twitter lists for disasters
Next to building a network of trusted relationships with agencies, orgs and people via social media in advance of a disaster, one of the most important tools to build in advance are twitter lists and social media lists. These are places that you can look to fast to see what’s being reported in your area, and to see what your trusted network of peer agencies and organizations are saying.
I recommend building two lists for your area (one each of these two if you are responsible for multiple regions):
1- Local EM List
Put all accounts on this list that are related to sharing official information for their agency that affect the public during possible emergencies or disasters.
Emergency management, all public safety related organizations, state police, local police, sheriff, fire & rescue, public heath agencies, city and county accounts, department of transportation, power company, red cross, disaster related volunteer groups CERT, VOAD, local ARES (amateur radio emergency services) and ham clubs, in other words, anyone that you would want to hear from and communicate with in a potential emergency or disaster.
2 – Local Media List
Add all local media accounts such as local radio station accounts, newspapers, any television stations that cover news in your area (even if they are not right in your city), local news blogs, etc…
How do you find the accounts to follow? Start with the accounts that are easy to find. As you find new accounts, look at their followers, the accounts that they follow, and add accounts to your list as appropriate.
If you are responsible for a county with two or more large population centers, you may want to have a list for each of them. A state EM agency might ask each county to make their own list and then the state can track each of these lists.
More on twitter lists:
Twitter recently changed lists so that each twitter account can have 1,000 lists, and each list can have up to 5,000 accounts max listed on it. (for EM purposes you won’t need anywhere near that many people.)