Disaster Information Goes Social

In Victoria, Australia, a recent review of the 2010-2011 floods that happened there urged the state government to increase its use of social media, mainly through the establishment of a standard social media policy to bolster its standard emergency alert and public information system. Called the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), the policy allows for the sending of emergency messages simultaneously over radio, television, smartphones, e-mail and social media.

The Victorian Flood Review (VFR) found that people have come to be increasingly more reliant on communication through social media in instances of natural disaster, seeking out information disseminated through such networks.

The Australian government is looking for public feedback on the new standard. The public review will be open until January 20, 2012, and can be found on the Attorney General’s Website here. The new standard will include what information will be available on social media, such as the different responses to flooding as an example, recovery efforts taking place, any emergency warnings felt necessary, and any evacuation information. This will hopefully allow for a more efficient and timely emergency response and provide residents a better peace of mind during a crisis situation.

Another fact also noted by the report was in the area of mobile devices, such as smartphones. With the advent of new technology also comes growth in the area of official communication through such applications as Facebook and Twitter. Dealing with that inevitability now only helps government keep up with the increasing demand for reliable, accurate and up-to-the-minute information.

The public feedback on the standard follows the official rollout of the DisasterWatch application on both the iPhone and Android smartphones on December 9, 2011. The new application will have the most current information for the public in regards to disasters, all via direct feeds from state, territorial and national sources.

For more information about the Common Alerting Protocol policy, visit: http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/409687/social_media_should_play_role_emergency_warnings_vic_flood_review/