Social Media and Disasters:

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1 Social Media and Disasters: Best Practices and Lessons Learned Disaster Preparedness Summit, August 21, 2013 Presented by: Suzanne Bernier, CEM, CBCP, MBCI SB Crisis Consulting Toronto, Canada

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3 S B C r i s i s C o n s u l t i n g Established in 2011 Former news reporter/anchor, with over 16 years of experience in emergency management, business continuity and crisis communications Regular guest speaker and panelist at disaster conferences across the U.S., Canada and Europe next stop: Australia in September! Voluntourist, working on first book on Disaster

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9 Facebook during an Emergency Facebook presence should be set up in advance During an emergency, the page can act as clearinghouse by providing up-to-date information by various organizations within one location during an emergency Simple to post messaging, information on basic needs, locating loved ones, requests for help, volunteer

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16 Twitter during an Emergency Set up a Twitter account and gain followers before an emergency occurs Messages must be 140 characters or less Short and to the point Tweet and direct message cap**3 Immediate distribution with unlimited reach Should be monitored 24/7 to respond to rumors and misinformation Use hashtags (#) for further

17 Why do we need to incorporate social media within our crisis communications plans?

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21 Social Media and the Joplin Tornado

22 Joplin Tornado - May 22, 2011 Catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado struck Joplin, Missouri in the late afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011 Reached a maximum width of nearly 1 mile during its path through the southern part of the city Third tornado to strike Joplin since May people killed and over 1,100 injured Deadliest tornado in America since 1947 Joplin Tornado Info was created less than two hours after the tornado

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24 Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page launched at 7:36pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011 First post was: St. John s has been hit; that s all we know for sure. Volunteer administrators monitored and updated the page 24/7 for the first 3 weeks following the tornado All posts were verified beforehand, accuracy was key Rumor

25 Joplin Tornado Info Response Phase Clearing house for information, communication and connecting the dots between needs and resources Locating loved ones Equipment/resource requests and offers Volunteer inquiries Triage locations Fresh water depots, shelter, clothing Charging stations Was considered the go-to site for up-to-date, accurate information Every post was

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27 The creator s of JTI Genevieve and Rebecca Williams, with David

28 Social Media and Hurricane Sandy

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31 Social Media and Sandy Social media played an integral role during Hurricane Sandy NYC.gov, Facebook, Flikr, Twitter and Youtube informed people in near real-time Regular tweets from: FEMA Red Cross SEMAs NYC Office of Emergency Management National Guard Mayor Bloomberg s office Con

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34 Pre-Event (Preparedness Phase) Emergency evacuation route information Evacuation orders Regular hurricane updates Promoting personal preparedness (stock up on supplies, food, water in advance) Tracking of

35 @sbcrisis Before the Storm

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38 Response Phase Emergency shelter information Finding missing people, reuniting people Food, water distribution details Where to receive medical attention What areas to stay away from Dispelling

39 Tweets During the

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41 Response Phase NYC.gov did a remarkable job getting messaging out in as many ways possible, including social media All Mayor Bloomberg s press conferences were posted on Youtube Press conferences were live-tweeted Summary of press conferences posted to Facebook and Tumblr Spanish-language In future, amplify Twitter application will allow crowdpowered emergency messaging (donate your twitter account to help spread the word during

42 Response Phase Spanish-language tweets Twitter donated promoted tweets to spread messaging Over 2,000 tweets from city accounts City gained over 180-thousand new social media followers Over 1 million Youtube views of Mayor s press conferences Peak Facebook audience reached over 300,000 Over 500 Flickr photos shared Over 53,000 new followers (over 71% increase) Facebook page received over 14,300 new likes (234% increase) volunteer

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44 Rumor Control

45 Rumor Control FEMA has web page solely dedicated to Hurricane Sandy rumor control FEMA tweets to correct misinformation via #Sandy RUMOR CONTROL: The rumor that FEMA is offering $300 cash cards for food is

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48 Fact or Fiction? Don t believe everything you see or read on the

49 Recovery Phase Still many areas to be rebuilt Volunteers from across North America helping to rebuild Occupy Sandy New York Cares Movement for

50 Post-Event

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53 Social Media and the Boston Bombings

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56 Boston Police and Social Media Immediately after the Boston bombings, Boston Police (BPD) started communicating via social media Never seen before BPD now has over 335,000 twitter followers (vs. 40,000 pre-event) Chicago Police Department (CPD) currently has over 14,000

57 BPD and Twitter Used to monitor and correct misinformation and rumours being reported by traditional news media BPD s tweet clarifying there was no arrest shortly after the bombings was re-tweeted over 11-thousand times They softly scolded the media re: the use of scanners Local reporters waited on BPD s tweet before officially announcing the second suspect s

58 Lessons Learned

59 Lessons Learned Releasing the correct information is the most important priority No room for errors or inconsistencies Validate all sources and information Develop social media guidelines, policies and protocols ahead of

60 Lessons Learned Develop How To guides for top social media platforms Use calm, appropriate tones Constantly monitor social media Social media is not a substitute for traditional

61 Social Media Best Practices Always refer to an official source When creating a Facebook page, monitor posts Staff the page 24/7 until rescues are complete, basic needs are met, utilities and communications are restored Remember to include who, what, when, where, how and why in your

62 Social Media Best Practices Verify all information you post Watch the speed of your timeline - frequent posts vs too many Never speak ill of other organizations It s a crisis, not a contest borrow, post, re-post,

63 Social Media Best Practices Check every group or person offering help before posting it Avoid hearsay and clear up rumours Refer to those affected as survivors, not victims Be sensitive You are a resource for those affected first, a resource for their families second, and a resource for the surrounding area

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69 Additional Resources FEMA social media training online course available at: The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery: Lessons learned while creating and managing Joplin Tornado Info (2011) Lessons Learned: Social Media and Hurricane Sandy, U.S. Homeland Security, Security and Technology (June 2013) Queensland Police Service Disaster Management and Social Media - A Case

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71 Suzanne Bernier, CEM, CBCP SB Crisis Toll-free phone/fax: , ext.

Running head: CRISIS COMMUNICATION INCLUDING SOCIAL MEDIA 1

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