National disaster or major significant event? Turn off your scheduled posts and tweets!

Quick social media note: During a national crisis/event, turn off your scheduled posts/tweets.

Last night, I watched as numerous agencies continue (or forget) to stop their auto scheduling programs last night. C’mon, I talk about that in class! If you don’t turn off your auto posts/tweets, your constituents and consumers will perceive you as being insensitive to the current events.

NRATweetPost

After the horrific shooting at the Aurora, Colorado Theatres on 07-19-14, NRA social media team autoposted this tweet via HootSuite on 07-20-14. Tweet was viewed as inappropriate as shootings/gun violence/tragedy was the major discussion of the day. Tweet was perceived as inappropriate and insensitive.

After all, social media is about being social and talking about #trending topics right? (Think of it as a digital water cooler)

tumblr_inline_mlgiteTHkO1qz4rgp

After the Boston Bombing incident, many brands and organizations expressed thoughts and prayers for those involved in this egregious tragedy. Public perception? Simple and thoughtful.

Now I know what you are saying – “But national events don’t play any part in our daily operations.” WRONG!, your image is based on perception and being mindful or relevant to a national event will help your readers embrace your greater good.

imagesW15SICPQ

Now what is considered a national event? Well, that is for your organization to decide. My opinion? I would err on the side of conservative judgment.

@rusnivek

No complaining-offer solutions-Safety-PIO-SM-14-008

14-008: No complaining – offer solutions
Agency: Long Beach Fire Topic(s):         Public Perception and Solutions
Date: Fall 2014 Platform:        Twitter

Complaining or venting on social media is fairly common. However, as an official agency, public displays of affliction does not portray the best image. Long Beach Fire expressed some displeasure on Twitter when discussing the their pilot program.

IMG_4353

After reading this tweet, the public’s perception is that if 9-1-1 is called, no ambulances will respond. This is irresponsible and wrong. (Almost all emergency services have mutual aid agreements or memorandum of understandings in place.)

 

Positioning your agency as a fear mongerer or the Harbinger of Evil will only further distance yourself from people who would be willing to help your cause. Inform them of dangers, but more importantly, engage them publically on social.

 

If there is internal displeasure with the new staffing models, be proactive and offer transparent solutions in the tweet. Cite websites that provide industry information. Publically share statistical data that supports changes with current programs. These online tactics will help direct and educate the general public on how to be better informed on other program and possible other options yet unexplored.

 

Additionally you can rally your constituents behind better initiatives by engaging with them publically via social media. It demonstrates that your department’s community involvement is a key part of a better solution.

As an official account, Twitter’s 140-character limit is really no place to moan/groan.

A more effective tweet could have read:

LBFD resources are maxed out. #Firefighters cannot provide adequate #Paramedic service to our communities. Help us find a solution <insert link here>

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You identify that resources are…well…maxed out.
  2. You use hashtags (#Firefighters and #Paramedic) that will help increase visibility in your tweets.
  3. You stress the importance of providing dedicated service to your community.
  4. You provide a traceable/measureable link that informs and helps bring visibility to this critical situation.

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

@rusnivek

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this file:

No complaining-offer solutions-Safety-PIO-SM-14-008

Your image on social by monitoring your name Safety-PIO-SM-14-007

14-007: Your image on social by monitoring your name
Agency: Lakewood Fire Topic(s):         Monitoring your name/branding
Date: Fall 2014 Platform:        Twitter

Monitoring your namesake has been debated for years. But with decreased staffing and less time to do more with less, many agencies are bypassing this critical piece of community relations and image/branding. A good example is when a citizen commented on Lakewood Fire’s SUV parking.

IMG_1372

Everyone has a camera these days. We use them not only to capture memories and precious moments, but also for documentation and shaming. I believe Todd was going for the public safety shaming factor here. I am unsure on the previous relationship between Todd and Lakewood, but there was never a response on Twitter back to Todd. Truth be told, these days, unanswered public questions are sometimes perceived as a government agency cover-ups/issues. Similar to the “No comment” – a non-response might even be worse.

How do you monitor your agency’s name or any derivatives? Try these free services: Google Alerts, search columns in TweetDeck or Hootsuite, or frequent basic vanity searches on any search engine or social media platforms.

While Todd’s use of hashtags is fairly standard social media malarkey, a swift response with a timely and direct reply to Todd’s tweet would help stop the perception that LFD is breaking the law or even setting a bad example. Remember, social media is about digital interaction.

The response could also be a teaching point so share with your audience some insight into your normal operations with a simple message on Fire Prevention activities – like hydrant testing. And using the hashtag #FirePrevention pulls up thousands of tweets about educating the public specifically in fire safety.

An effective @reply response to Todd’s tweet could have read:

@stwrs1974 During an emergency, it’s tough to find safe parking. FYI-we also check/flush hydrants twice a year too #FirePrevention 

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You immediately address the issue directly with the citizen citing the issue.
  2. You provide insight into scene safety during an emergency.
  3. You call attention to your normal operations (in this case-hydrant flushing).
  4. You use the hashtag #FirePrevention to call attention to…well…Fire Prevention.
  5. You show the general public you care about your image and want to get the story right.

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

@rusnivek

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this file:

YourImageOnSocialByMonitoringYourName-Safety-PIO-SM-14-007

 

Technical jargon and giving actionable information Safety-PIO-SM-14-006

14-006: Technical jargon and giving actionable information
Agency: Chicago Fire Department Topic(s): Industry codes / Actionable info
Date: Fall 2014 Platform: Twitter

Industry speak or technical jargon is part of what we do every day. But using technical terms on a social media platform will be confusing to those who are NOT in the fire service. That’s what the Chicago Fire Department did yesterday at their big 3-alarm fire when they tweeted technical jargon.

imageaimage

The use of technical jargon is rampant in emergency services but when speaking to the media or the general public, we need to remember that everyone did not grow up with a VOX alarm or SCU tones. In this case, a “311” or 3-11 alarm means that there are 11 engines, 5 Trucks, 2 Tower Ladders, 6 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Rescue Squad, 2 Ambulances, 2 Paramedic Chiefs, Deputy District Chief, Deputy Fire Commissioner, and the 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner are onscene. There is no way to include all that information in a tweet, but using more simple terms will help your audience understand the scale of your ongoing incident.

Before you post images, make sure your pictures are rotated correctly. I know accuracy is sometimes overlooked in lieu of speed, but it takes less than 5 seconds to orientate/rotate a picture (In this case, it was going to be a long operation). And note, by just rotating a picture does not equate that you are “doctoring up” photos. But a correctly posted photo will help media repost and format your information quicker to the masses.

During an emergency situation, your constituents need the information pushes to be actionable and specific to your audience. Not only inform them of the danger, but tell them what they can do about it.

A more effective tweet could have read:

Chicago Fire: Large 3-alarm fire at Harrison St x Fifth Ave. Traffic delays-avoid the area. (insert two pictures)

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You cite the authority having jurisdiction and established incident command presence.
  2. You generally described the size/category of the ongoing incident and critical information to media.
  3. You identify the exact location of the incident.
  4. You describe the delays in the area and give actionable information to your constituents.
  5. You still have lots of room to push properly orientated pictures with your informational tweet.

 

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

@rusnivek

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this file:

TechnicalJargonAndGivingActionableInformation-Safety-PIO-SM-14-006

You should know about the Worcester-6 Cold Storage Warehouse Fire #W6

Take a few moments to learn about the now infamous Cold Storage Warehouse Fire in Worcester, Massachusetts.

fire1

Honor your fallen Firefighters who gave their life on December 3, 1999.

  • Worcester Fire Rescue-1 Firefighter Paul Brotherton
  • Worcester Fire Rescue-1 Firefighter Jeremiah Lucey
  • Worcester Fire Rescue-1 Lieutenant Thomas Spencer
  • Worcester Fire Ladder-2 Firefighter Timothy Jackson
  • Worcester Fire Engine-3 Firefighter James Lyons
  • Worcester Fire Engine-3 Firefighter Joseph McGuirk

***In my opinion, this fire is a defining moment in fire service history***

All Firefighters should know about this fire by heart.

Well, even if you don’t read the entire NIOSH report, at LEAST read the summary below.

SUMMARY

On December 3, 1999, six career fire fighters died after they became lost in a six-floor, maze-like, cold-storage and warehouse building while searching for two homeless people and fire extension. It is presumed that the homeless people had accidentally started the fire on the second floor sometime between 1630 and 1745 hours and then left the building. An off-duty police officer who was driving by called Central Dispatch and reported that smoke was coming from the top of the building. When the first alarm was struck at 1815 hours, the fire had been in progress for about 30 to 90 minutes. Beginning with the first alarm, a total of five alarms were struck over a span of 1 hour and 13 minutes, with the fifth called in at 1928 hours. Responding were 16 apparatus, including 11 engines, 3 ladders, 1 rescue, and 1 aerial scope, and a total of 73 fire fighters. Two incident commanders (IC#1 and IC#2) in two separate cars also responded.

Fire fighters from the apparatus responding on the first alarm were ordered to search the building for homeless people and fire extension. During the search efforts, two fire fighters (Victims 1 and 2) became lost, and at 1847 hours, one of them sounded an emergency message. A head count ordered by Interior Command confirmed which fire fighters were missing.

Fire fighters who had responded on the first and third alarms were then ordered to conduct search-and-rescue operations for Victims 1 and 2 and the homeless people. During these efforts, four more fire fighters became lost. Two fire fighters (Victims 3 and 4) became disoriented and could not locate their way out of the building. At 1910 hours, one of the fire fighters radioed Command that they needed help finding their way out and that they were running out of air. Four minutes later he radioed again for help. Two other fire fighters (victims 5 and 6) did not make initial contact with command nor anyone at the scene, and were not seen entering the building. However, according to the Central Dispatch transcripts, they may have joined Victims 3 and 4 on the fifth floor. At 1924 hours, IC#2 called for a head count and determined that six fire fighters were now missing. At 1949 hours, the crew from Engine 8 radioed that they were on the fourth floor and that the structural integrity of the building had been compromised. At 1952 hours, a member from the Fire Investigations Unit reported to the Chief that heavy fire had just vented through the roof on the C side. At 2000 hours, Interior Command ordered all companies out of the building, and a series of short horn blasts were sounded to signal the evacuation. Fire fighting operations changed from an offensive attack, including search and rescue, to a defensive attack with the use of heavy-stream appliances. After the fire had been knocked down, search-and-recovery operations commenced until recall of the box alarm 8 days later on December 11, 1999, at 2227 hours, when all six fire fighters’ bodies had been recovered. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should

    • ensure that inspections of vacant buildings and pre-fire planning are conducted which cover all potential hazards, structural building materials (type and age), and renovations that may be encountered during a fire, so that the Incident Commander will have the necessary structural information to make informed decisions and implement an appropriate plan of attack

  • ensure that the incident command system is fully implemented at the fire scene

  • ensure that a separate Incident Safety Officer, independent from the Incident Commander, is appointed when activities, size of fire, or need occurs, such as during multiple alarm fires, or responds automatically to pre-designated fires

  • ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) and equipment are adequate and sufficient to support the volume of radio traffic at multiple-alarm fires

  • ensure that Incident Command always maintains close accountability for all personnel at the fire scene

  •  use guide ropes/tag lines securely attached to permanent objects at entry portals and place high-intensity floodlights at entry portals to assist lost or disoriented fire fighters in emergency escape

  • ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team is established and in position upon their arrival at the fire scene

  • implement an overall health and safety program such as the one recommended in NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program

  • consider using a marking system when conducting searches

  • identify dangerous vacant buildings by affixing warning placards to entrance doorways or other openings where fire fighters may enter

  • ensure that officers enforce and fire fighters follow the mandatory mask rule per administrative guidelines established by the department

  • explore the use of thermal imaging cameras to locate lost or downed fire fighters and civilians in fire environments

 

 

worc six

 

@rusnivek