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FEMA Head: Disaster Preparedness Includes Twitter

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Photo: FEMA.gov

Using social media is  not just the province of smartphone-wielding tweens and narcissistic twenty-somethings anymore.

In an interview with Nextgov, the top government official tasked with emergency relief said Twitter and other social media sites will be a major part of federal disaster preparedness.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said the agency, which has about 30,000 Twitter followers, has already put its new-found social media prowess into practice with the series of winter storm that roiled across the Midwest recently.

Using information from the National Weather Service and other emergency management agencies, he said, FEMA monitored severe weather and tweeted alerts to warn the public.

The Twitter efforts are a two-way street, though, Fugate suggested. FEMA is not just pontificating from on high, releasing tweets into the ether, oblivious to the broader tweeting community.

In fact, Fugate said FEMA often searches updates for “on-the-ground” information.

For example, while some tourists announced their intentions to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Earl’s path toward North Carolina in September, some refused to leave and made those plans clear, too. FEMA used that information to plan its search-and-rescue operations, Fugate told Nextgov.

So, the next time you tweet anything appended with “#Snomg,” know that FEMA is on top of things.

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  1. It’s invigorating to finally find a blogger who actually knows what they are talking about. Seriously, with as much info as there is floating around on the net, TV, radio, and magazines, it’s difficult to know what to believe anymore. I’m glad to know I’m not the only gal who thinks this way.

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