Use Social Media to Communicate Before, During, and After a Major Storm

The winter storms of 2015 launched a “blizzard” of social media, as people across the Northeast posted photos, videos, and personal anecdotes about the snow. While many of these posts helped inject humor into a difficult and sometimes dangerous weather event, they also helped strangers isolated by the storm come together and commiserate. At least as important, social media served as a way for emergency management officials to warn residents about approaching weather conditions (including how to prepare and what to do during and after a storm), and some businesses used it to stay connected with employees, customers and business partners. This allowed them to communicate quickly, widely and accurately—providing such information as the opening status of the business, whether employees needed to report to work, any delays in the provision of goods and services, and when updated operational information would be available. Importantly, while these same social media tools that employees use in their personal lives can be applied to post-disaster business communications at little or no cost, planning ahead is essential to finding the specific social media platforms that will work best. More information is available at DisasterSafety.org/ibhs/using-todays-technology-to-plan-for-tomorrows-disaster.