Social Media Unit

Emergency Management BC

Emergency Info BC

Session Title: Who Gives a Tweet? The role of social media in emergency management and preparedness education

Session Extract:

We don’t know when or where disaster will strike, but what we do know is that during times of crisis more and more people look for information and guidance on social media channels. That is where Emergency Info BC comes in. We provide relevant, timely, B.C.-specific information online and when people need it, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year. We do this by working closely with EMBC’s emergency managers to share information; amplifying site-specific information from local governments and our partners; and supporting a dynamic online safety community focused on emergency preparedness. Our alerting Twitter feed – @EmergencyInfoBC – boasts the largest following in government (the feed grew 704 per cent in just one year).

In-between emergency events, Emergency Info BC engages with the public through creative personal preparedness campaigns, such as our internationally-recognized Zombie Awareness Week campaign. We do this via YouTube, Pinterest, SoundCloud, Flickr and our recently-launched sister feed, @EmergencyPrepBC, on Twitter.

Our voice is a genuine, honest and personable one. We are not just a government brand – we are an organization dedicated to British Columbians, and reside in Victoria, BC.

About the Speakers:

Ashley Spilak, Lisa Barrett and Jennifer McLarty are the three members of Emergency Management BC’s Social Media Unit – a strategic and service-oriented team that provides 24/7 emergency alert coverage and engages British Columbians on preparedness and response activities. Together, the three women have twenty years’ experience in government and social media communications.

Ashley Spilak, MA
Follow @AshleySpilak

A digital communications, social media and networking strategist, Ashley’s skills include web marketing, crisis and community management, and the development of domestic and international business relationships online for the BC government.

Lisa Barrett
Follow @barrettlisa

Lisa’s communications career began in the federal government in January 2001 and with thirteen years of experience under her belt, she is truly proficient at both traditional and new, emerging media. Lisa’s talents are currently focused on developing, implementing and sustaining an online communications presence for Emergency Management BC’s Social Media Unit.

Jennifer McLarty
Follow @JennMcLarty

Jennifer is a veteran communicator who got hooked on online disaster management while overseeing the BC Forest Fire Information Facebook page and Twitter feed during two of the busiest fire seasons on record. Today, her passion, 16-years-experience and content creation talents are focused on growing Emergency Management BC’s social media presence, and helping people prepare for and respond to disasters. Her track record includes spearheading the internationally-acknowledged Zombie Preparedness Week campaign that ran in May 2012.

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