1. Prepare yourself for crises

An important aspect in dealing efficiently with potential crises is to be prepared for them. Social media offers initiatives like instructional videos through which you can prepare yourself for a crisis. Furthermore, through social media local authorities or agencies might offer opportunities to join (online) training programs that help to deal with emergencies or report on them. It is also possible to seek out crowdsourcing efforts for emergency support purposes. By doing this before a potential emergency you can develop sufficient know-how and contribute efficiently to the efforts in the wake of an emergency.

Key steps: 
  • Make sure you know how authorities are prepared: request information from authorities regarding what preparations they have in place for the use of social media during crisis. Is there (for instance) a predetermined hashtag?
  • Participate in online disaster education and training programmes.
  • Make use of events and social media, focused on crisis preparedness, organised by agencies or authorities.
  • Download social media applications regarding crisis preparedness or response and providing first aid, such as Disaster Alert or the Red Cross first aid app.
  • Identify (and follow on social media) emergency services that may be called into action in case of an emergency in your area.
  • Form or join crowdsourcing networks for emergency support purposes.
  • If you decide to set up a citizen journalism blog or account on social media, make sure you have the broadest scope possible.
  • In order to do so, it is best to organize beforehand; creating a large group of followers and joining citizen journalism networks (local, national, global) in pre-crisis situations can help to share information during a crisis.
Example: 

One in six English properties is at risk of flooding, therefore the environment agency has part of their website dedicated to flood awareness. The site includes a link to the EnvironmentAgencyTV YouTube channel information on flooding and instructions on how to prepare are provided.

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