PEARL –It seems as though everyone has a smartphone or computer access these days and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency wants to encourage the use of mobile phone apps and social networking during hurricanes to receive vital emergency information from local, state and federal agencies.
“It’s a new world we live in, where we can share information instantaneously through cell phones and social media outlets,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “While it’s important for you to get the alerts and information, it’s equally vital that you have a plan in place to take action..”
MEMA primarily uses Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as vehicles to get messages out, in addition to the traditional avenues of public information like television stations, newspapers and radio.
The agency has more than 58,000 followers on Facebook, and more than 13,000 on Twitter. The public can follow updates and receive tips instantaneously, via twitter, by following the username MSEMA or visiting http://twitter.com/msema. On Facebook, search Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
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 of recovery efforts.
Many Mississippi county emergency management agencies are also using social media and Director Latham 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 will be the best way to let people know you are ok and where you are.
In addition MEMA has a free mobile phone app available for android and iPhone users in the various app stores.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared May 25-29 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Mississippi.
For more information about how to prepare for hurricane season, go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org and look at the Mississippi Hurricane Guide or download the MEMA mobile app on your iOS or Android device. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.