What is the role of social media in an earthquake?

Businesses and government agencies are adept at responding to emergencies on the ground. But social media creates challenges and opportunities for which communicators need to be prepared.

The City of Redmond (Washington, USA) asked us to support them in the delivery of the Cascadia Rising emergency planning exercise. Cascadia Rising is a full scale exercise to test the regional response to a high impact earthquake. Our focus was on the role of Public Information Officers (PIOs).

We tested participating teams in the following ways:

  • The speed with which their PIOs were able to engage with a range of audiences on social media
  • How Joint Information Center (JIC) members communicated and coordinated their efforts amongst multiple PIOs
  • Information sharing between social media responders and wider incident decision-makers
  • Interaction with the Emergency Operations Center (ECO) and the wider humanitarian response effort 

Breaking news as Cascadia Rising gets underway – fictitious material created for the purposes of the exercise

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