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NYC's Emergency Management on Facebook

Yesterday New York's Office of Emergency Management launched a Facebook page to communicate with New York City residents during, you guessed it, emergencies. In a press release announcing the new page, OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno said that "more than half" of the participants in their annual preparedness poll reported that they use Facebook to keep informed about events in New York City.

“If Facebook is where New Yorkers are looking for information, OEM needs to be there with answers,” he said in the statement. Right now, they're using the page also for emergency preparation, so it's full of stuff like notifications that go directly into your Facebook feed, like this one:

NYOEM copy

Obviously, it begs the question as to what we're doing here in Miami-Dade County, now that we're into the third week of hurricane season. I called the County's Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security spokesman, Jamie Hernandez, to see what's happening.

Hernandez said that while his office does have the capacity to use Facebook for such things, their research shows that just 10 percent of the population here uses social networking sites like Facebook. So, Miami-Dade officials are concentrating more on its website and traditional forms of communication. 

In the meantime, Hernandez told me that Miami-Dade's OEM office does send out text alerts, by zip code, to notify people about emergency stuff you need to know: not just hurricanes, but floods, tornadoes and the like. Sign up for those here.


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I'd like to see their research. Miami-Dade County is one of the top 10 most populous counties in the US. It's insane that they don't have a social networking strategy in their Office of Emergency Management. Even if only 10% of the population uses social networking sites, you can be sure that those people are the ones who can help spread the word of any problem fast. Regardless it's a poor excuse for not having a presence on the social networks. The County has a duty to use all the tools it can to reach every segment of the population and their couldn't be an easier and cheaper one than opening a Twitter and Facebook account. Come on Mr Hernandez et al... you can do better.

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