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Role of Social Media in Emergency Preparedness

Summary of the article

The article aims at outlining the role of social media in emergency preparedness. It further points out that there are other social media that may prove pivotal in communication in case of emergency. Cases present in the article support the potential of the use of social media in spreading information about health, as well as safety for victims. Following earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the social media was key in spreading information. The Egyptian uprising of 2011 is another example of the effects of the social media on the spread of information.

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The research question in the article includes the possibilities of integrating social media in emergency preparedness. The article points out the possible use of social media in emergency preparedness with regard to experience. The discovery of the H1N1 influenza vaccine that became available in 2009 utilized the social media to inform residents of Alexandria and Virginia of the availability. The oil spill evident in the Golf of Mexico in 2010 spread through the social media.

This prompted the cleanup by volunteers. Individuals and organizations embrace the social media in communication even in cases of disaster. The community concern with emergency management may use the platform to ensure disaster preparedness. This includes medical personnel and other emergency systems who may adopt the social media as another source of information during the routine activities in preparedness.

Providing the public with real-time information on the daily activities in disaster preparedness may exhibit a positive contribution. The social media that are frequently used include Facebook and Twitter. Information collected from the public may be used in decision making and improving the systems of emergency preparedness. The use of the global positioning system, mobile phones and other communication devices may help in sharing information about defined environments. This fosters efficiency in location-based services in the bid to improve disaster preparedness. The use of online surfaces, such as the Online Board created by Red Cross is of help in emergency preparedness (Merchant, Elmer, and Lurie 290).

Efforts of recovery may be aided by the social media. This includes stress management efforts for victims and workers under disaster management. Information about vulnerability may be provided in a timely manner, so as to avoid the level of stress related to an emergency. The response to affected individuals offers consolations and may be used following an emergency (Merchant, Elmer, and Lurie 289). This falls under emergency management plans that are pivotal in disaster preparedness. Vulnerable populations should be considered in the use of social media in emergency preparedness. The accuracy of information shared in the social media remains questionable. Some information shared may not be firsthand and may be incomprehensive and unreliable.

The issue of privacy remains a menace with the use of social media in emergency preparedness. Analysts make efforts to determine the reliability of information provided in social media. This may help in determining the effectiveness of the social media in disaster preparedness, as well as emergency management. The authors of the article mention that social media may not be used as the preferred option in emergency preparedness. It should act as an alternative in disaster management communication. Verification of information obtained from the social media may be necessary depending on the emergency. The accuracy of information may be enhanced through technological inventions other than the use of social media. The social media may also be used in improving disaster preparedness to public health threatening issues.


The authors recommend that the social media is a pillar in communication that may be used in disaster management. Response to emergencies and proper preparation for emergencies may be improved through the use of the social media. This becomes possible through informing the public about ongoing activities in disaster preparedness. It may not be advisable to rely on information in the social media as a source of emergency information. This is as a result of questionable integrity of identities in the social media. Social media may not form the final source of information, but may offer information different from other parameters used in communication (Merchant, Elmer, and Lurie 290).

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The social media may also provide timely information considering that individuals who interact with an emergency may provide information through the social media. There are communication channels used in emergency preparedness that uses technologies relevant for locating and identifying emergencies. Other uses of the social media according to the author include offering an interactive surface for victims in the process of recovery. Emergency preparedness encompasses recovery and stress management. This informs the use of social media in interacting with victims rather than a communication surface for emergency response (Merchant, Elmer, and Lurie 290). The social media have the potential of enhancing communication that results in the improved emergency preparedness and response systems.

Feasibility of the recommendation

I find the recommendations useful following the varied habits in social media. People are capable of posting unrealistic information in the social media. This may result in the wastage of resources in responding to cases that may not be real. These claims include exaggerations that may result in overutilization or underutilization of resources. This defines the need for more comprehensive communication channels and procedures; in cases of emergency the social media may not form the best source of information for the emergency response. I feel that the recommendation of using the social media to improve efficiency in emergency preparedness and emergency response depends on the emergency at hand.

Sharing information about disaster preparedness may not yield positive results in the case of terrorist attack. However, in other cases such as natural disaster, it may be necessary. Disaster management teams are trained to handle emergencies. Involving the public does not add to the professionalism in disaster management, rather, the adoption of the public view on disaster preparedness may include quackery.

The reaction of the people in social media may include emotional attachment, which may interfere with informed decision making for untrained individuals. Sharing of information should be limited and the choice of improvement suggestions from the social media should be based on professionalism. This forms the basis of my disagreement with the recommendation of sharing information for improved efficiency.

Relevant research questions

Researches that should be done in relation to the integration of the social media in emergency preparedness include the reliability of information provided by the public in such surfaces. The effectiveness of social media in cases concerning public health emergencies should also be conducted. The financial implication on healthcare through the use of the social media forms another area of research that should be scrutinized. Researchers should also focus on the efficiency of the social media in the timely delivery of information in the process of researching on reliability. The availability of alternative surfaces to the social media may also be evaluated and a comparison made on the best system that may be used in emergency preparedness efforts.

Works Cited

Merchant, Raina, Stacy Elmer, and Nicole Lurie. “Integrating Social Media into Emergency-Preparedness Efforts.” The New England Journal of Medicine 365.4 (2011): 289-291. Print.

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"Role of Social Media in Emergency Preparedness." StudyCorgi, 2 Jan. 2022,

1. StudyCorgi. "Role of Social Media in Emergency Preparedness." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "Role of Social Media in Emergency Preparedness." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "Role of Social Media in Emergency Preparedness." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Role of Social Media in Emergency Preparedness'. 2 January.

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