12. Use social media accounts to prepare citizens for high probability hazards and to inform them of the hazards they face

Citizens only prepare for those crises that they perceive to present a significant and imminent threat to themselves or their relatives; in the absence of danger, individuals do not like to think about any possible negative consequences of a crisis situation. Crisis situations related to frequently occurring (natural) hazards allow more scope for preparedness. Social media applications can be used to inform people about specific risks in their local environment.

Key steps: 
  • Consider developing a smart phone social media application that keeps citizens informed about the hazards in their local environment and preparedness measures they can take.
  • Promote the use of this smartphone application through the social media accounts of your organization.
  • Monitor the hazards, and if the risk of such hazards increases, take timely precautions and communicate by social media.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created a smartphone application for public use. The goal is to educate, notify and distribute and collect information to citizens across all U.S. States and territories.

Walmart used its own hurricane tracking software to track hurricane Katrina. Based on their observations they got emergency supplies, including satellite phones, ready to deal with a crisis situation.

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