Category Archives: Emergency Products

Social Media and Emergency Management: The Buzz

With Social Media Crisis Management being the buzz words today in terms of emergency response, how can we as practitioners effectively use the many channels available?corp_hq

Currently, 92% of law enforcement departments are using social media, and 72% of police chiefs say it helps them respond to emergencies. However, most often social media is being monitored manually.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the Cyril Rayan, the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Resiligence of San Jose after a Business Recovery Managers Association of Northern California (BRMA) meeting in San Francisco.  Resiligence is in the business of ensuring safe communities by providing technology solutions to mitigate and prevent emergencies. Their products include TipNow and TipNow Social.

RS: “Ensuring safe communities” through technology, how are you implementing that?

CR: I saw an opportunity to support our communities with a simple to use technology solution that not only detects emergencies but prevents them. In addition, by utilizing the power of social media, organizations can now monitor multiple social media feeds, be alerted to incoming information and tips, and transmit information directly to security personnel and first responders. 

RS: Can you be more specific on how this works?

TipNow

TipNow

CR: By avoiding costly onsite software or hardware, our SaaS model provides a less expensive and more efficient way to aggregate information from social media and blogs, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, generating relevant alerts and creating a dashboard for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during emergencies.  The alerts are marked as an incident and the system provides simple and clear categorization of incidents – life safety, infrastructure, environment, property, etc. There is also a mechanism within the system for filtering these alerts to eliminate those that are not relevant.

RS:  Can you give any examples of how an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) might use your products?

CR: During emergencies TipNow Social can help track missing people, locate people who are trapped and need help, and identify other key issues arising because of the emergency. TipNow Social provides an important additional tool for every Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in the nation.  

RS: You mentioned to me at the BRMA meeting that TipNow has actually saved lives?

CR:  We have prevented a suicide for one of our customers. We have found persons and provided help for depressed people in distress through TipNow Social. We prevented gun violence using TipNow at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. The TipNow product is a texting, mobile app, email and voice based anonymous reporting system really revealed its usefulness in this case.

Here is an ABC news media vid on TipNow about gun violence prevention at the college campus in California

In Redwood City, California, a missing person was found in just 13 minutes by a Twitter hit and a photo that was put out to the public a result of TipNow Social’s aggregate capability.

RS:  I imagine one of an EOC biggest challenges is to quickly assimilate information so that appropriate resources can be deployed in a prioritized manner; What can you tell us about those challenges?

CS: Most inbound communications during crises tend to be phone initiated, which both discourages some in the community to respond because of anonymity issues and potential overload of an EOC call center or established 9-1-1 dispatch center.  Creating the ability for the community to send information efficiently and anonymously using TipNow provides the ability to the EOC to communicate back to the “tipster” anonymously.

Also during emergencies we know that people post on social media. So monitoring social media is no longer an option, it is a must have for emergency management.  We have found that social media monitoring  can be used is to prevent possible campus shootings, drug issues and even cyber-bullying.

RS: Thanks for sitting down with me today.  Where can we learn more about Resiligence?

TipNow Social

TipNow Social

CS: Visit TipNow  and  YouTube and your convenience!

RS: Thanks again, in addition, I found these Case studies particularly interesting:

San Jose State university

Fresno State University

Palo Alto Police TipNow Case Study

Thanks for reading.  Any comments to share? See the link below.

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How to Determine Whether Your Disaster Preparedness is Effective

Organizations are spending significant time and effort in preparedness planning. Continuity and ITDR professionals are working hard to ensure that these preparations are effective. 

How would you know whether the efforts are effective?

How Ready is Your Organization?

How Ready is Your Organization?

Those of us in the contingency planning space need a way to move beyond counting how many plans we have created and the simple recording of the date of the last tabletop exercise.

We need a way to communicate with department heads and process owners to explain our concerns with the gaps in their ability to continue their services following a disruptive event.

And, we need a way to answer leadership’s question: “To what degree is this organization (department, service, IT system, etc.) prepared to recover from a disaster?”

In short, we need a way to measure preparedness.

David Lindstedt, PhD, former Director of Enterprise Continuity at The Ohio State University is managing a start-up called Readiness Analytics, LLC that aims to solve this problem.  

The Readiness Test™ provides a quantitative measure of preparedness. It also provides a Recoverability Confidence Index™ to help determine a sense of the organization’s ability to recover from disaster.  This may be the continuity industry’s first tool that measures more than numbers of plans, last test dates, and whether a Risk Analysis has been performed.  

Full Disclosure: Dr. Lindstedt was also an instructor at Norwich University, teaching Business Continuity Graduate level courses while I was also a student there, though he was not my instructor.

You Can Be a Part of the Solution

Such information helps the professional planner to demonstrate his/her value to the organization and to its leadership. Year to year improvements and challenges can be more effectively determined.

The tool provides quantitative “ammunition” in support of any Business Continuity Management program.   

Participation

Currently, The Readiness Test™ is in beta. Dr. Lindstedt asked me to test it, and give it a try for free to determine basic readiness results.

He’d like more industry professionals to try it out, and at the same time, identify any typos, validate links, videos, audio instructions, how the interface is operating, and overall communication effectiveness.

Feedback buttons are provided to let Dr. Lindstedt know if anything is amiss.

What’s In It for You?

You have the opportunity to get a feel for the preparedness for your organization in terms of metrics.

You may also find yourself, as you run through The Readiness Test™, (as I did), to be thinking more deeply about recoverability and move you a little closer to shoring up your functions, systems, and services.

You may print the results as they are developed.

To Take the Beta Test:

If you are interested, go to  http://www.readinesstest.com  and select any of the nine tests that interest you most.   Then, simply follow the instructions and provide your feedback.


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