Social Media 4 Emergency Management

Connect, Collaborate, Contribute

Social Collaboration?


Because I have a reputation for using social media, I find that I am often invited to projects or committees so as to “bring the social media” to the table.

People are often surprised when I don’t bring up the topic of social media at all.

Social media is a great tool, but regular use doesn’t always indicate that your process is social.

Let’s talk about how you collaborate currently on your projects.

When you have a face-to-face meeting with all of the players or partners involved on a project, you have a highly social environment.

From the start, people are able to make eye contact, gauge body language, set objectives and work on identified outcomes. You have a direct ability to transform a project from one stage to its successive next stage.

Note: If you’re attending face-to-face meetings and projects are making no noticeable progress, you need to evaluate the value of that meeting.

One way to test the value of the meeting is to evaluate if any transformation has taken place from where information was at the beginning of the meeting to what occurred by the end of the meeting. If information makes no noticeable change, you could likely have shared this same information via static format like an email or a newsletter. Don’t waste people’s precious meeting time unless you are aiming to make forward-moving progress.

Now, think about how you collaborate outside of meetings:

  • Are participants able to choose their level of engagement?
  • Can participants see the comments/feedback from other partners or players?
  • Can project evolution be accessed, if desired?
  • Are project documents/history all easily accessible for partners?
  • Can partners or players easily see the next steps or how to engage in the project?
  • Are the tools being used simple and understandable?
  • Are you getting the outcomes that you wish to see of other participants?

Many projects still rely on email for collaboration.  Email is a really challenging tool for collaboration.

If you have 5 or more partners attempting to work on a project, a simple “reply all” on email grows annoying very quickly.  If project history or documents are primarily shared via email, you may be missing partners right from the start who have size-based limitations on what can be shared over their email servers.

Some collaborative methods of working together include:

  • InstantConference provides a set of free tools for teleconferencing
  • Doodle.Com for collaborative scheduling,
  • Skype which allows for document sharing, voice, video and chat-based conferencing,
  • Google+ Hangouts which allow for video-based meetings which can be recorded,
  • Google Docs which allow multiple people to edit a document at once
  • WikiSpaces which allows collaborative working on a topic
  • QikPad and Pirate Pads allow for quick work in a shared space along with chat features
  • Trello provides a way to collaborate easily on to-do lists and next step elements of projects
  • Dropbox allow partners to easily share files.

It’s not so much which tool you use, but rather a mindset that says “can everyone engage to the level in which they are interested in the project?”

Can people access information, make progress on the project and contribute without emails being required?  If your answer to this question requires an email, you might want to check out a collaborative tool and see if that helps to boost the level of engagement among your participants.

Working collaboratively can save you an incredible amount of time.  The more you collaborate, the more you’ll crave it.  It will indeed transform the way you work.

The one downside, however?  You will begin to notice how much email-based collaboration still occurs….and how ineffective it truly is.  Sorry!

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Looking Back Over 10 Years

I will never forget the first week of January in 2004.

It was perhaps the most epic week that I had experienced to date because I…

  • Turned 30 years old,
  • Was in my 1st week as an Emergency Manager,
  • Had to be a quick study because the Pacific Northwest was experiencing a rather historic snowstorm, and
  • Learned I was pregnant with my first child.

In my first 10 years following college, I had worked in the Juvenile Justice system.  I interned as a Crime Victim Advocate, worked in a correctional facility for young men, worked transitionally in a youth shelter for girls who had become impregnated through rape & incest situations and finally settled into working in a risk assessment center, determining release plans for youth at the point of their arrest.  I loved my jobs in this career field, but didn’t really see myself advancing long-term.  So, I pursued my Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Shortly after finishing my degree, I started looking at other positions in county government.  And, I got my first interview to be a County Commissioner’s assistant.  I thought that job sounded like fun.  During my interview with the County Administrator, he asked me one fateful question which was “What do you know about Homeland Security?”

This was such a surprising question because during my Master’s program, I had been assisting a professor write her book about the Department of Homeland Security.  During my final year, my professor departed the university, which left me in a lurch because no other professor was willing to work on that topic as part of my thesis work.  When the County Administrator asked me this question, I don’t think he anticipated the earful I gave him.

A week later, I got a call.  I didn’t get the Commissioner Assistant job, but if I was willing to wait, he asked if I’d be willing to work on creating a Homeland Security office that worked closely with Emergency Management.  Of course, the rest is history.

My first few days on the job occurred during a very snowy winter which had sparked a local activation of our Emergency Operations Center.  I was quickly beginning to understand what the Incident Command System was by living it and trying to digest the Emergency Operations Plan as quickly as humanly possible.

As I wander down memory lane, I thought it might be fun to consider where technology was in 2004.

In doing a little review of Forbes, Wikipedia and other pop culture sites, the following describes where we were 10 years ago in the tech world:

  • Laptop computers were about $750-800 and becoming more affordable to users.
  • The camera phone market was relatively new.  Nokia predicted that 2/3rd of phones make have cameras in the future.
  • 3.0 Megapixel cameras were around $200.
  • iPod’s were predicted to reach the $250 price point, but $200 still seemed out of the question.
  • Video-blogging was just becoming possible.
  • Facebook launched on the Harvard campus to students only.
  • Nintendo launched it’s DS handheld gaming system.
  • TiVO was predicted to be overtaken by EchoStar and be “clobbered” in 2004.
  • DVD players were about $300.
  • Bluetooth Technology was new.
  • MySpace turned from file storage into a social networking site.
  • Google offered its initial IPO and raised $1.6 billion dollars.

And if you really want a glimpse of 10 years ago, check out my hair!  It’s okay to laugh.  Remember, I was just exiting my roaring 20′s.

me pic

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CEM Credential Lessons


Having spent the better part of this weekend working on my Certified Emergency Manager recertification through the International Association of Emergency Management, I have a few observations which will hopefully help you if you are seeking your CEM credential in our profession.

First, and foremost, don’t wait until the last minute to round up all of the proofs to illustrate that you have been working hard over the last 5 years.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I waited too long to decide whether or not I would recertify.  My dilemma has been this: I LOVE being an emergency manager, but I don’t love documenting everything I do.

To be frank, in my 10 years as an emergency manager, I feel like we spend far too much time filling out forms that say what we do and don’t spend near enough time actually doing the work.

I don’t use the CEM acronym after my name because I don’t like to feel like I have to cite a bunch of letters to prove my worth in this field.  Beyond that, initials are often used as points of expertise and exclusivity.  And, in my world, I often learn more from volunteers than I do from anyone else.

But I did pursue my CEM credential 5 years ago because I wanted to illustrate commitment to my profession and because it requires me to reflect on what I have been doing over time.  It allows me to self-evaluate against set standards and it is healthy to gauge the contributions I make to this field.

What was humorous over these past 5 years is that my recertification manual truly tells a story of how social media has changed my world.  5 years ago, I met most of the CEM proofs, but some of them took some “creative” connectivity.  This year, I could have certified in every category except for proctoring CEM tests thanks, in large part, to working with social media & emergency management.  And there were committees and projects that I left on the cutting room floor simply because I didn’t want to burn up a 2nd ream of paper.

If you are contemplating obtaining your CEM certification someday, here are some recommendations:

1)  Start keeping copies of these types of documents as you work:

  • Training Agendas & Sign-In Sheets
  • Training Certificates of Completion
  • Thank You Notes for presentations
  • Committee Assignment Letters
  • Leadership Award Letters or Media Announcements
  • Conference Badges (yes, believe it or not, they count as proof of your attendance)
  • Conference Agendas (along with things you learned at the conference)
  • Special Assignments
  • Publications in which you are mentioned.
  • Letter from Legislators that prove you had contact with them.

2)  Take a look at the Certification Manual online so that you can determine which types of “professional contributions” you plan to make over 5 years.  Then, add those to your ”to-do” list.  The link for certification is:

3)  Be attentive to the types of training that you sign up for.  Remember, only 25 hours in each category get credit.  This means that you need to take training on a broad spectrum of skills and experiences.  And, of the 100 hours needed to recertify, 25 of those have to be in a ”general management” category and not “emergency management.”  Planning ahead can help.

4)  If you are on a limited training budget, keep an eye on the FEMA Independent Study courses and take the new courses as they come out.  The link for these courses is:

And, I hear a rumor that certification will be available through an online application in 2014 (which is a really good thing because if I have to send another 3-ring binder through the mail in 5 years, I may really get annoyed).

On a separate note: if you are an organization that runs a credentialing or certification process, you should really consider some collaborative technology development.  As I was completing this paper-based, data collection process, I couldn’t help but be annoyed at how futile it is to send all of these paper records to a fate where they will ultimately be destroyed after review.

Seriously?  This is 2013, right?

Let’s consider for a minute how useful it could be to have professional emergency managers submit their experiences online to a searchable database.  Then, let’s dream about the power of mobilizing our professionals based on their skill sets and experiences with emergencies, technologies and communication skills.

This kind of dreaming could become a reality quickly if the leadership teams in organizations truly embrace the desire to collaborate in the most effective manner possible.  In days of shrinking resources, we need to seriously look at systems across our profession to better evaluate ways to minimize the effort and maximize the return.

Okay, I’ll stop now.  And get back to labeling my binder tabs and baking some holiday cookies.

May you all be blessed this week as you celebrate your special days with those you love.  It’s hard to believe that 2014 is just around the corner.

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My Problems With Press Releases


If you have access to any “public information officer curriculum,” I have a homework assignment for you:

Check the curriculum and compare how many slides are dedicated to social media versus the number focused on writing press releases.

Recently, I have been taking a look at both public information slides and videos and it is interesting to see how dated many presentations are with regards to information dissemination.

Often, there is a “nod” to social media where a slide will say “it’s important and you might want to figure it out,” but rarely is there any specific discussion of the benefits or instruction on how to use it effectively.

What really kills me though is the extraordinary focus on press release development! Typically, PIO curriculum will spend several slides talking about the length, clarity of the ideas conveyed and having a bold title or “hook” in the release.


When you are in a dynamic situation, spending time fashioning a perfect press release is rarely going to be possible. In fact, while you are writing that press release, people around you are tweeting, posting on facebook and filling in the blanks you think you will be answering.

Press releases are too long and too slow. That is all.

Your public information officer or section should be fashioning talking points just as quickly as you can verify key information about your emergency.

These talking points should be focused on the following types of information:

  • Identify who the “official sources” are that will be sharing information,
  • Share what is happening and confirmed (or share openly about when you can or will share more information),
  • Provide information on how people can protect themselves, and/or
  • Give ideas on how people/onlookers can help (channel the benevolent desire to help immediately).

If you are managing public information in an emergency, your list of talking points should be dynamic and changing regularly.  Allow for various ways for dissemination and forgo the need to approve every single message.  Instead, ensure that the talking points are reviewed and approved periodically.

Social Media information significantly changes what is possible for both Public Information and Planning sections of any Emergency Operation Center (EOC) or Incident Command Post (ICP).  Be sure that your training curriculum stays current and doesn’t find itself wasting time on antiquated products like press releases.

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And the Results Are???

seedsTwo weeks ago, I shared the seeds of a vision that I’ve had for just over a year now which involves developing an emergency management association or think tank that truly involves a whole community of participants.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve found myself engaging with state and national emergency management associations, technology groups, volunteer organizations and educational institutions, but they are all led by “experts” within each of their respective fields.  I have yet to find an organization, in my quest, that truly brings together voices from all of these levels, in an accessible manner, to focus on and solve issues posed by crises.

  • Technology vendors have a hard time finding trust among emergency managers who are concerned about being “sold something.”
  • Volunteers find it hard to gain the trust, credibility and respect among first responders and emergency managers.
  • Emergency managers and government officials find it difficult to be credible in the face of emerging technology developers because of the bureaucracy and red tape created by process and contracts.
  • First responders and emergency managers focus on response elements while community organizations focus on recovery missions.
  • Emergency response is done differently in different countries, leading to “expert bias” among countries who think they have solved things that other countries have not.

Truth be told, we ALL wear glasses that are colored by our perspectives and yet, at our core, we all want the same thing.  We want our communities to recover from disaster as quickly as possible, right?

Social media is one of the first places where all of these groups find themselves on a more level playing field.  Each group has unprecedented access to discuss, evaluate and work through issues related to emergency management.  More importantly, players in social media can develop trust, reputation and credibility in ways that do far more than just “exchange business cards” before disaster strikes.

And beyond just chatting about how we respond, people now find themselves becoming part of the emergency response when they are able to contribute pictures and videos of the disaster at hand or answer affected people directly through a variety of social platforms.

I want to harness this energy which brings me to my original idea of a Virtual Emergency Management Association which spawned the survey I asked people to participate in 2 weeks ago.  In order to be transparent with you, it feels right to share the responses.

  • About 40 people responded to the initial survey (There is one response which I think might be a duplicate).
  • Responses came in from the United States, Canada, Italy, Latvia and Nepal. (The international appeal pleasantly surprised me.)
  • 3 people said that I should work through other, existing associations
  • 6 people said they would likely be passively supportive
  • 30 people said they would actively support the development of such an association and provided many wildly kind comments about making this happen.

Emails were sent out to those who were supportive, asking for participation in a Doodle poll regarding schedules to determine a time where we could chat further about this vision.  The time & date of our follow-up conference call have been set for Thursday, December 12th, at 1:00 p.m. PST.

If you are interested in actively supporting this vision, it’s not too late to join the conversation.  Simply jet me an email of interest at and I will send you the call information.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey over the past 2 weeks.  I look forward to additional conversation on this idea in the coming weeks and will, of course, keep you posted should anything further develop.

In this special Thanksgiving week, let me say that I am genuinely thankful for every single person that I’ve met, collaborated with and befriended over my past 5 years in social media.  I’ve been blessed to already make a lot of my personal dreams come true through working with #SMEM folks over the past few years and appreciate the opportunity to consider yet another.

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Mobilizing a “Whole Community”

batkid-1-615x400This past Friday, you had to be ignoring all media to miss Batkid.

San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City in order to make a 5-year old child’s dream come true.

This story is incredible for many reasons, but it touched me as a beautiful illustration of “whole community.”

If you’ve been an emergency manager over the past few years, you have heard this term from our federal friends at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

From its “whole community website” at,  FEMA explains that whole community should…

  • Engage and empower all parts of the community. Engaging the whole community and empowering local action will better position stakeholders to plan for and meet the actual needs of a community and strengthen the local capacity to deal with the consequences of all threats and hazards. This requires all members of the community to be part of the emergency management team, which should include diverse community members, social and community service groups and institutions, faith-based and disability groups, academia, professional associations, and the private and nonprofit sectors, while including government agencies who may not traditionally have been directly involved in emergency management. When the community is engaged in an authentic dialogue, it becomes empowered to identify its needs and the existing resources that may be used to address them.

And although this definition exists, many emergency management programs still work with very limited groups of public safety agencies.  We struggle with incorporating private sector partners, faith-based organizations, celebrities, schools and residents within our local communities.

But here is what I saw in Batkid story:

Now, I have a few questions for your consideration:

  • Could a story like this have gone viral using just traditional news media?
  • Did everyone who participated with Batkid know exactly what the “Make-a-Wish” plan was?
  • Were all of the volunteers background checked and given a specific assignment for participation?
  • Did everyone sign in?
  • Was the media messaging all coordinated and approved?
  • Who was the Incident Commander?

I’m about to sound very heretical to most trained emergency managers, but “whole community” is about everyone coming together to fill a need. Magic happens when resilient communities get creative and have the power to contribute.  Sometimes, we let our “emergency response planning” get in the way of truly engaging our communities.  We require others to play in “our way” using “our rules.”

What do you think would happen if we focused more on creating meaning, emotional connection and ways for people to get involved in easy ways?  What if we focused on developing the relationships and becoming friends to our communities rather than creating paper-based plans.  What if we asked “Make A Wish” to coordinate our next emergency response?

Social Media gives us all the power to participate, communicate, identify needs and develop communities where everyone has a role to play.  But we first have to buy into the notion that everyone has a role to play and we, as government officials, can’t write all of the rules.  We’ve got to tap into the creative, focus on outcomes and care less about the process of how we get there.  Could you replicate this 5-year old’s dream in your current organization?

Identify the need + Ask for help + Make Your Cause Worth Caring About + Be Willing to See What Happens = Something Cool.

Are you working to mobilize your community through relationships and communications?  I hope so.  Because that is magical.

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Dreams for Year 4


Three years complete.

So, what it is in store for Year 4?

I have really enjoyed collaborating and chatting with the colleagues that I have met over the past 5 years since I started using social media.

It has changed the way I connect with people and challenged me to do some rather crazy things which have included:

  • Attending “tweet-ups” and meeting over 200 people that I had only talked to before on social media,
  • Putting together a “140 Character” Conference with 58 speakers in one day, focused on the intersection between government & social media,
  • Speaking at conferences all over the United States,
  • Completing 3 years in leadership of my State EM Association,
  • Facilitating a global VOST Leadership Coalition,
  • Creating and managing a successful game called 30days, 30ways with participants all over the world,
  • Participating in foot races with teams using social platforms all over my city,
  • Walking a half marathon in Las Vegas,
  • Recently, running my own political campaign.

Honestly, I attribute most of these activities to social media and a desire to always push the envelope to what we can do next…..and I feel like the past 5 years is pushing me towards developing an umbrella organization to further enhance existing efforts on the “Social Media & Emergency Management” continuum.

I talk to so many people who are hungry for more training and networking in this arena……so, I have a few questions for you.

Please consider taking the following survey and sharing with others in your professional circles. This will help me craft and refine the vision for this project and better gauge the energy of the community.  Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts!



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3rd Year Review

3rd birthdayTomorrow marks the 3 year anniversary of a conversation that started on Twitter and hasn’t stopped.

That’s right, the #SMEM hashtag which has come to mean “bridging the gap between social media and emergency management” will celebrate the fact that not only is the hashtag alive and well, but has brought so many diverse people into this conversation.

As I look back over this 3rd year, we have gone through a number of significant and tragic events.

The short list includes:

And, you don’t have to look very hard to find articles that talk about the significant social media activity involved in all of these significant events.

If you are relatively new to social media, we’re glad that you’re here!

But if you’re still deciding whether social media is important to your emergency management program, click on each of the events listed above to see how social media was involved. It’s time to get learning and figure out how to communicate to your residents using social tools and methods.

As for the #SMEM efforts in year 3, here is a small sampling of the many great #SMEM projects and outcomes:

This year, the National Disaster Training Center delivered a ton of Social Media for Disaster Response & Recovery (PER 304) courses.  If you haven’t seen these courses come to your local jurisdiction, be sure they do.  Many of the trainers who deliver this class have also had a significant role in the #SMEM discussions over the past 3 years.

The development of Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) has really gained traction this year. With a number of teams developing here in the United States, there is also significant activity in the countries of New Zealand, Canada and throughout Europe.

This past year,

  • The VOST website was more fully developed by Joanna Lane and contains a number of excellent resources and informative presentations.
  • VOST Leadership Coalition met monthly via teleconference to debrief many of the VOST activations.
  • National VOST Webinar was hosted by the Central Ohio Public Information Network.
  • VOST Field Operations Guide was drafted by Cheryl Bledsoe.
  • VOST Creation Guide was drafted by Mary Jo Flynn.

The Emerging Technology Caucus is a committee within the International Association of Emergency Management.  This group released the following document at their Annual Conference in October which provides some standards for the types of capabilities that should be incorporated into Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs)

The Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) is appointed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate.  They completed the following documents this past year

Additionally, the #SMEMChat continues to engage people on Twitter each Friday, from 12:30p-1:30p EST and covers a variety of topics in this arena.  Unfortunately, the Twitter API change this past year made archiving the chats a little more challenging. Nevertheless, people still gather and talk each Friday.  It’s a wonderful way to exercise and practice talking on Twitter. So, join today!

Fully knowing that I’m going to miss a few things in this post, please accept my advance apologies and add in other significant activities that you have seen over this past year!

There are so many amazing people who have become a part of the #SMEM community.  As a community which includes volunteers and professionals, technology gurus and the technically challenged (which is where I sit), educators, non-profits, NGO’s, first responders and politicians, we are blessed to have a common interest in using social technologies to respond and recover from crisis.

If you have ever used the hashtag #SMEM to mean “Social Media Emergency Management,” we are thankful for you!

Keep up the AMAZING work and let’s have a fabulous Year 4 together.  Cheers!


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Dealing with Naysayers

trollsWhen agencies are considering entering social media, one of the early concerns is “what do I do about negative comments?”

Often, people read the community comments within their local newspaper sites and are fearful that they will experience the same type of vitriol, hatred and rumor-mongering when they seek to share information online.

So, when I get asked about how to handle naysayers, I share the following:

There are trolls online. In fact, wikipedia does an excellent job of providing a good definition of an internet troll:

A troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

These people are not the majority of people online, but many people and agencies will encounter a troll at sometime in their online career.

While the common advice given is not to “feed the trolls,” the issue can be a little more complex than that.

There are cases where people will have a serious bone to pick with an agency or topic and will seem relentless.

There are several approaches that agencies can take with a troll:

  • Look for educational points of interest.  For example, trolls will often begin with a seed of truth.  Often, however, there is misinformation involved.  It can be helpful to provide the accurate information (not necessarily for the troll, but for others who will see the conversation and wonder about the reality of the claim).
  • If, after sharing, the troll continues to berate, disengage.  There is a great quote by Robert Quillen, a journalist, who said a “discussion is an exchange of information, and argument is an exchange of ignorance.”  Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into an argument.
  • It is also important to post language on your social sites about what types of behavior will not be tolerated.  In my case, I use the following guidelines on my websites:   Any graphic, prejudicial, off-topic, inflammatory, repetitive, vexatious, offensive, commercial or otherwise inappropriate posts will be deleted.  You participate at your own risk, taking personal responsibility for your comments, your username and any information provided.

For Facebook, you have the ability to turn off comments on your page and you can delete comments should they fail to abide by your social media guidelines; however, I recommend using these methods as a last resort.  Your community, if provided the right information, will choose whether to speak up or ignore the troll altogether.  It is rare for a troll to replicate and often he or she will be standing alone, seeming to provoke others just for the sake of attention.  Those who lurk or watch the community will see a troll and regularly steer clear of them.  Often, community trolls earn a reputation for these types of behaviors.

For agencies or bloggers who are concerned about trolls, “moderating” posted comments allows you to see the comments in advance before they show up publicly on your site.

Remember, as a public service agency, you will never please 100% of your stakeholders 100% of the time.  Negative comments are not to be feared, but rather signal feedback that provide you the opportunity to evaluate whether or not there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

If there is a problem or lack of information, address it as openly as you can.  And if there isn’t, be flattered that someone finds you controversial enough to poke.

Just remember the old adage from George Bernard Shaw: Never wrestle a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

There is one scenario that is important to consider when it comes to trolls and that involves cyber-bullying. If someone is being picked on, singled out and harassed, it is important to step up and help that person. I have seen this occur online and won’t hesitate to open a dialogue with someone if I see them become an unnecessary target. As someone who has lost far too many friends to suicide, please be mindful and aware.


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It’s IAEM Week!

iaemThis week, emergency managers from just about everywhere have converged on Reno, Nevada, for the annual International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) conference.

And, while this conference will be a fun event for everyone who is attending in person, people may also watch and participate online over the next few days.

This post will outline some of the ways that both conference attendees and onlookers can engage socially.

1) The hashtag in use is #IAEM13 which is already popular on Twitter (but I’ll bet you can also find it in use on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest if you go looking.

2) The keynote lectures will be live-streamed which means you can watch them online via computer.  The link to check out the livestream is and the following events should be there at the times listed below.

  • Brian Fagan, “Swept Away by the Waves” (Monday, 10/28/13, 12:05-13:35 PDT)
  • Dr. Dennis S. Mileti, “The Shifting Character and Context of Emergency Management: Implications for Disaster Losses and Consequences” (Tuesday, 10/29/13 13:10-14:10 PDT)
  • Dr. Rocco Casagrande, “Technologies that Will Change the World this Century: Implications for Security” (Wednesday, 10/30/13, 8:15-09:15 PDT)
  • Dr. Thomas E. Drabek, “New Perspectives on Human Responses to Disaster” (Wednesday, 10/30/13, 9:30-10:30 PDT)

3)  FEMA Think Tank will host a live teleconference on Wednesday, October 30, 2013.  The hashtag used typically for these calls used by participants is #FEMAThinkTank

The FEMA Think Tank is a forum to engage the whole community, connect resources, share best practices, and develop solutions based on individual stakeholder input to the challenges we face in emergency management. Participants are able to join in person or by conference call. For more information on the Think Tank, please visit

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Administrator Richard Serino will host a FEMA Think Tank conference call on October 30, 2013, from the IAEM Conference in Reno, Nevada. The event will provide the opportunity to listen, ask questions, and gain perspective as panelists share their stories on how they use innovative response technology to revolutionize disaster operations, with a particular focus on rescue robots that range from bomb detection to heartbeat detection.

  • WHO: Richard Serino, FEMA Deputy Administrator; John Price, DHS Science and Technology Program Manager; Dr. Ken Goldberg, Professor at University of California at Berkley; Dr. Robin R. Murphy, Professor at Texas A&M University
  • WHEN: Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Pacific)
  • CALL IN877-604-9670 ; PASSCODE: 6288892

4)  A Social Media Exercise will occur at IAEM that should afford opportunities for folks to watch and engage with participants.  Check out this website to learn about how the Emerging Technologies Caucus will be seeking to encourage attendees to use social media:

In addition to the live exercise, being administered by Mary Jo Flynn, there is also an active Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST), outside the IAEM conference, monitoring social media to enhance their social media skills.  Kudos to everyone involved in this fun addition to the IAEM Conference.

If you are at IAEM, consider sharing information with those of us who will be watching online!  This event is a great way to focus on enhancing your skills and learning from some great users who will also be attending the IAEM Conference.  Find them and chat about how they use these tools in their emergency management programs to communicate with their residents.

And, if you aren’t at IAEM, you can hone your “watching” skills and see what you can learn from those who are in attendance.

Trust me, if you have a peer at the conference, you can totally creep them out with what you’ll learn watching online.


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