Disasters Go Digital

In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, social media has grown to play an important part in dealing with disaster. Whether telling the story of what happened through pictures, reporting problems through an emergency organization’s Facebook, or using apps to determine the location of scarce supplies, social media has stepped in to fill a much-needed role. Below are some of the lessons learned as found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Lessons Learned Information Sharing system at https://www.llis.dhs.gov/.

Social Media in Place of 911

Even though agencies tell them not to, those in need of help invariably turned to the Facebook pages of emergency organizations when they got a busy signal when calling 911. One thing that such agencies can do is use these outlets as a resource to get information out to the masses. Instead of restricting access to one-way communication only, in the future they should utilize this resource by listening to and routing messages through the EOC to the appropriate authorities, according to an article by http://toddjasper.com.

Organize Volunteers

In most natural and manmade disasters, volunteers show up to help out however they can. By utilizing social media, emergency and recovery officials can redirect this manpower to where it is needed most. Social media can also be used to gather supplies and get them to where they are needed the most.

Communicate in Pictures as Well as Words

Sometimes a picture can say more than any amount of words. Sandy, in particular, showed the importance of such media outlets as Pinterest and Instagram to allow those involved to communicate in a simple manner with family and friends. Such media platforms also allow their users to search for images using tags, making it much easier to find a particular image.

Using Online Mapping and Apps to Allocate Resources

Using such programs as Google Maps and other apps, scarce supplies can be mapped out, allowing those who need them most access to wherever they are available. This allows officials to more effectively distribute resources, such as fuel, food, and water, to areas that are in the most dire need.


For more information about digital disaster response and communication, visit: http://toddjasper.com/2013/06/24/digital-lessons-learned-from-super-storm-sandy/