The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently collaborated with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Response and Recovery (ORR), External Affairs, and the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), as well as various public safety and emergency management practitioners, to develop, pilot, and launch a single page web application called the Social Media for Emergency Managers (SMEM) Guidance Tool. The SMEM Guidance Tool will increase first responder and emergency managers’ ability to deliver messages to the public before, during, and after an incident by providing social media planning templates, resources, and best practices to first responders, emergency managers, and public information officers (PIO) looking to develop effective social media emergency operations programs and better reach their community where they are.
To create the SMEM Guidance Tool, DHS S&T funded Corner Alliance to perform original research into social media best practices. Corner Alliance interviewed communications teams and stakeholders from various emergency management agencies at multiple levels of government, synthesized the research and interviews into planning guidance focused on the emergency response community, and researched effective delivery mediums for their findings. Through that effort the team identified common gaps in communications planning across response agencies, formulated the structure of the SMEM Guidance Tool, and validated the tool with potential users prior to delivery.