Enhancing Community Resilience with Bi-directional Crisis and Risk Communications on Social Media

Authors: Ryan Kirby*, Louisiana State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Communication, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Social Media, Emergency Management, Community Resilience, Bi-directional Communication, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Isaac, Hurricane Harvey
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Emergency Management has undergone a major overhaul in the twelve years since Hurricane Katrina. The Department of Homeland Security National Emergency Communications applies components of resilience theory to strategize towards the goal of reaching more people more rapidly with better information after a disaster by applying a multi-level approach. Emergency managers realize the potential for real-time bi-directional communication and technology has responded with the advent of social media.

As the opportunities to reach more Americans over social media continues to rise, government agencies, nongovernment organizations, and private sector businesses supporting emergency management play a greater role in the quality of response to and recovery efforts by interacting with affected citizens following a disaster over web-based communication channels. Related research suggests effective crisis and risk-related stretch beyond the warning and emergency messages following a public health crisis. In addition, the implementation of push, pull, and community engagement communication tactics in the quiet phases of emergency management may help emergency managers reach a greater audience when the seconds count, thus reducing disparity in emergency communications.

Following a retrospective look into the use of social media in Emergency Management during 2012 Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, the current study applies a mixed-methods approach to understand how agencies and organizations active in Emergency Management currently employ web-based communications. The study targets organizations at all levels in the states and counties affected by Hurricanes Sandy, Isaac, and Harvey. Anticipated results include mapping of timing, content, and reach of recent emergency communications on social media.

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