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CERT Role in Social Media Monitoring


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This presentation was given at the Whole Community Planning Workshop hosted by International Association of Emergency Managers in Partnership with FEMA Region 3 on April 30, 2013 at the Northern Virginia Criminal Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia.

Montgomery County (MD) CERT successfully performed two initiatives during the March 6, 2013 snow storm (called "Snowquester" in the D.C. region). Initiative 1 had CERT members present in the local EOC to provide social media monitoring support while officials carried on with their primary duties. Initiative 2 tested the effectiveness of sending a mass notification message to CERT members, with minimal notice, to see how many SITREPS could be generated throughout the County.

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CERT Role in Social Media Monitoring

  1. 1. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013CERT Role in Social Media MonitoringSteve Peterson, PresidentMontgomery County CERTA Time to Remember, A Time to Prepare ‐ Whole Community Stakeholders WorkshopRegion 3 IAEM – USA, April 30, 2013
  2. 2. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Two Initiatives1. Leverage CERT members as a resource for social media monitoring within an EOC environment 2. Test effectiveness of sending and capturing SITREPS by CERT members during an emergency
  3. 3. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Initiative 1 Background• Forecasts showed the potential of a large snow storm to impact the Washington, D.C. area• CERT volunteers for social media monitoring effort were identified and shifts assigned– Three 8‐hour shifts • On Wednesday, March 6th the EOC was activated– CERT volunteers began social media monitoring at 5:00am
  4. 4. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Initiative 1 OutcomeValuable SM Topics• Road conditions • Weather conditions • Other EOC activations• Photos of accidents• Power company contact information• Power outage maps • Hash tags to track• Agencies to follow/likeValuable SM Contributors• Maryland Emergency Management Agency• Weather Channel• Montgomery County Fire and Rescue• Baltimore County Police & Fire• NBC 29 News• Virginia Department of Transportation• Maryland State Highway AdministrationMost valuable contributions came in the morning during the heaviest of snow
  5. 5. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Authoritative TweetPostsTweets TweetsPostsReTweetReTweetReTweetReTweetReTweetInitiative 1 StrategyGENERAL PUBLICCOMMUNICATIONSAGENCYCOMMUNICATIONSGENERAL PUBLICCOMMUNICATIONSMontgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Authoritative tweet from officials3PostsTweets TweetsPosts1provided  verified info for2ReTweetReTweetReTweetReTweetReTweet4
  6. 6. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Initiative 1 Phases• Planning• Implementation• Assessment– Identified participants and obtained contact information– Trained and studied lessons learned from past SM monitoring efforts– Designated timeframe to monitor social media platforms– Obtained contact information of newly identified participants– Held hot wash– Produced report within 72 hours of snow stormThe timeframe to monitor social media will change based upon the scope, magnitude, and complexity of the emergency.
  7. 7. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Initiative 1 Key Successes • Pre‐established understanding• Non‐disruptive EOC physical presence• Disciplined in providing updates to EOC manager• Overlap in shift times• Same computer for each shift• Assurance of member safety
  8. 8. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Initiative 2 Background• Purpose: Test effectiveness of sending and capturing SITREPS • Call for volunteers sent to all CERT members• Sought specific information (template)– Zip code– Power– Road conditions– Obstacles (e.g., trees down)– Other areas with problems
  9. 9. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013• 29 SITREPs received– ~40% provided photos• 9 different zip code zones• Results provided comprehensive picture of weather conditions at different times on March 6thMap of Montgomery County, MD This data was available at the EOC immediatelyThis data was available at the EOC immediatelyInitiative 2 Outcome
  10. 10. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Initiative 2 Key Successes• Multiple communication means utilized to send SITREPs– Email, text messages, and social media (Redundancy)• High number of contributors given minimal notification time• Proved CERT members are valuable contributors– Damage assessment?– Crowdsourcing?
  11. 11. Montgomery County (MD) CERT presentation to FEMA Region 3 IAEM‐USA Whole Community Stakeholders Workshop – April 30, 2013Summary• Trustworthy and credible resource• Trained and experienced• Flexible to changing assignments• Always available to provide support