PEARL – In the age of smartphones and tablets, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency encourages the use of mobile apps and social networks during hurricanes to receive vital emergency information from local, state and federal agencies, as well as nonprofit and faith-based organizations.
“Most Mississippians have smart phones today and social networks are extremely popular,” said MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson. “These networks help distribute up-to-date information about disaster response and recovery.”
MEMA primarily uses Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to relay information, in addition to traditional media like television stations, newspapers and radio.
The agency has more than 84,000 followers on Facebook, and more than 15,000 on Twitter. The public can follow updates and receive tips instantaneously, via twitter, by following the username @MSEMA or visiting http://twitter.com/msema. On Facebook, search for Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
As an example of the effectiveness of using social media, MEMA reached more than 2.5 million people on Facebook during Hurricane Isaac in 2012 with preparedness messaging, real-time weather warnings and information about recovery efforts.
Many Mississippi county emergency management agencies are also using social media and MEMA encourages you to follow them for local information.
Other valuable uses of social media during emergencies:
• You can get information on your cell phone, even if the power is out.
• Use it to contact friends and family to let them know your plans before a storm.
• After the storm, phone lines may be down or jammed but text and data could be the best way to let people know you are safe and where you are.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared May 23-27 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Mississippi.
For more information about how to prepare for hurricane season, go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org or download the MEMA mobile app on your iOS or Android device. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.