We were lucky that Bill was not a problem. But what if it had been? With 2 hurricanes in 4 years, might we get more in the next 4 years? What about Ice storms? We have been lucky so far and missed a full blackout by a narrow margin. Will we be so lucky next time? We are awaiting the return of Swine Flu in the fall. It may be nothing - but then it may be terrible.
Other than the CBC - there was no ongoing information for Islanders.
Our EMS on PEI appears not to have a Social Media Plan - or if it does we saw no evidence of it with Bill.
As we have seen with disasters everywhere, Social Media can be a huge help. The excuse that so few Islanders have access to the internet is no longer valid either. Few do not have a cell phone and High Speed is coming soon. Time to act now.
Here is a list of the basics that we should have.
- EMS should have a Twitter Account - not only can they use this to Broadcast alerts etc but also to "Listen" - the best coverage of Bill was via Twitter. The best coverage of any disaster is Twitter - the full intelligence of the community can be found there. Nova Scotia are there.
- EMS should have a blog site of its own and a WIKI page attached to it where it aggregates all the information in one place AND with the Wiki builds out with the help of the communities all the ground layer of detail for each community.
- Central to the EMS web page would be a Google Map where all the resources and issues can be mapped - In the San Diego Fire, KPBS's use of the Google Map helped all know what was happening where and when - fires, firefighters, equipment, evacuations, supplies everything was mapped. The power of this kind of map is that all Islanders can add to it in real time so a true picture can emerge very quickly
- The EMS should have a Facebook Group - EMS would ask all Islanders to join. This enables EMS to text/email anyone on that list. It also allows for the people and the community to add material that will help others
- EMS would have a partnership with all the formal media outlets on PEI where all thjis material would be shared and the material from all the news outlets also pooled
- There should be a number of key partners involved in all of this - Maritime Electric, The School Boards, UPEI & Holland College, Public Health, The Police and the Firefighters - the best approach would be to aggregate all of their work onto the one site and use the same tools
This is not hard to do. Nor would it cost much if anything. There is also a lot of experienced folks on PEI who could make this even easier.
We have been lucky so far. If we plan and build this now we will be really ready and able to cope so much better. Let's Go folks.