Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
August 2010

In This Issue
Social Media for Emergency Managers
Just When You Thought It Was Over
Social Media and Disasters
From the Bookshelf
Speaking Engagements
Featured White Paper
Social Media for Emergency Managers 
Some Thoughts on Strategy


f you've been paying attention over the past few weeks, you'll have noticed that social media has been creating a buzz in the emergency management community. As an emergency manager, I'm extremely interested in any tool that can help with crisis communications.

Like most of my colleagues, I'm not a particular fan of social media and for a long time, I thought (or hoped) that it was merely another passing fad.

I totally missed the point of social media.


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Welcome to the August issue of Emergency Management Solutions
Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of discussion in our profession about the use of social media in emergency management. I hope you will find this month's white paper on the subject of use. 
Lucien Canton
Just When You Thought It Was Over
On August 10 the World Health Organization announced that the H1N1 pandemic was officially over. The following day, however, the BBC announced that a new "super bug" resistant to even our most powerful antibiotics had been located in UK hospitals. The bug seems to be "new" in the sense that we are just hearing about it but apparently there have been similar infections noted in the US, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. It's particularly endemic to India and Pakistan.
The message for EMs? You need to plan for infectious disease in general and not just the "flavor of the month" that's getting media attention.
Social Media and Disasters II
Last month I discussed the Ushahidi software package, suggesting that social media might offer a way for us to gain disaster intelligence. In a recent blog, I summarized some of the findings of a recent Red Cross survey on social media in disasters. Judging by the frequency with which I am seeing this subject raised on blogs, email lists, conference agendas, etc., social media in disasters has become the "Next Big Thing" for our profession. While, like most of you, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the social media world, there's no denying that we need to respond to a public expectation that we will be accessible and provide information through social media outlets. So do your homework and start thinking about how you can get ahead of the curve. This is going to require a whole new mindset as to how we provide crisis communications in the future. See my featured whitepaper for more on this topic.
From the Bookshelf
There are quite a few books in my reference library but one I find myself constantly returning to is Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States by Kathleen Tierney, Michael Lindell, and Ronald Perry. The book is an overview of thirty years of research on preparedness and response presented in a very accessible format.
One of the problems we sometimes face as emergency managers is that we think we know how people will respond but, as is painfully obvious sometimes, we really don't. This book is great tool to help you start basing your programs on fact rather than disaster mythology.
Speaking Engagements
October 30: Emergency Management Program Fundamentals, International Association of Emergency Managers Conference, San Antonio TX.
November 1: Forge of the Gods: Volcanoes as the Ultimate Cascading Event,  International Association of Emergency Managers Conference, San Antonio TX.
Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops. You can find more details on my website.