Harris County (TX) Social Media Exercise Helps Prepare Responders for Disaster

The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) is hosting a social media disaster exercise on Wednesday, July 22nd at Houston TranStar. 

More than 15 county departments and external partners – including the National Weather Service, Houston TranStar, Texas Department of Transportation and the media are participating in this innovative test.

“Communication with the public is critical to our successful response to any disaster,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “In addition to traditional media, social media is a key source of information for many residents and Harris County is committed to providing the necessary information across new platforms.”

The exercise will allow participants to practice social media posting, monitoring, interaction techniques and multi-agency collaboration. Participants will get a feel of how social media is used during a disaster, with a strong focus on hurricanes.

The exercise, the first of its scope in the southeast Texas region, will test the most commonly used social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.  More importantly, it will improve how county departments collaborate on social networks to keep the public safe and informed.

HCOHSEM’s social media exercise will help improve partner collaboration for sharing information during an emergency, and encourage the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

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