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Volunteer Alexandria: Role of Social Media in Disasters
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Volunteer Alexandria: Role of Social Media in Disasters

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Ioana Lutai

What is Social Media? How do we get information during an emergency? Is Social Media important in disasters? Is the information obtained from accurate sources? Is the information news or just an opinion?

If you would like to discover the answers to these questions, please attend the “Role of the Social Media in Disasters” on Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at 123 N. Alfred St. If you would like to attend, please sign up at www.volunteeralexandria.org and enter the name of the training.

As the lead agency in Alexandria for the recruitment and management of unaffiliated volunteers during an emergency, Volunteer Alexandria in collaboration with Alexandria’s Office of Emergency Management are offering this learning opportunity for residents to know how to select and validate information, how to connect with the loved ones and how to notify authorities if the phone lines are down. The term “social media” refers to Internet-based applications that enable people to communicate and share resources and information. Some examples of social media include blogs, discussion forums, chat rooms, wikis, YouTube Channels, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Social media can be accessed by computer, smart and cellular phones, and mobile phone text messaging. Social media can be used somewhat passively to disseminate information and receive user feedback via incoming messages, wall posts, and polls. A second approach involves the systematic use of social media as an emergency management tool that includes warnings, receive victim request for assistance, establish situational awareness and upload images to create damage estimates.

To learn more about the role of social media, join us on Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. If you would like to become an emergency preparedness volunteer and educate others about disasters and how to prepare for them, please call 703-836-2176 or email our emergency preparedness manager at emergencyresponse@volunteeralexandria.org.

Become a volunteer and participate at our next training, “Active Shooting,” that will take place on Aug. 24.