Social Media 4 Emergency Management

Connect, Collaborate, Contribute



The table is nearly set.

And you have a formal invitation to join us on 11/11/15 as we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the first use of the #SMEM hashtag (which stands for Social Media in Emergency Management).


Steve Jobs-quotes

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Your Responsibility

In recent weeks, I’ve been working on drafting social media policies for several new organizations that I work or volunteer with. And while each organization uses social media differently, one common thread has been evident in each organizational training:

User Responsibility

While an organization can easily say “here is how we will engage in social media,” it is important to realize that your employees, your volunteers and your social media administrators will all contribute to your agency’s reputation in the social space.

But you cannot assume that all of your employees or volunteers understand how to most appropriately engage in social media. This is why training and orientation to your social media policy is of serious importance.

Here are some basic guidelines to consider:

  • Employees and Volunteers are responsible for their personal engagement and their privacy settings in social media.  Not only should this be said out loud to employees and volunteers, but there are a couple of very specific recommendations that I make in this area. They include recommendations to:
    • Conduct the “privacy review” of your settings on Facebook every 3-6 months. Facebook is notorious for changing its privacy settings regularly and it’s important for you to be in touch with these changes as they occur.
    • You should look at your Facebook profile from the perspective of a non-friend. Are you exposing more than you wish to? Often people don’t realize that both profile pictures and cover photos show up publicly on your timeline, including all of the comments of your friends.  You can choose to hide each of these from your timeline so that no one on the outside can see these pictures.
    • It’s also important to look at the “timeline & tagging” setting on Facebook. Did you know that Facebook employs facial recognition in pictures and will ask your friends to verify your identify in pictures? You want to turn this setting off. To do this, look under the “Timeline and Tagging” setting, look for the “Who sees tag suggestions when photos are uploaded that look like you” and turn that setting to “no one”
    • On Twitter and other platforms, don’t be afraid to block or report spam-like accounts. How do you determine if an account looks spammy? If their Twitter handle seems convoluted, they have an egg-like profile picture or if their tweets are highly repetitive, feel free to block these accounts. You don’t need to have spammy accounts following you, even if they share your content.
  • Employees should think twice before being “friends” on social media. This issue can be tricky because, often, people spend so much time with those that they work with that it seems natural to also follow each other on social media, right? The reality is that because you spend so much time together, you probably shouldn’t follow each other on social media unless you truly are friends outside of work.
  • Employees, with different levels of organizational authority, should disconnect from each other. If one employee is responsible to evaluate the performance of another employee, social media posts may present some awkward moments, particularly when employees post after calling in sick to work. It’s often easier to become friends later when you no longer have a power differential in your relationship.

Beyond these recommendations, it is important for your employees and volunteers to understand that you all share in your agency’s reputation online. This means that if they post content that they might regret later, it could also influence how others feel about your organization. If employees and volunteers feel part of your agency team, they will be important supporters and protectors of your agency’s image well into the future.

Bottom line? Good social etiquette is everyone’s responsibility.

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Where is Waldo?


You may think that I’ve disappeared from the #SMEM scene as of late, thanks to the lack of updates on this blog. However, that is not the case.

What is true is that I’ve been busy working on a number of projects which have been just a little more behind the scenes, but now is a good time to resurface for a brief moment and chat about these endeavors.

  • New Job: As you may remember, I moved from the emergency management profession and into a 9-1-1 technology career. While still mystifying for some, the next huge phase in the 9-1-1 community is wrestling with the advent of Next Generation 9-1-1 which is essentially the incorporation of #SMEM directly into the public safety community. It is fun to be on the forefront of some of the planning conversations which will someday bring text, video and imagery right into the hands of future 9-1-1 dispatchers.

  • New Training Classes: Despite the new job, I’ve also had the pleasure of being involved in the development of a new training course that is currently in the pilot stage for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, entitled “Social Media Engagement Strategies.”  This class will have several pilots before seeking final course approval.  The next pilot is on March 19th in Cincinnati, Ohio. And according to the NDPTC training website, there are still 8 seats left in the course, if you’re lucky enough to be within a commutable distance.  Pilot #1 occurred in Washington State in February and the feedback was very encouraging and positive.  Intermediate Social Media Tools, taught by Kevin Sur, is also occurring the day before and has 5 seats left at this writing.  For other pilot deliveries, keep an eye on the NDPTC site for future announcements.

  • New Association:  For the past year, I’ve been working with a number of #SMEM folks to create a professional association that wholly models and embodies the use of collaborative tools and technologies.  With a vision to provide an umbrella to emerging technology initiatives and to solve age-old emergency management issues through truly incorporating a whole-community approach, it is an exciting initiative. And, at this juncture, we’ve seated a Board of Directors, adopted By-Laws and a Strategic Plan and are currently jumping through the hoops to be fully registered as an operational 501(c) organization. Our goal is to soft-launch this membership-based organization late summer 2015 and host our first in-person conference in 2016 or 2017. Much more to come on this very soon.

  • New Award Nominations: And, in other news, I’ve been honored to have several of the initiatives nominated for awards being handed out by the first Government Social Media Conference (#GMSCon) which will be held in Reno, Nevada at the end of April. Nomination, however, appears to be just the first step and now the general public gets to vote on the awards. I’d personally ask you to support voting for 3 categories specifically by March 6th

  1. Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) were nominated in the “Social Media in Emergency” category.  Vote at this link –>
  2. #30Days30Ways, the National Preparedness Month game facilitated by the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency was nominated in the “Social Media for Citizen Engagement” category.  Vote at this link –>
  3. And finally, I was nominated for the Top Government Social Media Leader (Non-Elected) category.  Vote at this link -_>

It continues to be a pleasure to work among such amazing people in the #SMEM community. I look forward to seeing and meeting even more of you as I travel to a variety of locations in 2015.  As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out and chat with me on Twitter at @cherylble or via email at

May each of you have an AWESOME 2015! Thanks for reading.

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Questions for Big Data


I am a huge fan of social media and an even bigger fan of emergency response.

And, as capabilities expand in the realm of social media, I’m beginning to struggle with the role of big data in emergency response.

Yes, every day, we have increasing access to types of data as emergency response agencies.

We have GIS data layers that cover many different types of layers from critical infrastructure to vulnerable populations. We have cameras that monitor public spaces. We have river sensors that report flooding. You name it, a data layer can be created for it.

The problem is our humanity. How much information is too much? What is the span of control on the human brain? What decisions will require human-level involvement versus decisions that can be automated?

I work in a 911 facility where our dispatchers already monitor at least 5 large screens of data (and that is simply to manage voice-based communications coming over telephones and radio traffic). In most public service agencies, we have a customer service model that answers each individual 911 call and seeks to provide direct response.

In the future of data management, a 1:1 response ratio will be impossible to maintain in our emergency service structures. No agency has the resources to manage this type of customer service model. And when there are conflicting demands on resources from differing types of data inputs, how will we prioritize the true threats occurring in any incident?

While I see a lot of emergency response programs interested in mobile apps that aim to engage the community in emergency response (like Red Cross and PulsePoint), the emergency response community must begin to have serious conversations about how to unify around several applications, because as the app market continues to proliferate (being over a million apps today), it won’t help any agency to have 1000 people using 100 different apps.  There needs to be some unity of message and use among emergency response agencies so that we can collectively learn to act together during a response and not all be off doing different things. That risks replication of work across the board.

Here are a couple of thoughts that we need to consider as these conversations evolve in a variety of disciplines (most notably, 911 and Emergency Management):

  • What data is really required to make emergency response decisions at local, state and national levels?  Are the data requirements different and why?
  • What are the time constraints on that data? How quickly must the data be obtained in order to effectively impact emergency response?
  • What role should local, state, federal and community relief organizations have in working with the technical communities? How can we define a strategy so that we are not all trying to solve the same problems?
  • Who should be engaged in the conversations? Right now, I see a lot of siloed conversation in the realms of Emergency Management and 911 (as it revolves around Next Generation and FirstNet initiatives), but these two professions will ultimately create information-flow channels that need to work in harmony with each other.
  • How and who should be responsible for collecting the data required? Are government organizations responsible for bringing these capabilities in house or should they be partnering with a community-based organizations.  And while currently, there are many groups evolving out of both technical communities (Crisis Mappers, Geeks Without Bounds, Standby Task Force) and emergency response community support organizations (Crisis Commons, Red Cross Digital Advocates, VOST, Humanity Road), partnership with and among these organizations is often loosely structured and results in EM programs that partner out of convenience or who they find first.

These questions can be overwhelming, but there are decisions that will be made shortly in the 911 community, relating to Next Gen 911, that will impact the Emergency Management communities.  And, if the decisions are made without thinking about the whole emergency response cycle from “first report” to “community recovery,” we may find that the haystack of data makes for a particularly messy emergency response system.

There is meaning in the quote “united we stand, divided we fall” ….and, we need to ensure that there is unity of effort at all levels of government before data becomes our dividing force.

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Politics & Social Media

politicsYes, this blog has been quiet.

No, that doesn’t mean I’ve wandered away from social media.

For the past 2 months, I’ve been living behind a Facebook Page alias and supporting a local political campaign.

And, if you really want to know what managing an emergency might feel like on social media, join a locally controversial political campaign. It can be difficult to simulate the amount of traffic, engagement and rumors when you are preparing to handle emergency events, but politics can provide an excellent microcosm of a crisis environment.

Some of the key things that you will learn are:

  • Coordinating messaging between different levels of a campaign can be tough. Everyone has an opinion and way of saying certain things. And unlike emergency response, which has a very defined chain of command, community organizations may not have a similar organizational structure.
  • Developing a battle rhythm across week and months, to build momentum, is very important. You are aiming to mobilize both volunteers and the action of people voting. A simple post every few days won’t accomplish an engagement goal. You must be timely, relevant and connected the current events in order to grab someone’s attention. This requires very focused thinking and planning to ensure that people remain solidly engaged.
  • Different types of posts will garner different types of engagement. People will like pictures, but often won’t comment on them unless they have a personal connection to the picture.
  • Controversy sparks conversation, but you have to be cautious about whether your base is open and welcoming enough to provide space for newcomers. If your goal is to get new people to vote, you have to be careful that you don’t always have the same 10 people commenting on your posts, giving the appearance of a closed environment.  It is okay to allow both positive and negative comments, but establish a decent take-down policy for what goes against how you define “civil discourse.”
  • You will become an expert at managing trolls.  There will be people who do not care what you say or do in a political campaign. They will be opposed to your position and won’t be changing their mind. They may also focus on spreading discontent on your campaign page.  Usually trolls use two different tactics which include repetition, off-topic posts or good, old-fashioned name-calling. If you see this behavior, call it out (in the voice of the page) and delete the offending comment. People will choose either to self-moderate their own behaviors or will continue to behave in a similar manner. If your goal is to maintain open and civil discourse, it is vital that you decipher between people disagreeing over facts and those that are relying attacking the people involved. Most differences of opinion are just that and can be left on your page. Attacks, however, should be eliminated.  Even in a controversial campaign, people will usually behave with warnings and as they observe the moderation / elimination of caustic comments.

So, how does this relate to emergency environments?

Everything I just noted also occurs during good public education campaigns AND during emergency response. The only luxury that you have, in emergency response, is that you typically aren’t aiming to keep up a battle rhythm to generate interest in your information. People are usually clamoring for it because they crave information in order to make their own decisions effectively. Regardless, you’ll need to set some type of rhythm to be sure that you are communicating often enough…..because without information, rumors will spawn rapidly. You must feed the information beast regularly.

As you become more comfortable in using social media, look for unique ways to get involved. And then, step back and reflect on how applicable your experience is to emergency management.  Likely, you will learn more than you realize.

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Engaging with Facebook


This past week, I had the opportunity to chat with a community group who wanted to learn more about how to spread its message on Facebook.

And, for most emergency situations, we don’t ever worry about how to spread our messages because people actively crave information during times of crisis.

This means that good information about emergency responses spreads quickly, but how does one spread messages on Facebook when there isn’t an active emergency?  What about those public education campaigns about preparedness? Do you ever feel frustrated that your non-emergency messages aren’t seeming to get much traction?

Let’s chat about a few ways to ensure that your messages will reach as many people as possible.

First and foremost, if you are administering a “fan page” on Facebook, spend some time building your Facebook community.

  • If you have employees or volunteers to your agency, ask them to follow your Facebook page. Be sure that those you work with most closely know that you are actively sharing key information on Facebook.
  • If you follow or “like” a Facebook page, spend a few minutes to invite your Facebook friends to also “like” the page.  In the left hand side of any Facebook page, you’ll see an option that says “Invite Your Friends to like this page”

Then, as a follower of a page, there are 4 basic actions that you can take:

  1. You can “like” the posts of a page.  This important because when you like content on Facebook, it will show up in the activity column that shows up on the right hand side of your desktop view of Facebook.  Friends are often snoopy and may click on your actions to see what you are liking.
  2. You can comment on posts of the page.  Comment also show up in both the news feeds and activity column, thus sharing your activity even broader than just “liking” content.
  3. You can “click-through” to the articles and links posted by the page.  This is important because Facebook is actively calculating whether or not the links being shared by the page are interesting to its followers. Because Facebook is actively trying to weed out spam, it is looking for pages that getting likes, but may not be posting quality content.
  4. You can “share” posts by the page you are following. By sharing interesting posts to your friends, you broaden the reach of an initial post.  When you click the “share” button, look at who you are sharing the content with.  To the left of the “cancel” button on the share window, it may say “Friends.”  Change this to “public” so that not only your friends see the content, but friends of friends see the content.  This allows your posts to have a much broader reach than just your friends.

The other important thing to consider is that these 4 actions don’t have to be done all at once. If you are participating in a public education or messaging campaign, mix it up a little. Choose to do these actions at different times of the day.

Behavioral research suggests that posting on Facebook between 3p-7p is a popular time to share information AND towards the end of the week is more active than the beginning part of a week.

If you are an administrator of a public page, you can also schedule posts by clicking on the little clock at the bottom of your posting window. This can be important if you are targeting your audience during the more popular hours of the day to engage.

The other important thing to consider when engaging with Facebook is to make your content interesting. You essentially only have 1-2 seconds to engage with people who are actively scrolling down their Facebook feeds.

Video and images are generally much more popular than word. Keep the videos as short as possible and make your images interesting.  It is no secret that pictures of pets, food and travel are some of the most popular images on Facebook. Why is this? Images of these items are specifically not divisive. Content that is religious or political items will directly divide your audience in ways that you might ultimately regret.

Have fun with your campaigns and encourage your community to actively participate so that your messages can be heard and seen throughout Facebook.

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Take Action To Prepare!


Today, we sit on the eve of September 1st which is the 10th Year of…..

National Preparedness Month! 

This month is focused on getting people to think about and take action towards becoming better prepared.

For many emergency service organizations, event planning is underway for various community events, CERT trainings and open houses to put services and activities on display.

And although being prepared is EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY, there are still just a handful of events that everyone can participate in through the avenue of social media.

They include….

  • 30 Days, 30 Ways which, started in Washington, provides a daily challenge and call-to-action.  Players and observers are asked to consider taking one simple step per day to get them more ready for future crises that you may encounter. Not only will the tasks cause you to think, but you can win prizes and will meet others who are participating in preparing themselves as well.  You can follow the game on Facebook at and on Twitter by following @30days_30ways or the hashtag #30days30ways


  • Emergency Kit Cook-off which, started in Arizona, provides a specialized set of shelf-stable ingredients which the public can vote on until midnight of 9/1/14.  Players and observers are then challenged to make a great recipe involving the specific ingredients.  This will creatively cause you to think about items you might be stuck cooking with if disaster were to strike in your local area.  You can follow this challenge on Facebook at and on Twitter by following @kitcookoff or the hashtag #KitCookoff

The American Red Cross has some creative partnerships this year that are creative as well for National Preparedness Month.  They include:

FEMA also has some helpful tools for local programs to honor National Preparedness Month.

  • America’s Prepareathon which aims to ask people to come together for a National Day of Action on September 30th.  You can register your activities at this site.
  • FEMA’s Digital Engagement Toolkit also provides emergency services programs with suggested preparedness messages to be used during September

We also expect to see a variety of hashtags in use on Twitter as well which include #NatlPrep, #NPM14 and #PrepareAThon.

Regardless of how you engage with National Preparedness Month, it is our hope that you will take at least one action to become better prepared for times of crisis.  One simple thing you do today can help make you and your loved ones better prepared for the unexpected.

Take Action! 

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Be Strategic!


Writing a social media strategy does not have to be long and complicated.

I am always surprised when people tell me that they have no strategy. And while it seems comfortable to a fair number of businesses to “wing it” and see what “comes naturally,” that rarely works for long.

Initially, people will have ideas for their social media posts, but after a while, they grow tired or become unsure about what types of messages to post on their social accounts.

A simple exercise can step you through the basic questions that all leadership teams should consider as they draft their social strategy.

These questions are:

  • Who Are Your Target Audiences?
  • What Are Your Communication Goals?
  • What Types of Messages Further Your Communication Goals?
  • Which Social Platforms will Help You Reach both your Target Audience With Your Message Types?
  • How Do You Plan to Archive Your Social Footprint? (If you are not a public agency, you can skip this step)
  • What Are the Next Steps that You Need to Do to Accomplish Your Social Strategy?

I spent some time recently writing a social media strategy for my current agency, so here is a sample of how easy this can be.

Who Are Your Target Audiences? 

  • Residents of my county
  • Public Safety Agencies within my county
  • My agency employees
  • Other 9-1-1 Agencies

What Are Your Communication Goals?

  • Become the public’s trusted voice on issues pertaining to 9-1-1 here in my county
  • Educate the public & dispel rumors/myths relating to services, technologies and public education messages provided by this agency
  • Engage in conversations to enhance understanding of 9-1-1 services within my county through presence, answering questions and being a public face to our local community
  • Human Resources & Employment Opportunities at my agency (i.e. providing a look “behind the curtain” of what it’s like to be a 9-1-1 dispatcher)
  • Provide factual information to residents on ballot-related items that affect agency services to our community
  • Provide a social presence that showcases staff talent and earns the respect of my employees & user agencies
  • Enhance relationship with the news media
  • Amplify messages of public safety agencies with my county
  • Amplify messaging, as appropriate & relative to our target audience, from our professional associations and state-level committees

What Types of Messages Further Your Communication Goals?

  • Status updates about 911 service disruptions & telephone outages,
  • Technology upgrades (and what they mean to residents),
  • Public Education Outreach (events, photos & key messages),
  • Emergency Alert Messages,
  • Employment opportunities,
  • Agency awards, accreditation, honors or best practices (w/congratulations to partner agencies as well),
  • Factual Information about ballot measure issues,
  • Reshares of local public safety agencies & emergency management agencies in our jurisdiction,

Which Social Platforms will Help You Reach both your Target Audience With Your Message Types?

  • Facebook Fan Page
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

How Do You Plan to Archive Your Social Footprint? (If you are not a public agency, you can skip this step)

  • See what my county uses at an enterprise level (through our IT services or PIO office),
  • If no existing enterprise solution, implement Social Safe.

What Are the Next Steps that You Need to Do to Accomplish Your Social Strategy?

  • Secure social media accounts to set placeholder locations,
  • Establish placeholder content on both site,
  • Obtain input from leadership team on social media strategy,
  • Determine site-access privileges,
  • Set Target “Go-Live” date,
  • Determine archive recommendation
  • Establish Agency Social Media Policy,
  • Train employees on Social Media Policy to include:
  1. Social Media Strategy & Purpose
  2. General Facebook Privacy Considerations
  3. Admin Access
  4. Archiving Basics
  5. “Informational Lanes” of other closely affiliated agencies
  6. Gathering/Sharing Ideas to accomplish agency goals

See?  You can do this…..simple questions with answers tailored to what your agency mission and values are.  Make it happen!

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Messages for D.C.

This past week was pretty incredible.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know already that I was in Washington D.C. with a host of other friends and folks for the White House Innovation Day.  You should read my friend, Kevin Sur’s post about this rather incredible experience.  Another post from Kyle Richardson is available at this link.


@maryjofly & @cherylble


Rather than recount similarly, I thought I’d blog today on the messages both shared and observed throughout this trip of a lifetime.

The purpose of our visit was clear:  To identify and evaluate the existing challenges surround the use of collaborative technologies and big data in emergency response.

Simply?  Why aren’t every day first responders using social media and data to inform key decisions?

And, over the course of 36 hours, I was able to sit in meetings at the White House, FEMA, Senate, House of Representatives and at our #DC Tweetup that was attended by #SMEM friends, contractors and tech agencies who were discussing these same issues in-depth, resulting in these key messages:

“Whole Community” Needs Refinement:  

While I’ll be the first to tell you that I firmly believe in the notion of “whole community” because I believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to engage in emergency response, public agencies still struggle with how to incorporate the voice of its residents and digital technology providers.  We still see many technology providers aiming to fit their products into the disaster services sphere without the direct involvement of emergency service providers.  And, while often, we can see some decent applications of technology, it occurs more by happenstance and not by direct intentional engagement.  In order to be effective, the idea of “whole community” needs to be defined such that it provides quality roles for public safety agencies, other government entities, students, volunteers, private sector, and NGO’s.

Rather than Creating Technology Solutions, Government Should Develop Trust & Meaningful Engagement with Tech Developers

Emergency responders should not be making technology and conversely, technology providers should not be leading the emergency response.  For years, we have seen public agencies recreate the technical wheels of ideas that were often first birthed in the private sector.  For example, government has attempted versions of social networks and damage reporting tools that look similar to both Facebook and Instagram, but few of the public apps have ever caught on in the public sphere like the ones more widely accepted.  We have to develop trust and meaningful engagement between both groups so that people can lend their expert perspective into the development of technology and so that we are truly solving problems in a meaningful way.


Resistance to Social Media is Primarily Cultural & Resource-Based  

While we still encounter people who are simply opposed to social media, the primary reluctance is often a deficit in the time & space to learn how to use collaborative technologies.  And while those of us who use social media know that it allows us to become situationally aware more quickly, to the emergency manager who doesn’t yet use social media, the perception still exists that it is “one more thing to learn or manage.”  And, perceptually, this remains a barrier.

Sidenote:  I’m not sure how that perception is helped when we highlight 20 new applications that could be used for emergency response.  Frankly, there needs to be a vetting service or ability for the community to highlight the apps that work well during emergency response.  The presence of so many options can, in turn, become cumbersome to someone who just doesn’t yet know where to begin.

There is More Than One Way to Achieve Situational Awareness: Help Is Available

As I sat near Emergency Managers who were feeling overwhelmed by social media, I found myself sharing very openly about the use of virtual teams.  If you are an Emergency Manager who isn’t sure how to harness social media, you don’t have to do it by yourself.  There are many groups using people to monitor social media and provide key information directly to emergency management organizations.  Most notably, Virtual Operation Support Teams (VOST) have been working in many states and countries to develop trusted relationships with emergency management organizations.  Other groups like the Red Cross Digital Volunteers and Humanity Road have also been working in this sphere over the past several years.

“Virtual” Teams Are Not Synonymous with “Volunteer” Teams

While many of the virtual teams that exist today are staffed by volunteers, it is important to note that this model does not provide long-term sustainability.  Many virtual teams may provide solid assistance for 3-5 days; however, in nearly every after-action report, team leaders report that the sustainability of their service can be problematic or reliant on 1-2 individuals.  It is important to recognize that social media monitoring does take time and effort and that pulling people away from day jobs to accomplish this can only be done long-term if you are able to reassign members of your own organizations to accomplish these goals.  Otherwise, it will be important to evaluate how we can build this capacity to support longer duration events.

Virtual Teams Should Be Resource-Typed and Credentialed

If you followed me around, you heard me say this more than once. Many federal organizations are still wrestling with where virtual teams should reside in the emergency response framework.  While staffed by volunteers, it is easy to say “let’s make them another Citizen Corp team” along with our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) folks.  But I strongly disagree.  Virtual Teams are providing key information into the emergency response directly to emergency response entities.  As such, they need to be credentialed and given credibility like any other communication-team or communications-based asset.

We currently use our community volunteer teams differently. Often, they are taking on tasks that emergency responders don’t have time for or are distracting emergency responders from completing their life-safety missions.  While important, volunteer teams are usually at different levels of the emergency response with different types of missions.  Virtual Teams that are providing situational awareness are not operating independently of emergency responders, and in fact, may be engaging with them very directly.  As such, like a COM-L or COM-T, we need to give some thought to what resource-typing these task forces looks like to enhance the delivery of consistent service across emergency response.

I’m sure there were many more talking points that I missed, but needless to say, it was a true honor and privilege to be invited to attend this event and all of the surrounding events that were a part of my trip back to Washington D.C.

Special thanks to Martha Braddock (@msbraddock) of IAEM who coordinated many of the meetings on my first day in town.  And, another word of thanks to Doc Lumpkins (@find_doc) of FEMA who invited us in for some fun early morning conversation as well.

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DC Tweetup?


About a week from now, a number of #SMEM folks will be converging on Washington D.C. to attend the White House Innovation for Disaster Response & Recovery Day on Tuesday, July 29th.

And, if you’ve ever met me, you know that I love to meet folks that I’ve only chatted with on Twitter or other social media platforms.  Because, while chatting over Twitter is great, it’s only the beginning of our potential friendship. There are connections, memories and just plain awesome things that happen when you’re able to share a hug over your favorite beverage.

So, we can’t let this opportunity go by without aiming to connect as many #SMEM folks as possible. If you are heading to Washington D.C. or you live close enough to visit us “tourists,” fill out the following form so that I can get a headcount of who all might be available to get together.  It’s also tremendously important for making restaurant reservations since group dining in D.C. can be a little bit tricky.

Once I have some reservations in place, I’ll jet an email to everyone who has RSVP’ed. Of course, if you don’t RSVP, you can likely catch up with us on Twitter on the 28th or 29th, but it might be standing room only for you.

Hope to see you there!  If not, I’m sure you can watch us all tweeting under whatever hashtag organically comes to be. I know I’ll have #GirlInTheCity going and I suspect #WHsmem or something else will get cross-tweeted to the #SMEM tag so y’all can join the fun from wherever you are.


Cheryl Bledsoe (@cherylble)


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