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  • 30 Jun 2016 8:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    What's Happening?
    • Welcome, ER Assist, as a Technical Partner!
    • #Cascadia EQ
    • Speaker Outreach
    • Winter Retreat Planning
    • Intern Opportunity

    Welcome Our Newest Technical Partner, ER Assist! 
     

    We are super pleased to be able to introduce you to our newest Silver Sponsor Technical Partner, ER Assist, which is a company that specializes in both consulting and moving emergency response plans from the 3-ring binder into being at your fingertips with their software solution. 

    In their words, "we are a benefit corporation providing disaster preparedness, response, and fiscal recovery software and services. We know each client is unique, and whether you are using our software a la cart, or have chosen to have our consultants, help desk, or staff augmentation services to assist you, you'll find we are focused on you. Call us to check out our equipment and time tracking; damage assessment; project tracking; and debris plan software."

    Their website address is www.erassist.com and their phone number is 855-336-2337. 

    We, at Virtual EMA, are excited by this partnership as we anticipate being able to provide you with either an opportunity to beta-test one of their emerging products or provide an informational demonstration of what ER Assist has to offer in the coming months. Stay tuned for more news about this opportunity.     

     #CascadiaRising Participation  

    If you live anywhere near the Pacific Northwest, you probably heard a lot about the Cascadia Rising Exercise that was conducted on June 7-10, 2016, which sought to evaluate emergency responses across several states in response to a large rupture of the Cascadia fault line that could really rip at any given time.

    Several of our Virtual EMA Board members had key roles in this exercise. Scott Reuter participated as Team Leader for the Oregon VOST during this multi-day exercise with Caroline Milligan's help as a Team Member. Eric Frank participated at his county-based Emergency Operations Center. Pascal Schuback and Cheryl Bledsoe also participated as evaluators for this tremendous effort.    

    Winter Retreat in the Works

    Our Virtual EMA Board is beginning to discuss our first in-person activity for Winter/Spring of 2017. We are looking for locations that are cost-effective for our membership to attend. This event would likely combine short-burst presentations (like TED Talks), informational Vendor Speed-Dating, some "unconference" time where participants can learn from each other's experiences and a more formalized Membership Business Meeting.

    If you have some ideas, thoughts or want to weigh in on location preferences, please email Cheryl at cbledsoe@virtualema.org.

    Speaker Outreach Activities                                                                                       

    In the past month, several of our members have been busy, conducting outreach about social media's use in both emergency management and higher education. 

    • Steve Peterson (@emergencycomms), Virtual EMA Member, used crowd-sourcing to support his trip to Brazil to attend the International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response & Management. We are proud of Steve's enthusiasm and support of Virtual EMA and #SMEM.   
    • Chris Tarantino (@tarantino4me), Board Member, had a opportunity to speak at the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto, Canada. You may also have heard his voice on a webinar for @epimetra as well. Keep up the great work, Chris.
    • Eric Frank (@fyrechief), Board Treasurer, spoke at the Washington Social Summit at the Washington state capitol. Great job, Eric!
    • Caroline Milligan (@caz_milligan), Board Secretary, will be speaking at #CommsSyd this coming week in Australia. Knock their socks off, Caroline!                                        

    Still Seeking an Intern to Assist with Web-Based Content Development                                              

    We are currently in conversation with a couple of prospective volunteers to fill this role, but if this opportunity is something you find of interest, please contact us.                                                

    The Virtual EMA Board Members have a number of great ideas, but would to find someone who has some time, energy and skills to develop our website, develop video or podcasting content. If you have experience in any of these areas, please contact Cheryl Bledsoe atcbledsoe@virtualema.org with your vision for how you could help us.

    This is presently an unpaid opportunity. However, we will look for a number of fun ways to appreciate your contributions.                                                                                 

    Here's How You Can Help Virtual EMA

    • MEMBERSHIP:  Help us continue to grow our membership. Feel free to share code ENYM6PDW so that your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.  

              We also have a membership brochure you can share with your friends and

              colleagues!                                                

    • 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:  We have just finished putting together aTechnical Partner Brochure and Benefits of Sponsorship Grid. We have been meeting regularly with prospective Technical Partners and look forward to announcing some exciting sponsors and partners in the coming months!

    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.                                               


  • 31 May 2016 7:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    This

    What's Happening?

    • Welcome our New Board Member
    • Next Door Webinar, May 19th at 2p Eastern
    • #CascadiaEQ Twitter Chat, June 6th at 3p Eastern
    • DHS Seeking Input on Social Media Monitoring System by May 23rd
    • Seeking a Volunteer!
    • What is Your Favorite Social Media Tool? #ToolChat Contest
    Welcome Our Newest Board Member
    We are super excited to welcome Caroline Milligan to the Virtual EMA Board of Directors. 
                                                 

    As a former UK police officer with policing experience in the United States and New Zealand, Caroline brings insight and practical experience working within highly regulated and accountable environments. She has been involved in virtual coordination responses including earthquakes in New Zealand, counter terrorism responses in Australasia, active shooter incidents in the US and many large scale wildfires.
       

    Caroline is based in New Zealand and speaks regularly at national and international emergency management conferences; provides counsel to Australasian government agencies on social media implementation and delivers social media for intelligence gathering and investigative training to the criminal justice sector, and public safety, security and emergency management audiences.

    We took some extra time on this Board recruitment due to ensure that we could include an international member easily within our organization. Thanks to everyone that applied for consideration as we appreciated the interest and capabilities that each of you could bring to the position.  

                                                                                                                                                
    Next Door Webinar, Thursday, May 19th 
    Are you looking to take the pulse of how your citizens feel about topics of importance, assess their understanding of your operations and policies, or want to know what they would like to hear about from you?

    During this webinar, organized by
    LAwSComm and Nextdoor, Joseph Porcelli, Senior City Strategist from Nextdoor will talk about how police departments from Austin, TX, Prince George's County, MD, and Voorhees, NJ have used Nextdoor Polls to gauge citizens’ perception of safety, how citizens would like the police to interact with them, and where citizens would like the department to hold National Night Out.

    You will also learn how you can use the data gathered from Nextdoor Polls for the White House Police Data Initiative, and best practices for using Nextdoor Polls.

    All registered webinar attendees will receive a copy of Nextdoor’s Poll playbook which includes best practices, sample polls, and a guide to publishing poll data in support of the White House Police Data Initiative.

                                                                                              
    #CascadiaEQ Twitter Chat, June 6th 
    In June 2016, a multi-day national exercise will occur to test earthquake response capabilities throughout the Pacific Northwest. A multitude of activities will occur at Emergency Operations Centers and beyond. On June 6th, a virtual Twitter Chat will occur, using the hashtag #CascadiaEQ at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. 

    Join in and participate! No registration is required to discuss earthquakes and what will be evaluated. 
                                                  
    DHS Seeks Public Input on Social Media Monitoring Records System                                              
    The Department of Homeland Security has requested public comments on a proposed records system that would permit DHS’ Federal Emergency Management Agency to collect, track and maintain social media-derived data for use in situational awareness operations.

    DHS says that the new system will work to help FEMA transmit information from social media sources to first responders in an effort to protect life and property from natural disasters, terrorism and other emergencies.

    The new system would authorize FEMA to create profiles and follow government officials, newscasters, spokespersons and private sector officials on social media in order to gather and monitor information for use in situational awareness missions.

    Public comments on the proposed system will be accepted through May 23 and you can submit comment at this link --> https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/04/21/2016-09191/privacy-act-of-1974-department-of-homeland-security-federal-emergency-management-agency-013

    Virtual EMA Seeks a Volunteer or Intern to Assist with Web-Based Content Development                                              

    Are you interested in finding a role where you can be creative and help an organization in its growth and development?

    The Virtual EMA Board Members have a number of great ideas, but would to find someone who has some time, energy and skills to develop our website, develop video or podcasting content. If you have experience in any of these areas, please contact Cheryl Bledsoe at cbledsoe@virtualema.org with your vision for how you could help us.

    This is presently an unpaid opportunity. However, we will look for a number of fun ways to appreciate your contributions.                              

    #ToolChat Contest                                              

    For future newsletters, we want to cover a few social media tools that you want to learn more about. So, for the next month, we want to gather a list of what online tools and social media applications that you want to learn more.    
    You can tweet your contest entry by including @VirtualEMA and #ToolChat along with your idea. We will also post this on our Facebook page and if you aren't social, you can email Cheryl at cbledsoe@virtualema.org. This contest will conclude on June 15th. 
                             
    Here's How You Can Help Virtual EMA
    • MEMBERSHIP: Does this newsletter feel dated when you find it online at the end of each month? We publish this via email to our members on the 15th so they have some early access to our events and information. We can add you to this earlybird list, too, if you'll become a member. Feel free to use or share code ENYM6PDW so that you or your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.  We also have a membership brochure you can share with your friends and colleagues!                                                
    • 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:  We have just finished putting together a Technical Partner Brochure and Benefits of Sponsorship Grid. We have been meeting regularly with prospective Technical Partners and look forward to announcing some exciting sponsors and partners in the coming months!
    If you are looking for a 501(c)(3) to support with a tax-deductible donation, you can directly help us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector.   
              
  • 01 May 2016 9:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    What's Happening?
    • April Meetups
    • Educational Research Project
    • May Engagement Opportunities
    • NIMSRefresh Comment Period Open
    April Meetups
    The first week of April provided a lot of great opportunities to see some of our members while visiting the National Emergency Management Association Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Government Social Media Conference in Reno, Nevada. We enjoyed chatting with a number of folks, both onsite and virtually via Twitter while both conferences were live-tweeted & shared via the conference hashtags (#NEMA2016 and #GSMCon2016)

    Educational Research Project
    Virtual EMA received an invitation to participate in a study on virtual teams which is being conducted by Monash University in Australia. Three of our Board Members along with one of the graduate researchers participated in interviews about the current work underway surrounding virtual teams. When we receive a copy of the research, we will share the results of this research.

    April-May Engagement Opportunities
    The National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC) is hosting an exercise called Checkpoint 16 which is a virtual table-top exercise to test situational awareness. During the exercise, participants will be invited to test and evaluate vetted tools, apps, and templates that focus on the ability to locally manage, share, and update the status of pre-defined essential elements of information (EEIs).  

    Activities will occur on April 21st and May 11th. If you are interested in participating, register to participate here -->  REGISTRATION LINK  Virtual EMA has registered as a NISC Member (which is the first question for registration). 

    NIMS Refresh

    One of the most fundamental documents in emergency management is the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which outlines the Incident Command System for field response. Within the past two weeks, the NIMS Refresh document was released which provides some key new doctrinal clarifications about Emergency Operation Centers / Coordination Centers and Multi-Agency Coordination Systems. 

    The comment period is open until May 9th. Please read this document and provide input on the forms provided by FEMA. 

    Here's How You Can Help
    • MEMBERSHIP:  Help us continue to grow our membership. Feel free to share code ENYM6PDW so that your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.  
    • 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.
    • INTERESTED IN SERVING? Please let us know. This Association can use every ounce of support that you might be willing to give. Don't hesitate to let us know what you like to do and how you might like to serve. 

    Thanks again for your support with your membership and if you are looking for a 501(c)(3) for a tax-deductible organization, help us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector. 


  • 01 Apr 2016 7:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    What's Happening?

    • Signal Demo
    • Educational Research
    • Virtual Governance Subcommittee
    • Website Updates
    • April Meet-Ups Scheduled
    We hope the "ides of March" are finding each of you well this month. Our Board and VOST Governance Subcommittee has been actively working on a number of fun projects to share with you. 

    Signal Demonstration
    On February 17th, we hosted a webinar with Signal (www.GetSignal.info) which is social media monitoring software that is in use with virtual teams in New Zealand and across the world. Steve Milligan provided a great overview and visual of the tool ad we had 21 people participate which was a great turnout for this event. We look forward to hosting more informational demonstrations like this in the near future. 

    Educational Research Project
    Virtual EMA received an invitation to participate in a study on virtual teams which is being conducted by Monash University in Australia. Three of our Board Members along with one of the graduate researchers will be participating in interviews and discussions about the current work underway surrounding virtual team. We will share the results of this work as soon as they publish their research. 

    Virtual Governance Subcommittee
    Our first working committee is off to a great start. The Virtual Governance Subcommittee (VGS) has been meeting monthly since January to begin working on standardizing definitions, presentations, training and accreditation standard for virtual teams. We are hoping to put some structure around the VOST concept so that emergency management organizations better understand how to orient and on-board a team and develop consistent outcomes to improve mutual aid across teams. Thanks to Caz Milligan, Michelle Ouellette, Scott Reuter, Kjell Brataas, Chris Tarantino and Cheryl Bledsoe for working on this effort. 

    Website Updates

    Have you visited our website at www.virtualema.org recently? This is a work in-progress and we are always seeking to improve the content. Recently, content from www.sm4em.org was merged into this site and we found that many former #SMEM bloggers have stopped blogging. So, if you have some favorite "Social Media & Emergency Management" content, please let us know so we can add it into the website. 

    April Meet-Ups Scheduled

    April 3rd & 4th ~ Meet-Up with both Cheryl Bledsoe and Kim Stephens at the Alexandria Mark Hotel. 

    • If you are in the DC Area, we encourage you to visit the Finn & Porter Restaurant inside the Alexandria Mark Hotel to chat about Virtual EMA and #SMEM initiatives. We'll be available either in the Lobby Bar or the Finn & Porter Restaurant anytime after 4:00 p.m. on both nights, in the evenings, for fun conversation and beverages. Join us for a great time!  

    April 6th ~Restaurant Romp in Reno at the Government Social Media Conference.

    • If you are in the Reno area, don't miss an opportunity to have dinner with your emergency management and social media friends. The #GSMCon is planning to have a "restaurant romp" which offers conference attendees a restaurant location to meet up with a larger group of #SMEM friends. If you are attending the conference, sign up at the Registration Desk to join the #SMEM dinner. If you are in the area, but not a #GSMCon attendee, email cbledsoe@virtualema.org and we'll be sure to get you on the meet-up list and let you know where to meet us. Both Cheryl Bledsoe and MaryJo Flynn are speaking at this conference. 
    Member Shares
    One of our members, Claire Rubin, sent in some great articles to share with you. Thanks, Claire, for sharing these with us.

    Here are her good links:
    Here's How You Can Help
    • MEMBERSHIP:  Help us continue to grow our membership. Feel free to share code ENYM6PDW so that your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.  
    • 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.
    • INTERESTED IN SERVING? Please let us know. This Association can use every ounce of support that you might be willing to give. Don't hesitate to let us know what you like to do and how you might like to serve. 

    Thanks again for your support with your membership and if you are looking for a 501(c)(3) for a tax-deductible organization, help us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector. 


  • 29 Feb 2016 9:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    What's Happening?

    • #SMEMBowl Highlights
    • Signal Demo 
    • March 11th Board Meeting
    • April Activities
    February is already off to a busy start as we've been actively involved in developing relationships between a number of prospective tech partners, emergency managers and educational institutions.  

    #SMEMBowl
    During Superbowl 50, Virtual EMA had the unique opportunity to participate in a fun social media exercise. Our Executive Director, Cheryl Bledsoe, has been setting up drills for the last 4 years that involve the SuperBowl because the social media traffic during this game peaks, much like every crisis situation. 

    This year, we partnered with Scraawl to evaluate their social media analytics reporting tool to see what we could glean via use of this platform. We also played with Slack and networked via Skype. In all, nearly 25 people participated and it was a great afternoon. 

    Signal Demonstration
    On February 17th, we enjoyed seeing a demonstration of www.GetSignal.info. This product has been actively used by Virtual Teams to monitor social media. Thanks to Steve Milligan for sharing this tool with us! 

    Membership Survey
    There is still time to complete the --> MEMBERSHIP SURVEY.  If you could fill this survey out within the next month, we will aim to provide a report out at our next March Board meeting. 

    Board Meeting on March 11th

    Our Virtual EMA Board meets every month on the second Friday of each month. Quarterly, we plan to invite you to participate, listen and help us move the Association forward.  Please register for this meeting at this link --> BOARD MEETING so we can send you the conference call details. 

    Mark Your Calendars

    • February 17th  ~ Signal Demonstration (monitoring software) at 12p Pacific 
    • March 11th ~ Virtual EMA Board Meeting at 10:00 a.m. Pacific 
    • April 2-4th ~ National Emergency Management AssociationVirtual EMA Tweetup at the Alexandria Mark in Virginia at NEMA (Time TBD)
    • April 7th ~ Virtual EMA Tweetup at the Government Social Media Conference in Reno (Time/Location TBD)

    Here's How You Can Help
    • MEMBERSHIP:  Help us continue to grow our membership. Feel free to share code ENYM6PDW so that your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.  
    • 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.
    • INTERESTED IN SERVING? Please let us know. This Association can use every ounce of support that you might be willing to give. Don't hesitate to let us know what you like to do and how you might like to serve. 

    If you are a Virtual EMA Member, you receive these newsletters on the 15th of the month and receive our organizational information earlier than our public releases at the end of each month. 

    Thanks again for your support with your membership and if you are looking for a 501(c)(3) for a tax-deductible organization, help us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector. 



  • 31 Jan 2016 9:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    What's Happening?

    We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and kick-off to your 2016. Our Board has been busy, working on the goals that we've set out for this year and are thankful for each of you as members of our Association.  

    We've been working with Signal to set up a demonstration of social media monitoring software that has been actively used by Virtual Teams in New Zealand. We have scheduled this demo for February 17th at 12p Pacific Time (that would be 3p Eastern Time). To register for this webinar, click here to register --> REGISTRATION LINK

    The VOST Leadership Coalition's subcommittee to work on governance issues has conducted its first meeting. We'll provide an update of these outcomes at the VOSTLeadership Coalition meeting this Friday, January 29th at 12:30p.  The agenda & conference call details are located at this link --> VOST LC AGENDA

    Membership Survey

    As promised last month, we would like to ask you to complete a membership survey.  It is located at this link --> MEMBERSHIP SURVEY.  If you could fill this survey out within the next month, this will help drive Board discussion about where to focus our best efforts to serve you. 

    Board Member Vacancy

    We have an opening to serve on our Board. We sincerely thank and appreciate Chris Hall for serving on our Board for the past year! He has recently resigned from our Board due to his super busy schedule.  

    This opens up a great opportunity for one of you to step up and join our fun team of folks.  We meet once a month, on the 2nd Friday, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time or 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss our efforts, evaluate our budget and determine what should be done next. If this interests you, please consider applying for this vacancy at this link --> BOARD APPLICATION

    Mark Your Calendars

    • February 17th  ~ Signal Demonstration (monitoring software) at 12p Pacific 
    • March 11th ~ Virtual EMA Board Meeting at 10:00 a.m. Pacific 
    • April 4th ~ Virtual EMA Tweetup at the Alexandria Mark in Virginia at NEMA (Time TBD)
    • April 7th ~ Virtual EMA Tweetup at the Government Social Media Conference in Reno (Time/Location TBD)
    Here's How You Can Help
    • MEMBERSHIP:  Help us continue to grow our membership. Feel free to share code ENYM6PDW so that your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.  
    • 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.
    • INTERESTED IN SERVING? Please let us know. This Association can use every ounce of support that you might be willing to give. Don't hesitate to let us know what you like to do and how you might like to serve. 

    Thanks again for your support with your membership and if you are looking for a 501(c)(3) for a tax-deductible organization, help us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector. 


  • 28 Dec 2015 10:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What's Happening?

    We are thrilled to have about 50 members which is already 50% to our first year goal. Our 5-year goal is to reach 500 members, so we're 10% there so far. We also had fun hosting two of the Friday #SMEMChat discussions about innovation in emergency management.

    If you have never participated in an #SMEMChat, they occur on Twitter from 12:30p-1:30p Eastern time each Friday. Topics are selected by those participating. If you don't have a Twitter account, we have set our Twitter tab on our Facebook Page to show all of the #SMEMChat tweets so you can observe and follow along.

    We are very interested in what you want to see out of the Association. If you wish to share some narrative thoughts, feel free to email me anytime at cbledsoe@virtualema.org.

    Thinking About 2016

    In January, we will be launching a survey to capture your interests and so we can better plan content that you will find useful in your work, research or volunteer efforts.

    We are also beginning to look at conferences where we can connect with as many members in person to chat about the growth and future of this organization. At this point, we know we will have representation at:

    We have also applied to speak at the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto, CA on June 7-8, 2016 and will be looking to attend the International Association of Emergency Management Conference in the Fall.

    In 2016, we will also be planning to recruit for participation in several committees. Organizationally, we will be looking for help in the following area:

    • Membership: This committee will update the By-Laws, coordinate elections and deal with developing membership benefits and/or answer membership concerns.
    • Marketing & Outreach: This committee will work on outreach for the Association to our target audiences (technology, academia, and emergency management agencies.
    • Events: This committee will work on planning our annual retreat/conference/unconference and any other virtual events.

    We will also be looking at what topical committees members might be interested in. Already, we have received interest in a Public Health & Technology committee and an Accessible Technologies committee.

    We know that we'll have a working committee for Virtual Operation Support Team (VOST) development which will work on creating standards, definitions and training for social media monitoring teams.

    Here's How You Can Help

    • MEMBERSHIP: Help us continue to grow our membership. Feel free to share code ENYM6PDW so that your friends can join for $20 off either Individual or Student/Volunteer Membership on the Membership Page.
    • 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.
    • SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: How do you want to see this organization grow? Our Executive Board meets monthly and all of your input is shared and considered. As we continue to develop the website, we'll get the calendar rolling for 2016 so you can see what is coming up!
    • INTERESTED IN SERVING? Please let us know. This Association can use every ounce of support that you might be willing to give. Don't hesitate to let us know what you like to do and how you might like to serve.

    Thanks again for your support with your membership and if you are looking for a 501(c)(3) for a last-minute tax-deductible donation, please consider helping us build this organization into a true leader in the emergency services sector.

    Have a Super Happy Holiday Season. 2016 is going to be fun.


  • 17 Nov 2015 8:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two events on the agenda for this coming Friday.

    #SMEMChat on Twitter

    First up will be #SMEMChat on Twitter at 10:30a Pacific Time & 1:30p Eastern Time. 

    Since a number of #SMEM Friends attending #IAEM15 this past week, perhaps we could host a discussion about lessons learned and what presentations or activities attendees were particularly stirred to think about.

    #VOST Leadership Coalition Teleconference

     At 12:30p Pacific & 3:30p Eastern, we host the monthly teleconference for VOST team members, team leaders, team administrators, researchers and anyone who is interested in learning more or who wishes to work on issues to enhance this important capability.  

    This will be the last VOST Leadership Coalition meeting of 2015 thanks to the holidays in December, but we traditionally meet on the last Friday of each month at this time.  If you do not already receive agendas with call-in information, please email cherylble@gmail.com to be added to our email roster. 

  • 12 Nov 2015 10:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join us for ‪#‎SMEMChat‬ on Twitter on Friday, 11/13/15, at 9:30a Pacific | 12:30p Eastern where we will be talking about Innovation in Emergency Management.

    Don't have Twitter? You can watch the conversation at http://twubs.com/smemchat


  • 11 Nov 2015 2:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    5 Years Ago, 5 little characters changed the trajectory of many careers. 

    #SMEM which stands for "Social Media in Emergency Management."

    About 10-15 fellow emergency managers, technology-interested, academic practitioners and digital volunteers started talking about how to use and apply social and collaborative tools to the field of emergency management.

    #SMEM grew and many different people began using the tag and working on a variety of awesome initiatives to advance the knowledge and understanding of crowd behaviors during emergencies, how to disseminate messages quickly to the public when seconds count and how data influences research and how to more efficiently use resources.

    Just to name a few key projects & initiatives:

    • #SMEMChat has provided an opportunity for many folks to use Twitter each Friday between 12:30p-1:30p Eastern to learn how to conversate over a variety of topics.
    • Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) has been an active committee of the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate which has published a number of key papers relating to the advancing uses of social media in emergency management.
    • Digital Volunteerism has expanded considerably over the past 5 years with the American Red Cross, Humanity Road (#HMRD) and Virtual Operations Support Teams (#VOST) developing ways for everyday volunteers to participate in monitoring social media and being part of the global response to emergencies around the world. 
    • The Emerging Tech Caucus of the International Association of Emergency Management (#IAEM) has met regularly to provide hands-on assistance at their national conferences to teach others how to use social & collaborative tools. 
    • The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (#NDPTC) has developed and provided PER-304 "Social Media Basics" all across the United States and has two other classes under current development on Engagement Strategies and Advanced Social Media Tools which are coming soon.
    • Colleges and universities have also been working on #SMEM activities from a research perspective with many notable contributions from the Tweak the Tweet initiative and Leysia Palen's work in Colorado and Kate Starbird's efforts at the University of Washington.

    Why is the Virtual EMA needed? 

    While there are a number of emergency management associations all across the United States, many serve a very niche audience.  State-Based Associations tend to bring together city, county and state paid emergency managers. National & International Associations of Emergency management also serve state and local emergency managers respectively, but often have expensive rates of entry to participate. Both state and national organizations, while giving some support to collaborative tools, tend to still communicate in very traditional means. Newsletters, emails and conferences tend to be the only methods of engagement. 

    We wish to change that via the Virtual Emergency Management Association. We believe in the power of communication, collaboration and crowd-sourcing.  We trust that through the engagement of many, we can be creative, innovative and think about new ways to solve old problems.  

    To that end, Virtual EMA will serve to be an inclusive and welcoming Association which will serve to highlight, support and welcome initiatives which encourage the use of collaborative and social methods to build emergency management capabilities. 

    We are a registered 501(c)(3) Public Non-Profit which will give us the ability to use and offer the use of emerging tools and platforms to our membership.  

    Committees will be formed, based on the interests of our members. Members will be encouraged to share their knowledge in ways that we will aim to stream and record so that content will be available to review later, if needed. 

    We will be conducting proactive outreach with emerging technical and big data companies so that our members can have opportunities to learn early about new tools that can assist them in their positions or agencies who are dealing with emergency management missions. 

    We will be keeping our membership rates low and offer a student & volunteer rate which will always be 50% of the regular individual rate. Our corporate members will also be offered the ability to have their logos listed on our website as supporting partners. 

    Our website, www.VirtualEMA.org, has a "members-only" section which allows our active members to see both a Member Directory and a discussion forum. We will be building out additional content as we grow this first year. 

    We hope that you will consider taking the following actions:

    • Join the Association today! Between now and 12/31/15, use discount code ENYM6PDW to save $20 off your first year of membership. 
    • Refer your friends and colleagues: For each member who lists you as their referral, we will reward you with a free month of membership!
    • Consider making a donation! Not only will your donation be tax deductible, but your gifts will help us determine what types of get-togethers, retreats or conferences we can put together for our members. 
    • Engage with us! You'll find Virtual EMA on many different social media platforms like FacebookTwitterInstagram, YouTube and others. Ask your questions and inform us of your initiatives. 

    Will you join us and be part of making our Association GREAT?

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

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