- Growing Link Between Social Media and Emergency Information 7/5/12

A recent study by the Red Cross revealed some important information about the future of emergency communication and mass notification. In addition to confirming the tremendous growth of social media sites and social networking tools (84% of respondents use social media at least once a week), the study also found that citizens are ready to start using these sites to keep updated with emergencies and important information about the communities around them. More than half of the survey’s participants indicated they would sign up for emails, texts alerts, or web applications to keep them notified of emergency situations. From evacuation routes to road closures, a generation or web-savvy citizens are looking to keep instantly updated with the information they need to stay safe and secure.

As it turns out, these new communication preferences don’t just go one way. The Red Cross also discovered that 69% of survey respondents expected city governments and emergency responders to be monitoring social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in times of trouble to find those in need of help. Nearly three quarters of these individuals expected help to arrive within half an hour of their online request for help. Clearly, the public’s expectations are moving toward new ways for officials and aid organizations to communicate and collaborate with them, and local governments must respond to meet these expectations.

Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, says the report reveals important findings that shouldn’t be taken lightly. “The social web is creating a fundamental shift in disaster response,” she says, “one that will ask emergency managers, government agencies and aid organizations to mix time-honored expertise with real-time input from the public. We need to work together to better respond to that shift.”

At Amatra, the Red Cross’s findings confirm the concepts that we’ve built our business and state-of-the-art Amatra SmartSource™ platform around. Creating an effective and efficient relationship between a local government and its citizens hinges on effective and efficient communication. As the public moves to new methods of preferred communication, governments must similarly adapt. In the next few weeks, we’ll be talking more about groundbreaking applications of social media for governmental and emergency response agencies. We’ll also discuss how the Amatra SmartSource™ platform can manage, control, and track a plethora of communication channels to ensure that when every second matters, everyone gets the message.

To see the complete results of the Red Cross Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies Study, click here.

For more information on the Amatra SmartSource™ platform, click here.