Emergency preparedness professionals and disaster relief agencies have met a powerful new friend—Twitter.
In advance of Hurricane Sandy crashing into the East Coast, central Pennsylvania social media and media professionals created a hashtag to keep citizens safe, informed, and prepared for any outcome. Using #SandyCenPa on Twitter, ABC 27 news anchor Megan Healey led the tweetstream, which ultimately included all regional TV news media outlets, The Patriot-News, the Governor’s office, all regional utility companies, PA National Guard, area hospitals and colleges, municipalities and counties, and businesses.
In response to the powerful regional messaging, the BBC radio world news reached out to Anne Deeter Gallaher to find out how successful #SandyCenPa was in informing the region and how central Pennsylvania was faring during the superstorm.
First knowledge is critical for emergency response and when phone lines go down, Twitter is still a channel for communication. Even for people who had no existing Twitter profile, the entire community remained updated by simply inserting #SandyCenPa into Google and benefitting from the live feed of safety and survival tweets.