FEMA administrator Craig Fugate on use of social media in emergency management
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate addressed the American Red Cross Emergency Social Data Summit on the growing use of social media in emergency management. Fugate discussed ways social media can be used by emergency managers and the public alike to communicate during a disaster.
"As social media becomes more a part of our daily lives, people are turning to it during emergencies as well," said Fugate. "We need to utilize these tools, to the best of our abilities, to engage and inform the public, because no matter how much federal, state and local officials do, we will only be successful if the public is brought in as part of the team."
Fugate has made the use of social media and mobile technology a priority in FEMA's outreach to the public. This includes the launch of a mobile version of FEMA's website (m.fema.gov), earlier this year as well as the capability for disaster survivors to register for federal assistance directly on their smartphones.
Following the flooding in Tennessee this spring, FEMA and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency teamed up to create a Facebook page where users could get updates from the state, share information, and learn about resources that may be available in the ongoing recovery.
Fugate's remarks came after the American Red Cross released a survey earlier this week, highlighting the public's use of social media during emergencies. According to the survey, an increasing number of people turn to social media for updated information during an emergency, and nearly three out of four users believe that posting an urgent request for help via a social media site would be an effective way to reach local authorities and receive a response within an hour.
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