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VOST Presentation - The Basics

Virtual Operations Support Teams - The Basics

Social media and social networking are rapidly growing forms of communication and social media is becoming an integral part of disaster response. It's shaping how crises are communicated and responses are coordinated and Emergency Managers need to consider the ongoing resource implications of engaging in social media.
Emergency Managers need to ensure that staff receive appropriate training in both the use of the social media tools and policies associated with their use. Emergency Managers will also have to make sure staff have enough time to validate social media content, push quality and timely information, monitor, moderate, respond to comments, archive and communicate actionable intelligence to decision makers.
What resources does your agency have to commit to the effort?
An innovative solution regarding these resourcing challenges is the development of a Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST).
Virtual Operations Support (VOS) for emergency management and disaster recovery makes use of new communication technologies and social media tools (free and paid for dependent on VOST).
A team of trained agents provide support via the internet to those on-site who may otherwise be overwhelmed by the volume of data generated during a disaster.
VOS Teams (VOST) are activated to perform specific functions in support of affected organizations & jurisdictions. Each VOST has a Team Leader that reports directly to the affected organization/ jurisdiction.
Additional VOSTs may be established and activated to coordinate the work and maintain an effective span of control.

Disclaimer: This presentation is a conceptual description and may vary and be subject to change as per emergency management agency requirements.

Presentation by Caroline Milligan ( @Caz_Milligan ) and Scott Reuter ( @sct_r )

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VOST Presentation - The Basics

  1. 1. The  Basics  
  2. 2. SMEM  Landscape   Social  Media  for  Emergency  Management     Emergency  managers  have  started  to  realize  the  vital  role  social  media  can  play  in   communica<ng  with  ci<zens  in  an  emergency  or  disaster.     Communi<es  have  higher  expecta<ons  around  official  emergency  informa<on   being  available.     Public  expect  official  use  of  social  media  streams,  and  they  expect  emergency   managers  to  monitor  and  respond  to  requests  for  help  over  these  streams  as  well.     However,  few  emergency  response  organiza<ons  are  equipped  to  do  this  kind  of   social  media  monitoring  and  communica<on  at  scale.    
  3. 3. Virtual  Opera<ons  Support  Team   Virtual  Opera<ons  Support  (VOS)  for  emergency  management  &  disaster  recovery   makes  use  of  new  communica<on  technologies  &  social  media  tools.     A  team  of  trusted  agents  lend  support  via  the  internet  to  those  on-­‐site  who  may   otherwise  be  overwhelmed  by  the  volume  of  data  generated  during  a  disaster.     VOS  Teams  (VOST)  are  ac<vated  to  perform  specific  func<ons  in  support  of  affected   organiza<ons  &  jurisdic<ons.  Each  VOST  has  a  Team  Leader  that  reports  directly  to  the   affected  organiza<on/jurisdic<on.     Addi<onal  VOSTs  may  be  established  and  ac<vated  to  coordinate  the  work  &  maintain   an  effec<ve  span  of  control.  
  4. 4. What  is  a  VOST?   Trusted  agents  organized  and  directed  by  Emergency   Management  agencies.   VOST  will  help  expand  the  EM’s  ability  to  engage  with  the   public  before,  during  emergencies,  and  as  part  of  the   recovery  phase.     Engaged   Community   Resources  
  5. 5. How  can  VOST  assist  EM  Agencies?   Tasked   •  Informa<on  finding   •  Spot  Trends     •  Informa<on  dissemina<on   Autonomous   •  Monitoring  public  voice   •  Amplifying  official  message   •  Monitor   •  Analyse   •  Curate   •  Amplify  
  6. 6. VOST  Instance  Cycle   Disaster  occurs/event   selected   Decision  to  ac<vate.   Ac<vated  by  EOC  or  self   ac<vated  to  ensure   data  is  collated  ASAP   Set  tasks,  priori<es,   schedule,  tools/ plaYorms   VOST  expands/contracts   according  to  Incident   command  principles   Deac<va<on,  discussion,   documenta<on,    AAR   Exercises  between   ac<va<ons  to  stay   current  on  tools     &  plaYorms     Concept  
  7. 7. VOST  Ac<va<on   VOST  Team  Lead   and  Agency  Liaison   ac<vate  team,   (or  VOST  decides   to  self-­‐deploy  if     pre-­‐arranged)   VOST  Team  Lead   ac<vates  local   and  nonlocal  team   members   TL   Ac<va<ons  may  vary  and  be  subject  to  change  based  on  pre  arrangements  with  EM  agencies.    
  8. 8. Importance  of  having  both  local  AND   non-­‐local  VOST  team  members              VOST  local  members  have  strong  loca<on  &  cultural  knowledge,  yet  in  <mes  of  disaster,   team  members  outside  area  are  oZen  needed  &  called  upon  to  assist.   Reflects  2012  VOST  Teams  
  9. 9.   Choose  tools  and  services  that  work  across  mul<ple  opera<ng  systems,  and  on  mobile   devices  to  create  resilient,  flexible  and  scalable  info  sharing  systems  that  allow   volunteers  and  agencies  to  communicate  and  share  informa<on  as  easily  as  possible.   Importance  of  having  both  local  AND   non-­‐local  VOST  team  members    
  10. 10. Collabora<ve  tools  &  social  media   plaYorms  are  ever  changing…     Here  are  some  of  the  plaYorms  used  by  VOST.     We  are  always  researching  and  tes<ng  new,  innova<ve  technological  solu<ons  in   order  to  deliver  the  very  best  digital  support  for  EM  agencies.     Social  Networking  |  Micro  blogging  |  Websites/  Blogs  |  SMS  |  Photo/  Video  Sharing  |  Mobile  Web  &  ApplicaIons  |  CollaboraIve  plaLorms    
  11. 11. Using  addi<onal  trained  resources  is   NOT  a  new  idea!   Amateur  Radio  volunteers  con<nue   to  support  communica<on  for  the   emergency  opera<ons  center  (EOC)   in  the  US.   In  conjunc<on  with  the  Digital   Opera<ons  Center,  the  Red   Cross  also  announced  the   crea<on  of  a  Digital  Volunteer   Program.    
  12. 12. How  do  we  make  it  work?  
  13. 13.   VOST  and  the  recovery  phase  of  an   emergency  or  natural  disaster     VOST  will  become  a  cri<cal  addi<onal  resource  for  EM  organiza<ons  in   working  to  verify  and  curate  BIG  data  during  disasters.  The  concept  bridges   no<ons  of  professional,  volunteer  and  community  to  support  the  emergency   management  effort  in  <mes  of  need.          
  14. 14. Sources  /  Reference  Material   •  John  Owen  Butler  -­‐  VOST  at  the  Na<onal  Severe  Weather  Workshop   •  iDisaster  via  Kim  Stephens  (Trial  by  Fire)   •  Scod  Reuter  (VOST)  blog   •  Jeff  Phillips  (VOST)   •    
  15. 15. End  of  PresentaIon           Presenta<on  by   Scod  Reuter  -­‐  @sct_r   Caroline  Milligan  -­‐  @Caz_Milligan   Stay  tuned  for  next   in  the  series  :   VOST  Ac<va<on