state and the rest of the country. For the latest news on the California drought and other natural occurrences, follow us on Twitter @ARTEMIA_Comm.

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