Social media a game changer for Lee County EOC
Fox 4 News Staff
One good supply to have on hand during severe weather season: your cell phone. You can't escape social media, but it can help you escape disaster.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
One good supply to have on hand during severe weather season: your cell phone. You can't escape social media, but it can help you escape disaster.
Emergency managers across southwest Florida are even betting on it. Here’s how one county is taking the extra step to throw you a technological life line.
Twitter, Facebook and all of those apps. They’re great for you and me, but an adjustment for emergency managers who have to get out life-saving messages.
John Wilson is Director of Lee County Public Safety. “2008, 2009 is when we really started to get into it, and we started with Twitter. Then we eventually evolved the last year or so into Facebook and YouTube.”
Wilson says having a small staff makes this new frontier of communication a bit difficult.
“It presents a number of challenges to us in making sure that we maintain a following, which is critical in a social media environment. Then we need to make sure that we actually communicate with that following once we have a major incident.” Wilson says.
He's afraid he simply doesn't have enough eyeballs and fingertips to keep the 2-way social media conversation going during a hurricane.
That's why Lee County has developed apps for iPhone and Android to help people get out of harm’s way in the face of a hurricane.
“They will essentially help people identify their evacuation zone and whether or not their particular evacuation zone, where they're living or located has actually been ordered to evacuate.”
Every southwest Florida county is on Facebook, Twitter or both. So are the National Hurricane Center and the Federal Emergency Management agency, but John wants to remind everyone, this technology has its limitations.
When the electricity goes off, and your access to social media goes away, then all of a sudden people need to fall back on tradition means of getting information.” John says.