FEMA – Taking Emergency Management by Storm

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This weekly blog pinpoints huge happenings in the world of Federal government contracting. Check out more on our Twitter account: @RIVA_Solutions. And search our new hashtag, #FedBuzz, for daily updates and join the conversation! Weekly, we, here at RIVA Solutions, like to spotlight government agencies that are leading the way as part of the new social government. We profile the agencies, their public affairs officers, new media directors, web mavens and other gov communicators who give form to the messages that the agencies want to convey. Are you ready to learn about this week’s agency? Read on!

A couple of months ago, we briefly touched on DHS and how they were promoting #OpenGov within their agencies through the use of social media. One of the companies that have caught our attention is FEMA or The Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA’s mission is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that “as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.”

FEMA has been engaging in Web 2.0 and social media sites as part of its mission to prepare the nation for disasters. FEMA’s goals with social media are: to provide timely and accurate information related to disaster preparedness response and recovery; provide the public with another avenue for insight into the agency’s operations; and engage in what has already become a critical medium in today’s world of communications. FEMA’s social media ventures function as supplemental outreach, and as appropriate channels for unofficial input.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. These sites contain updates in the form of news, information and videos on disaster recovery and information on preparing for the next time disaster strikes.

“Events worldwide have demonstrated how quickly social media can connect people and allow them to share information and help one another,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen. “We have been able to reach the survivors of disasters through our continued posting to social media websites such as twitter and Facebook.” – http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=60217

Reading a recent article, we learn that FEMA is evolving with their social media practices. The article explores FEMA from over a year ago, and their reluctant response to using social media during the Joplin Tornado Aftermath. FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, admits that the changing social media climate within a long-standing organization can be difficult; however, FEMA has been able to use the social media for funneling information such as pictures and posts. By concentrating on hashtags, FEMA is able to more quickly determine the severity of damage and be able to respond quicker.

In this writer’s opinion, the use of social media by an organization such as FEMA, helps us to be aware of the problems that the country is faced with. It also helps us to mobilize as citizens, to donate or volunteer.  In the aforementioned article, the social media campaign during the Joplin Tornado Aftermath started with a mother and daughter team, and quickly grew to a source of knowledge for the survivors, volunteers, news, and media outlets. FEMA was not the source of information in this situation, however it did teach them about the importance of social media and I am positive that they are working diligently to ensure that they are the hub of information revolving around all natural disasters and emergency management.

Keep up to date with these FEMA handles or find more local handles at http://www.fema.gov/help/social_media.shtm.

www.facebook.com/fema
Twitter: @FEMA
Youtube.com/fema
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