My mandate was three-fold:
- coordinate comms/emergency information with provincial entities
- provide assistance and advice to local officials if requested/needed
- act as liaison between provincial authorities and local officials
A few generic lessons reveal themselves (and I don't want to get into too many specific details ... those will come in fulsome debriefs with all parties involved.) ... but I'm okay with general observations:
- The primary quality of an effective liaison officer is the ability to listen, be humble, offer advice only when sought ...
- Coordination is only possible when all parties involved see a benefit ...
- The use of social media in emergency management programs on the ground varies greatly between regions and the seat of government
- Social media monitoring is slowly being recognized as a necessity ... however, few organizations have the surge capability, the right policies and procedures, to operationalize the data gathered ... and to engage effectively with audiences.
Yes, that is a good first step ... using SM as a crisis comms tool ... this one-way push of info can be effective and lead to broader two-way dialogue and engagement ... You got to start somewhere !
We tried to make as much multimedia materials available on Emergency Management Ontario's Facebook page. It worked ... visits and likes were way up! So content does matter.
Further observations include:
- Many still see traditional media as the main audience, the key channel to get information to residents in an emergency
- crises/disasters represent fantastic opportunities to reiterate preparedness messages ... this was done masterfully in this case ...