Connect, Collaborate, Contribute

January 2018 Newsletter

12 Jan 2018 9:33 AM | Anonymous
What's Happening?
  • Lloyd Colston Retires! 
  • New Board Opening at Virtual EMA
  • Upcoming VOST Training Calendar
  • VOST Leadership Coalition Returns January 19th

What's Being Planned?

  • #SMEMBowl Exercise on February 4th
  • Open Virtual EMA Board Meeting on February 16th 
  • NEMA Webinar on April 4th
  • Government Social Media Conference, April 24-26th in Colorado

Thank You, Lloyd Colston! 

On the end of January, Lloyd Colston will officially retire as the Emergency Manager for Altus, Oklahoma. Many of us in the Social Media & Emergency Management (#SMEM) community first met Lloyd as @kc5fm which has been his Twitter handle since June 29, 2008 according to Twopcharts

When Lloyd first joined Twitter, he quickly became active in a number of key #SMEM initiatives which included turning our online tweets into conversations over conference calls and Pirate Pads. Lloyd developed a Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST) team which worked on a number of tornado emergencies together, one of the most memorable being when his own local VOST team members were affected directly by a local tornado. 

Lloyd has also been a long-time supporter of Virtual EMA. He has served as our Vice President and has regularly provided his wisdom towards our planning efforts. We will miss Lloyd's kind voice and passion for using all forms of technology from Amateur Radio to Social Media to reach his community with important information. 

We wish Lloyd well in his retirement as he aims to spend some additional time with his grandchildren. Thank you, Lloyd, for being there and engaged with the #SMEM community. If you'd like to tweet Lloyd a note of congratulations, his Twitter account is still open at @kc5fm. 

Board Member Recruitment Open

Due to Lloyd Colston's retirement, we have another opening on our Virtual EMA Board of Directors. As such, we will be opening the recruitment again. The basics for considerations include the following:

  • Membership in Virtual EMA 
  • Willingness to serve for at least one year (preferably 2) 
  • Active in either Emergency Management or Crisis Communications as either a professional, student, or community volunteer or have a role as a technology partner or are engaged in the educational field with a focus on public safety / communications. 

If this sounds interesting to you, please take a moment to fill out this application form. We will accept applications until the end of February.

Upcoming VOST Training Calendar

We have just released our first quarter training calendar for Virtual Operation Support Team (VOST) webinars. If you check out our EVENTS PAGE, you will find 12 classes which have been listed and are available for sign-up. 

As you may already know, our course numbers mean the following:

  • VOST 000-090: Administrator Classes (KSA's for managing teams)
  • VOST 100-190: Team Member classes (theory-based classes)
  • VOST 200-290: Tool or Platform Specific Classes  
  • VOST 300-390: VOST Team Leader classes 

The benefit of attending a webinar is that they are very conversational so you can get all of your questions answered when you participate in these live sessions!

VOST Leadership Coalition Returns January 19th

As requested at our last quarterly VOST Leadership Coalition meeting in November, we will be returning to monthly facilitated VOST Leadership calls. 

The next meetings will be at 12p Pacific / 3p Eastern time on Friday, January 19th. If you'd like to participate in these meetings, you can RSVP for them on our EVENTS PAGE. You do not need to be a Virtual EMA member to participate. 

What's Being Planned? 
There are lots of exciting things in the works that we'd like to share with you so you can start planning about how to engage with these cool opportunities:

  • #SMEMBowl Will Return on February 4th, 2018: Virtual EMA will host an exercise in conjunction with the Super Bowl football game to practice social media monitoring. This is a great opportunity to network, chat with other VOST members and practice your monitoring skills in a fast-paced drill. If you are interested in participating, register for the exercise here: #SMEMBowl RSVP
  • Open Board Meeting in February: Our Annual Board Meeting will be on Friday, February 16th at 2p Pacific / 5p Eastern time. We will be chatting about our 2017 Accomplishments and our upcoming goals for 2018. You can RSVP to attend this meeting here: Annual Board Meeting
  • NEMA Quarterly Webinar: Virtual EMA will be presenting one of the quarterly webinars for the National Emergency Management Association on Wednesday, April 4th. We will share more information in a future newsletter. 
  • Government Social Media Conference: Cheryl Bledsoe and MaryJo Flynn will be presenting at the 2018 Government Social Media Conference during the week of April 24th. If you are attending this conference, email Cheryl at so we can be sure to invite you to any networking events that we plan to host in conjunction with this event. 
Are You A Member of Virtual EMA Yet?
  • MEMBERSHIP:  Here is our membership brochure for additional information. One of our key goals is to keep membership affordable and accessible for everyone.   
  • REFER-A-FRIEND:  For every paying member who lists YOU as their referring friend, you get a free month of membership with Virtual EMA. There is no deadline on this program. Any time you spread the word, we will honor your effort.
  • REFER A TECHNICAL PARTNER:  Our Technical Partner Brochure outlines the benefits of being one of our technical partners. We aim to create meaningful engagements among our community and the tech sector which benefit everyone involved.
  • Thanks again for your support with your membership and if you are looking for a 501(c)(3) to support us with a tax-deductible donation, help us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector.            


Virtual EMA is a registered public charity with 501(c)(3) status. 

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