First responders (EMS, police and fire service) have to be able to share the crucial information about the situation (e.g., the location and size of the disaster site) in order to advance their situational awareness and consequently the decision-making capacities of tactical commanders. For this and to be able to involve citizens and other organizations in crisis management (e.g., the local Red Cross) they need to have a mandate to communicate factual information immediately to those who are involved as well as the means to spread information easily and quickly.
- Equip first responders with smartphones that have access to Internet and social media applications.
- Create an infrastructure in which information from social media applications can be shared with front line first responders and vice versa.
- Make explicit how first responders should use the information from social media applications.
- Make sure that all first responders know what information they are allowed to share with citizens.
- Make explicit that time is of essence when it comes to communication with the general public.
- Take into account privacy issues and address these in an appropriate policy and associated social media strategy.