Due to its efficiency and immediacy, social media usage to
communicate during disasters has become increasingly popular.
Social media provides users a way to instantaneously request
assistance, report injuries and provide immediate situational
updates. This medium has become a valuable tool for first
responders because of its usefulness in gathering information
about the disaster.
In jurisdiction’s dealing with an incident of national
significance, the following lessons can be learned:
The world is watching and wants to help,
Rumors will run rampant because people try to live-tweet
scanners and news broadcasts in crisis events,
Images and videos, no matter how graphic, will surface, and
The amount of information available will become a sifting and
sorting nightmare, but There is now little dispute that the use
of social media can rapidly allow agencies to share information
and employ the public as additional eyes and ears during
Acknowledging the crisis event, in some way, shows that your
agency is tuned in and aware of national events.
Empathetic statements can open up a community dialogue.
It is always wise to provide reminders about not overloading
phone lines, using text messages and use of the Red Cross Safe &
Well Reporting website.
Sharing information about emergency plans or local resources
are much more relevant during a time of crisis (and that window
of opportunity evaporates quickly).
Although most hospitals have response plans for natural
disasters, chemical releases, epidemics, and biological events,
many are not as prepared for other types of disasters, such as
explosive or incendiary events, according to a recent report by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Social media, already embedded in society, may be the solution to
better preparing hospitals before, during, and after emergencies,
according to a perspective article published today in the New
England Journal of Medicine.
With more than 40 million Americans using social media websites
multiple times a day, tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and other
crowd-sourcing technologies could help hospitals prepare and
respond to disastrous events, according to study authors.