IEERG Projects

Social Media in Disaster Management - Emergency Services Agency and Community Interaction

Christian Ehnis, Deborah Bunker and Mark Borman

Since social media is an established part in many people's everyday life, it is not a surprise that these services have a growing importance in disaster management communications. In a disaster context people seek information from trusted sources and emergency services agencies attempt to use these channels to improve their emergency response. In this exploratory study, the utilisation and integration of social media for the purpose of communication and interaction with the general public during a disaster, is investigated from an agency perspective.

Social media micro blogging data from Facebook and Twitter, has been collected, integrated and analysed in the context of community interaction with agencies before, during and after an emergency event. This study also seeks to view this information from the agency perspective by looking at their processes of eliciting, analysing and using such data in their management of a disaster.

This project attempts to provide a better understanding of the integration and utilisation of social media services in emergency services agencies. More importantly, the project will create valuable insights which can help to create new and improve existing, social media communication processes for emergency services agencies and the general public during a disaster event.

Blending High Control Models & Self Organising Systems in Disaster Recovery: Solutions for Coordinated Response & Situated Awareness

Deborah Bunker, Linda Levine, Tony Sleigh and Christian Ehnis

Our research aims to examine how to best harness self-organising systems to augment traditional Common Operating Pictures (COPs) of disaster recovery. In doing so, we hope to more effectively develop an integrated approach to: situational awareness, resource utilization and recovery outcome optimization. Our aim is to employ and blend the best of command and control approaches with the potential arising from self-organising systems that utilize open innovation platforms and tools such as social media. We ask: what fledgling efforts are being currently undertaken to address this need? What are the state of the art and the state of practice? What composite or alternate model/s can be developed to represent the situation at point-in-time during disaster recovery—whether fully coordinated, separated, blended or hybrid models? How will this model (or models) meet the requirements of, and serve as a tool for, all government services, NGOs and the community?

Emergency Evacuation of Expatriates: A Cross-Sectoral Evaluation of Multinational Policy, Practice and Human Resources

Susan McGrath-Champ and Anthony Fee

This study examines the policies and practices of multinational organisations for managing the emergency evacuation of international staff. The research explores current policies and practices, and using a 'human resource management' perspective, develops a framework that describes key issues and 'best practice' approaches relating to pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis phases of evacuation. The study includes corporate multinational organisations, as well as non-government multinational organisations that have substantial experience managing staff in high-risk settings. The proposed study enhances scholarship identifing emergency evacuation best practice to strengthen organisations' current provisions in this area.

Social Media and Crisis Response: An Analytical Framework and Tool to aid Emergency Service Agencies

Deborah Bunker, Kai Riemer and Christian Ehnis - A collaboration with colleagues at the University of Muenster (Stefan Stieglitz, Nina Krueger, Malte Landwehr) - this project is funded by a GO8 DAAD Research Grant.

There is no doubt that social media has been adopted by many people in order to exchange information that is both timely and topical. These characteristics of social media are potentially very valuable for emergency agencies to utilize to gain a better picture of unfolding crisis events. At the same time emergency agencies also need to draw on, and engage in social media to positively and pro-actively steer public perception and influence behaviour during unfolding crisis events, such as inhibiting rumours and the spread of false information.

Our aim is to understand how social media communications can be most effectively analysed by emergency agencies during a crisis response to ensure public safety. This aim is supported by the following objectives: 1) development of an analytical tool for extracting, filtering and visualizing relevant social media communication patterns; and 2) development of a framework with guidelines for applying this tool as part of a wider set of information and communication analysis techniques.