Top 50 Risk Management Blogs

17 12 2010

The Masters in Risk Management Blog “strives to provide readers with the best information about risk management degrees,” career opportunities, and other risk management information.  On December 10th, the Blog posted its subjective list of the “Top 50 Risk Management Blogs.”  This blog, Jeff Braun’s Emergency Management Blog, was mentioned as being one of the top 50 blogs, especially in the area of disaster risk management.  To see, the entire list:

More about Using Twitter to Communicate During Emergencies

9 01 2010

My last Blog entry explained how the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) uses Twitter as on method for communicating to our citizens on a daily basis.  I also discussed how we send out information about emergencies using Twitter; with one very large caveat:  the use of Twitter and Social Media is not for reporting emergencies; nor for requesting service from first responders.  Always use 9-1-1 to request help in an emergency. 

Let’s review the use of Twitter by others.  The use of Twitter is being used more and more by municipalities, counties, non-governmental agencies, hospitals for communication.  I recently ran across an article written by Scott Wallask, entitled “Twitter Can Play Key Role in Disaster Management.”  This article describes the use of Twitter by hospitals.  The article was published by HealthLeaders Media on December 30, 2009.  Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for the Hospital Safety Center; he can be reached at  Here is his article; I think you will find it interesting:

“While it might not qualify yet as a warm embrace, safety and facilities professionals in hospitals in 2009 at least shook hands with Twitter and found new ways to get their messages across using the social media site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, at its core is the ability for users to post short, 140-character updates—known as “tweets”—about what they’re doing. You can keep track of other’s tweets you’re interested in (i.e., people you’re “following”) and also see who’s reading your tweets (i.e., “followers”). You need to be registered with Twitter to follow someone’s tweets.

Disaster management seems to be a natural extension of Twitter for hospital safety officers and emergency management coordinators. Here are two examples of many seen over the past year:

  • After the mass shootings at Ford Hood, TX, on November 5, Scott & White Hospital in Temple, TX, revved up its existing Twitter presence with useful updates (the hospital received 10 shooting victims). Among the information tweeted: the operating status of the hospital’s ER and wait times for volunteers to give blood.
  • Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in Louisville, KY, experienced terrible flooding in August, and the facility used Twitter to keep the public and employees up-to-date on evacuated patients and building conditions.

Tweeting has not been lost on The Joint Commission. In its August 2009 Environment of Care News, the accreditor noted that an emergency management standard requires hospitals to prepare for emergency communications with staff members, external authorities, patients, families, media, vendors, and other healthcare facilities. Social media sites are a good strategy for emergency communication, the commission said. Other hospitals use Twitter to promote safety initiatives to their staff members and the public.

The communications department at SSM Health Care in St. Louis created an animated safety champion named Super Carol, who appears in employee-focused print and online media, offering information on hot-button issues, such as handwashing protocols, patient lifting, and needlestick prevention. SSM uses its Twitter account in part to update people about the latest adventures of Super Carol.

“Safety can be numbing to people because we preach it all the time,” said Lorraine Kee, SSM’s corporate Web manager. “I like [Super Carol] because it pushes it out in a newer, fresher way.”

Safety officers can also find tweets from others to be helpful on the job. Earlier in December, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis tweeted about her agency’s updated regulatory agenda, which included information about an airborne transmissible disease standard, which is posed to become a big issue for safety officers.”

Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management Uses Twitter

9 01 2010

The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) utilizes various methods for communicating with the public.  As noted on our web site, Fort Bend County OEM’s “role of educating the public and disseminating emergency information means we want to be sending information in ways that the public wants to receive, as much as it makes sense.  Increasingly, people are  using Social Media to receive information on a daily basis. ”  Our Office recognizes this trend and we have developed a presence on various Social Media sites where citizens can interact freely with us.

One of the most popular sites is Twitter; an online short messaging service. It works much like text-messages, updates are limited for 140 characters, and can be SMS’d (Text messaged) to and from your mobile phone. It can also be updated via the web, an instant messenger program, and numerous desktop applications.  OEM has a Twitter account here:, and we use it to post emergency information, updates and alerts to the public, in addition to promoting preparedness and community awareness. Most of our updates are very short (like this H1N1 update).

In addition to posting information, we use an application called TweetDeck to monitor what’s going on in the community. During the Pecan Grove Gas Well Blowout we tweeted updates, and replied to community members who mentioned us in their Tweets. We did the same thing during the recent winter weather events.

So, how can you use Twitter to communicate with us?  Lach Mullen is the OEM staff person who leads our efforts to effectively use Social Media and he explains that 1) For starters, follow us on Twitter, 2) After that, let us know you’re here by sending us a message. If you’d like, you can turn on Device Updates on your mobile phone and our updates will come to you as text messages; 3) After that, please feel free to reply to our tweets to ask us a question, and re-tweet our messages to your followers. If you find something you think we should know about, send us an @reply and we’ll see it; and 4) take a look at the folks we follow. We get a lot of good information from FEMA and other local response partners through Twitter, so there may be some interesting people and agencies there for you too.

Never use Twitter, or any other social media service, to report emergencies.  In an emergency situation, always dial 9-1-1 for help!

If you ever have any questions about the use of Social Media by the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management, please feel free to contact us at 281-342-6185 and ask for Lach Mullen.  Or, of course, send us a message on Twitter!