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IS-42: Social Media in Emergency Management Course Overview

Course Overview

Social media is a new technology that not only allows for another channel of broadcasting messages to the public, but also allows for two way communication between emergency managers and major stakeholder groups. Increasingly the public is turning to social media technologies to obtain up to date information during emergencies and to share data about the disaster in the form of geo data, text, pictures, video, or a combination of these media. Social media also can allow for greater situational awareness for emergency responders. While social media allows for many opportunities to engage in an effective conversation with stakeholders, it also holds many challenges for emergency managers.

The purpose of this course is to provide the participants with best practices including tools, techniques and a basic roadmap to build capabilities in the use of social media technologies in their own emergency management organizations (State, local, Tribal) in order to further their emergency response missions.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain why social media is important for emergency management
  • Describe the major functions and features of common social media sites currently used in emergency management
  • Describe the opportunities and challenges of using social media applications during the 5 phases of emergency management
  • Describe better practices for using social media applications during the 5 phases of emergency management
  • Describe the process for building the capabilities and to sustain the use of social media in an emergency management organization (State, local, tribal, territorial)

Primary Audience

The audience for this course consists of:

  • State, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers and emergency management staff, including Public Information Officers.
  • All FEMA personnel including:
    Disaster Assistance Employees, Cadre of Reserve Employees, Local Hires and Permanent Full-Time Employees at temporary field facilities such as Joint Field Offices, Area Field Offices, Disaster Recovery Centers, Long-Term Recovery Centers, National Processing Service Centers


While it is not required, it is preferred that participants be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to access accounts and profiles using the three major social media applications (Facebook, Twitter & YouTube).
  • Demonstrate the ability to send messages through Facebook & Twitter



Course Length:

3 hours