Category Archives: VOST
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has advanced the way it keeps you informed using social media.
Stay connected with the latest social media conversations about preparedness, safety and emergency management as they happen in the Social Hub, FEMA’s new one stop shop for social engagement. The Social Hub features information on popular topics and updates from the National Weather Service and other trusted sources.
For those looking for career information and company-focused messages, the FEMA LinkedIn page will now feature job postings, safety tips, workforce news and more!
I’ve upgraded the VOST Workbook to version 4.0. The bug fix in the formula that I had you fix in the last version is now taken care of but I hope you got a grand little spreadsheet formula lesson by following my instructions.
The big addition to the workbook comes at the suggestion of Jeff Phillips, who liked my general availability calendar that I use for my team but requested that it be included in the workbook.
The worksheet lets you track team member availability for anticipated length of deployment and can be adjusted by each member for his/her own time zone to fill in that availability. It also lets the team lead look at any given day to see where gaps might exist in coverage.
After importing the calendar into the deployment workbook, I personally prefer to have this calendar in a separate workbook, altogether. If you would like the calendar provided as a separate product, leave a comment and if people want it, I’ll upload it to Google docs, too.
The reference link on the VOST page of this site has been updated to point at the new template version and the link on the cover sheet of the new version has a link to the updated User Guide.
Here are the links to each, separately, however, for your convenience. As is stated on the VOST page, these are set to read-only. Please make a copy for your own use:
NOTE: This post is now obsolete, as I have released Version 4.0 of the Workbook and the formula has been corrected in that version.
Jeff Phillips noticed on a recent deployment that, somehow, the hours were not calculating properly in the total FTE box. I’m not sure why it doesn’t work that way anymore but I managed to fix it on the fly.
I will be releasing a new version this week, as I have added a staff availability calendar to the template. In the meantime, though, Caz Milligan used the workbook template for EQNZ last night and had the same problem, so here is the updated formula for the Check In/Out sheet, cell H3. Copy this formula, paste into cell H3, and hit Enter/Return on your keyboard and that should fix it. If not, please leave a comment and I’ll see what’s going on:
I have mentioned Hillside Market and its cafe in one of my Stuff in the News posts and hadn’t gotten around to blogging about it. Yesterday, I was catching up on some social media stuff in what I refer to as “my office” there.
Regina Ress happened in for her shift as barista in the café, when I was in yesterday.
If you haven’t met Regina, you ought to (all the ladies over there are wonderful, though). She is a storyteller from Lower Manhattan and here in Santa Fe. She does storytelling events at Hillside and has a CD of stories available there (or online), as well. She was also kind enough to mention me in a blog post the other day, and came over to tell me about it. Fun to see VOSTing mentioned in a totally out of the ordinary context:
Our “children’s corner” has morphed into a comfortable table-for-two semi-private space. As I write this, a woman who volunteers coordinating information for firefighters is bent over her laptop in there, working with teams dealing with the many wild fires in the region. She said to me that the café is a real “refuge.”
It is true – the café is a refuge. It’s pretty quiet, with an indoor fountain and a lovely courtyard outside.
If you live in the Santa Fe area or are passing through for a visit, it’s a great place to stop and have a cup of coffee (regular or snobby available) and do some shopping for items by local artists. Pretty much all the stuff you see in the pictures is for sale. There’s also a greenhouse, where they are going to grow local food and Oasis Café is soon to be Vista Café with restaurant food.
Also be sure to check out the events calendar, that has yoga classes, writing workshops, and other happenings. And they don’t mind if you just hang out and have coffee. This place actually WANTS to be a community hub. This is what the 285 corridor needs. I’m rooting for them. I hope you will, too!
Note: This is not just for SMEM. A journalist friend was about to “friend” a lot of politicians or Like their Facebook pages because it’s coming close to some elections. She apologized to those of us who are friends and I suggested to her that this might be a better route, so she doesn’t have the discomfort of “Liking” being interpreted as support.
An interest list is a list of Facebook pages that you compile, using your Facebook profile, to maintain awareness of a particular topic. Note that you cannot currently create an interest list with a Facebook page. So, if you’re planning on creating a list for monitoring a topic or for networking with similar groups to your own, you must create the list from your profile and make it publicly available, if others will be using it to monitor/network.
Why would I want to create an interest list? Can’t I just “like” all the pages I want? Well, of course you can! The disadvantage of that approach, however, is that your topic-related pages will be mixed in with all your personal friends’ updates and you may miss something important. If you create a list, you can click on the topic header and read through only the posts for the emergency at hand.
How do I create one of my very own (or two or three)?
Log in to your Facebook account.
Look at the left-hand side of the Home page (where your newsfeed is) and scroll down until you see a menu header that says Interests. It will look something like this:
- Click on the menu item that says Add Interests
- Once you click there, you have the opportunity to look for existing lists. You do that by typing into the “Search for lists” box
- Then click the Follow button if you find one you like. Of course, you can follow as many as you want.
You can (and should) also create new lists.
- First click the + Create List button (see previous image)
- You will be shown a set of pages that you can add to this new list
- To add one or more items, click on the image (s) and a check mark will show (you can toggle it back off to deselect)
Hat tip ^ to my friends at 30Days, 30Ways, who are about to start their annual preparedness game. Do give them a follow and play along too or be a sponsor!
- You can also add friends or profiles of people you follow
- Once you’ve selected some things to add, click Next and it will ask you for a name for the list and whether you want to make it available publicly, to your friends, or private.
- Once you have created a list, you can add pages as you find them. You don’t even have to Like the pages. If you add a page to your interest list, it will show up in the list but not individually.
- Your list will always be available in the left-hand menu, where you started building it and you’ll get a consolidated post daily, with a couple of highlighted items. As, you can imagine, if you’ve liked 50 accounts, this is a much better way to go.
I hope you’ll make your lists public and if you have some already or make a few after reading this, feel free to share the link(s) in the comments.
Twitter and Facebook are growing ever more popular in providing individuals, first responders and the entire emergency management community with the latest disaster information. Social media was definitely a go-to source for major disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and most recently for the tornadoes in Oklahoma.
Recent research shows that the old playbooks on disaster management will need to be revised to include a social media plan. According to Scientific American, researchers have now begun compiling and publishing data to show the impact that social media has on disasters. Lawmakers and security experts are now assessing the data to see how emergency management can adapt to the trends. Compiled below are some ways to jumpstart your disaster management playbook to align with social media:
- Build a social media strategy that is adaptable to a variety of hazard situations;
- Establish a consistent hashtag on Twitter so people can follow the conversation;
- Ensure you post accurate, not just quick information; and
- Follow the conversation on social media to debunk any myths right away.
To read the article in its entirety, visit Scientific American.
Great tip from Jim here on the dangers of pre-scheduled tweets. Pre-scheduling and auto-tweeting are a good thing, overall, but never leave it there with no human intervention. You need to shut them down, if needed. And oh, by the way, you need to monitor reactions to those auto-posts!
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Videos and photographs have been playing a major role in finding the bomber who struck the Boston Marathon.
“You never know which frame is going to reveal the critical information,” said forensic expert Larry Kobilinsky.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, Kobilinsky said it is impossible to overstate the importance of still and video imagery to the bombing investigation – particularly in an age where everyone has a camera-equipped smartphone.
“It could be a photo that some passerby took that could be key to breaking the case,” Kobilinsky said.
Video and still pictures have been pouring in, according to authorities.
[worldnow id=8784814 width=500 height=332 type=video]
“We have had a tremendous outpouring of support from the public in terms of video that has been submitted to us,” said FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers.
Still pictures have also come in, and experts have spent long hours sifting through…
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Some may think it just a tad early to publish an analysis like this one from Purple Car but for those helping those helping others deal with this tragedy, I think it’s a worthwhile read. If you are uncomfortable with thinking about this right now, I fully understand. Perhaps you can bookmark the link and come back to it later. It really is a good topic of discussion for social media and emergency management (SMEM) and the blog is well worth adding to one’s feed.
What is and is not appropriate to post during and directly after a tragedy like the #BostonMarathon explosions or #SandyHook is something that I think we all grapple with. Note that I make a distinction between posting as a bystander and posting as virtual operations support teams (VOST), in which case, one would have specific knowledge of the incident.
My personal [bystander] rules tend to be:
- Does the post help people (donation links, missing persons, etc)?
- Does it inform without conjecture (need to know – road closures; evacuation info, e.g., rather than simply breaking news)?
- Does it comfort (think Mr. Rogers)?
If it does none of the above, I would question its usefulness. What do you think? Do you have different rules? More rules?