Online Community Gives First Responders a Place to Discuss Social Media Best Practices

As the public increasingly turns to Twitter and Facebook for the latest breaking news during an emergency or disaster, first responders also use social media to educate, train and share information. Now, a special online community brings first responders together to discuss the effective use of social media in their work.

Using social media to disseminate information is fast, easy, inexpensive and accessible – for the public and first responders alike. The Make America Safer through Social Media Community on the First Responder Communities of Practice Web site provides a place for first responders to discuss and collaborate on best social media practices ranging from privacy, security and liability concerns, program strategy and more.

Interested members first must verify their identities as first responders before participating. So far, law enforcement, public health, emergency management and decontamination professionals in 33 states have been vetted for the Make America Safer through Social Media Community. Once they become members, responders can share their experiences, collaborate on projects, share social media handbooks and policies, make use of the community’s various tools and more.

“We look forward to exploring what the future will bring by means of social media tools that will assist us in communicating and serving our friends and partners more effectively,” said Capt. Mark Basnight, spokesman for the Charlotte Fire Department Office of Public Affairs and Chair of the Virtual Social Media Working Group.

After all, learning from other first responders can save time and help these workers more quickly do what they do best – effectively protecting the public from disasters and emergencies.

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