In the digital age of smartphones and tablets, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) encourages the use of social networks during tropical weather to receive vital emergency information from local, state and federal agencies, as well as nonprofit and faith-based organizations.
MEMA primarily uses the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to relay information. In addition, MEMA communicates with traditional media like television stations, newspapers and radio.
The agency has more than 114,000 followers on Facebook and more than 20,000 on Twitter. The public can follow updates and receive tips instantaneously, via Twitter, by following the username @MSEMA. On Facebook, search for @msemaorg.
As an example of the effectiveness of using social media, MEMA reached more than 2.5 million people on Facebook during Hurricane Isaac in 2012 with preparedness messaging, real-time weather warnings and information about recovery efforts.
Also, in 2017, MEMA unveiled its new mobile app. There, you can find preparedness tips, state and local emergency management contacts, local weather updates and more. The app is free for both iOS and Android users, by searching the keywords “Mississippi EMA” in the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Many county emergency management offices are also using social media and MEMA encourages you to follow them for local information.
Other valuable uses of social media during emergencies:
- You can get information on your cell phone, even if the power is out.
- Use it to contact friends and family to let them know your plans before a storm.
- After the storm, phone lines may be down or jammed but text and data could be the best way to let people know you are safe and where you are.
You can download the 2010 MEMA Hurricane Preparedness Guide at http://www.msema.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-HurricaneGuide-Website.pdf.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared May 6-10 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Mississippi.