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Crisis Communications Landscape has Forever Changed

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A perspective from Waldo Canyon Fire

A perspective from Waldo Canyon Fire

Published in: Technology, Education, Business

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  • 1. That Was Soooo 30 Seconds  Ago:
  • 2. While You Are Here • Set the Stage • The Incident – Waldo Canyon Fire • Opportunities • Lessons Learned – Crisis Communications – Technology / Social Media
  • 3. Set the Stage • Social Media drove the transition from  Information Age to Attention Age • The public is looking for, distributing,  and influencing information with or  without you! • 1st on scene • Prepare now 3
  • 4. The Incident Waldo Canyon Fire – June 2012 • Background • Statistics • Response • My Involvement Your Challenge 4
  • 5. Background • Started mid‐day on  June 23, 2012 • In town for the  DHS/FEMA  Chemical Stockpile  (CSEPP) Workshop  in Pueblo the  coming week 5
  • 6. Official Statistics • Type I Incident • June 23 to July 10, 2012  (100% contained) • Evacuation of approx.  32,000 residents • Partial evacuation of  the Air Force Academy • 347 homes destroyed &  46 homes damaged • 18,247 acres burned  (approx. 11K on June 26th alone) 6
  • 7. The Growing Fire 7
  • 8. The Growing Fire 8
  • 9. Joint Information Center 9
  • 10. Joint Information Center 10
  • 11. The Reality Is… 11
  • 12. The Players • Traditional Media – Appropriate – Reliable or        ? – Timely • Citizen (Public) Journalism – Appropriate – Reliable – Timely 12
  • 13. The Players • Government Publishing – Appropriate – Reliable – Timely 13
  • 14. The Opportunity Go Green!  The goal is to make our  information publishing: – Appropriate (pertinent to the incident) – Reliable (government agencies) – Timely (quicker to the public) This is where social media comes in!! 14
  • 15. Response Agencies 15 • Colorado Springs Fire  Department PIO • Colorado EMA • US Air Force Academy • FEMA (IMT & VIII) • El Paso County Sheriff's  Office • Pike/San Isabel National  Forests • Colorado Public Health  and Environment • Mayor • Colorado Springs Police PIO • City of Colorado Springs • READY Colorado • Pikes Peak Red Cross • Colorado Springs State Patrol • Colorado State Patrol PIO • Pueblo Chemical Depot • Pueblo West Fire • And many more… Active Accounts
  • 16. Messaging 16 Advisory • Please reserve cell phone use for emergencies only to keep the  networks free for emergency personnel use #waldocanyonfire Evacuation • MANDATORY EVACUATION: All Areas N of Garden of the Gods  between I‐25 and Western city limits. #WaldoCanyonFire Incident Impact • Current #WaldoCanyonFire #s (9:00pm): 6,200 acres; 5%  contained; 20,085 residences/160 commercial structures  threatened; 764 personnel Volunteering • HOW YOU CAN HELP: visit http://t.co/FJLQaMCq for ways to  donate/volunteer. #WaldoCanyonFire
  • 17. Messaging 17 • Time Sensitive Information • Inadvertent broadcasts of expired information • For example: 1. “Effective immediately, Mountain Shadows is under  mandatory evacuation”  2. “6/26 5:20pm Mtn Shadows is under mandatory  evacuation” • The inclusion of time stamps into the actual content  helped prevent accidental misinformation.
  • 18. Messaging Online data during the event Courtesy of University of Colorado, Colorado Springs 18 Data Type Characteristics Keyword (Official Hashtag) #waldocanyonfire Tweets 100,134 Unique users (6/25‐6/29) 25,672 Targeted Accounts 16 Targeted tweets (6/1‐7/9) 4,578
  • 19. The Opportunity 19 Remember ‐ We want to Go Green! – Appropriate (pertinent to the incident) – Reliable (government agencies) – Timely (quicker to the public)
  • 20. Lessons Learned • Acquire social media knowledge and tools NOW! • You have to be able to operate within social media • Establish an incident social media policy – Which venues will you use? Test cross‐posting – Prepare strategy statements for the community • Dashboard (HootSuite, Tweetdeck, etc.) – Unified messaging across SM platforms – Scheduling messages – Personal use for familiarity – Analytics may be built in for post‐evals 20
  • 21. Lessons Learned • Regular Communication is key • Footage of burned residences prior to official release • Citizen journalists photos and video of response efforts • Official Hashtag established “late” after variations  already existed • No established phone bank at the JIC – Denver area codes – Caused confusion 21
  • 22. Lessons Learned • Be a part of the community, but remember that you are only  a part – Flow with the conversation – Stay engaged (don’t retreat) – Don’t recreate content—share it – Be as responsive and appropriate as possible – Remember that everyone is under stress • Keep a finger on the pulse – If a question is asked a few times, be proactive – Acknowledge and engage community hubs – Dispel rumors • Don’t tell them what you want to tell them… tell them what  you need to tell them 22
  • 23. Your Challenge • Look Inward • Really Look 23
  • 24. What Now? • Don’t collect “digital dust” • Be present before, during, and after incidents • Map out a clear, workable crisis communication plan early  (and revised it often) • Implement communications strategies that integrate mobile  and social media technologies into their emergency plans 24
  • 25. In Closing 25 Been There…  Done That…  Got the…