I agree to Idea Use Social Media & Smartphones for Situational Awareness
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Use Social Media & Smartphones for Situational Awareness

PPD 8 calls for all members of the community (not just government employees) to be prepared and contribute to improving resiliency. Digital mediums empower the public to provide instantaneous eye-witness reports when a situation is developing. Citizens are the true first responders to meta-disasters and we need to leverage their capabilities. Social media reports accumulate rapidly and can be overwhelming during a disaster. Emergency Managers need to influence technology development and help verify and organize the noise / clutter on social media sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. A more strategic approach and an interface between the public’s use of social media and government/public safety’s use of social media will yield improved situational awareness and actionable information for the whole community.


Please categorize this under Preparedness, Response and Recovery.

Submitted by in Sep 2011

Comments (7)

  1. How do you address the needs of people with disabilities who can not utilize conventional resources? Cohort 501
    in Sep 2011
  2. Bingo! Good comments.
    in Sep 2011
  3. laurie.vanleuven Idea Submitter
    Philip - good point about accessibility. Establishing a forum that supports multiple file formats will provide much needed choices in how to access information(narratives, video, photos, and even audio files). Ensuring 508 compatibility is a must. Some web services such as Tropo could also add functionality for non-english speaking users. The technology is there, we just need to build the system that creates the functionality we need.
    in Sep 2011
  4. Additionally quick responses should incorporate the idea that upon responding in disaster events that people with disabilities and equipment needed for rescues should be automatically considered and first responders shod be ready for these needs or have access and ready knowledge to act quickly.
    in Oct 2011
  5. During a recent situation, the only good source for information was smart phones and social media. If we could ensure the reliability of that information then I think we are on to something.
    in Oct 2011
  6. Definitely need to include as another communication tool. Problem will be with some EM's who are dinosaurs when it comes to technology. Some view as a passing fad. Most municipalities need to have a policy re: social media. To ignore it is to waste a great opportunity to quickly connect with the public!
    in Oct 2011
  7. I agree further with the idea of social media being a secondary focal point or eyes on witness depending on line of sight perspective.

    Sights like Facebook & Twitter provide this advantage by providing this line of sight for a more strategical quality to FEMA & other rescue emergency personnel. Providing exact locations for lining up angles of evacuations and remedies for battling emergencies.

    Users logged in can give locations via smartphone giving their GPS coordinates instantly. At that point anonymity would have to be waved by the user for emergencies and valid information strategy.
    in Oct 2011

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