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Strategic Use of Social Media On Incidents. This net meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. mountain time You must dial in to the conference call to receive audio: Phone Number: 888-601-3873 Participant Passcode: 215300

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February 21 2 013

Strategic Use of Social Media

On Incidents

This net meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. mountain time

You must dial in to the conference call to receive audio:

Phone Number: 888-601-3873

Participant Passcode: 215300

If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please click on Q&A on the toolbar at the top of your screen, write a message in the box that says Type a question for the presenter and click Ask, we will try our best to assist you. Or email Jennifer Jones at jejones@fs.fed.us or call her at (208) 631-0406.

February 21, 2013

Strategic use of social media on incidents

Strategic Use of Social Media On Incidents

Jennifer Jones

Public Affairs Specialist

U.S. Forest Service, Washington Office, Fire and Aviation Management

National Interagency Fire Center

Boise, Idaho

What s the point of this

What’s the point of this?

  • To supplement information presented in S403

  • To develop material that may be incorporated into the all risk advanced PIO training course

  • February 28 Leadership: It’s Not In A Taskbook!

  • webinar has been postponed, new date to be determined.

February 21 2 013

NIFC PIO Bulletin Board http://www.nifc.gov/PIO_bb/webinar.html

Topics for future training webinars

Topics for future training/webinars

  • Evacuations & Road Closures

  • The PAO/PIO relationship 

  • More about VOSTs & how to get one

  • Virtual Joint Information Centers/JIS

  • A research informed approach to incident communications

  • Consistent Messaging

  • Advanced News Media

  • Effective public meetings

  • Stakeholder/cooperator engagement

  • Legislative issues/politics

  • Current issues in wildfire/incident management

  • Unified Command

  • Working with multiple teams on a fire/Area Command




  • Download documents by clicking on pages icon on right side of live meeting toolbar.



  • Download documents by clicking on pages icon on right side of live meeting toolbar.

  • Questions will be taken at the end in writing or over the phone

  • To submit a question in writing any time during the presentation:

  • Click on Q&A on the toolbar at the top of your screen, write a message in the box that says “Type a question for the presenter” and click Ask

Michelle fidler

Michelle Fidler

NPS Fire Communication and Education Specialist




Kris eriksen

Kris Eriksen

  • National Incident Management Organization- Portland Team: Public Information Officer


What we w on t cover

What We Won’t Cover:

Why you should use social media

What social media tools to use

How to use social media tools

We begin with the assumption that we all understand the need to engage with social media at some level & that it must be part of an overall strategy.

What we w ill cover

What We Will Cover:

How to build a Web 2.0 Unit in your PIO shop if you have the skills available.

How to manage Web 2.0 needs if you don’t have the skills available.

Social media transition issues – going from an IMT with a staffed SM effort to an IMT with nothing.

Social media – can you or can’t you?!

When to use

When To Use?

Every incident is different

  • Local standard

  • Evacuations

  • National / International Attention

  • Political Pressure from Governor / President

  • Primary systems crash

  • When your story isn’t in the conversation

How does it fit

How Does it Fit?

Part of an overarching information strategy

  • Not a silver bullet

  • Don’t give up the traditional

  • Able to update from the field

  • Serves as a backup

  • Tools will come and go

  • Choose the tools that meet your needs

Where to begin

Where to Begin?

Start with a 360 review to determine the need and key partners

Sample Monitoring Template - http://bit.ly/HowToMonitor

Plan ahead

Plan Ahead

  • Establish a Protocol

  • Have a Contingency Plan

Sample protocol: http://bit.ly/CommentGuidelines

Think through your needs

Think Through Your Needs

  • Initial Setup

    • Ordering

    • Organizing

    • Publicizing

  • Daily Tasks

    • Pushing

    • Monitoring

    • Engaging

  • Closeout

    • Evaluating

    • Transitioning

2013 PIO Incident Organizer - http://www.nifc.gov/PIO_bb/nps.html

Intel gathering

Intel Gathering

  • Traditional planning cycle doesn’t meet our needs

  • We need to provide “nuggets” of info throughout the day

  • Requires buy-in from entire IMT

  • Can be helpful to embed a PIO in Ops

Comment guidelines

Comment Guidelines


Building your organization

Building Your Organization



How to structure wallow fire case study e trapline group

How To Structure?Wallow Fire Case Study : E-Trapline Group

Photo by Kari Greer

February 21 2 013

How To Structure?The Ultimate!

February 21 2 013

I have no PIOs with Social Media skills

Tasks any PIO can do

  • Pushing Messages

    • Post articles and announcements on Inciweb (which will be tweeted automatically from @Inciweb)

    • AutopostInciweb RSS feed to Host Unit and/orIMT account (optional)

  • Monitoring

    • Do an initial review of partner sites to identify key resources

    • Scan Icerocket.com ≥ 1x / day

  • Countering Rumors

    • Address trending social media concerns in Inciweb articles/announcements

How to ramp up with more pios i have 3 5 pios who have skills

How to Ramp Up with More PIOsI have 3-5 PIOs who have skills

What if i have nothing

What If I Have Nothing?

You have some options:


Use an off-site PIO

Ask the host unit

Use your partner agencies

Create a VOST - Trusted Digital Volunteers

How can i find a qualified pio

How Can I Find A Qualified PIO?

Social Media PIO Database

Lead= Able to lead a social media group on an incident

Advanced= Regularly use social media tools for personal, office, or incident use

Intermediate= Comfortable Using a Variety of Social Media Tools

Beginner= Have Training and/or Have Tried Using Social Media Tools

Contact: Michelle Fidler



Will a name r equest b e a pproved

Will a name request be approved?

Name Suggest Resource Order Language

Requesting PIO Qualification, Full Name as it’s Listed in ROSS, Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx, Home Unit: xx-xxx, Dispatch: xx-xxx, Jetport: xxx) to report at date/time. She/he has advanced social media skills and has the skills and experience to serve as a lead PIO for our multimedia unit. He/she will be maintaining electronic public information incident communications (Inciweb, social media, etc.) and needs to work at location with reliable power, phone, and internet.Her/his work station may move throughout the incident to accommodate this need. Work may be performed remotely at official duty station or off-site locations as appropriate. Travel to the incident is authorized. Rental car, laptop, cell phone, handheld radio, portable printer, and digital camera are authorized.

Use an off site pio

Use an off-site PIO

  • Ask a PIO or other person, not on your incident, to help

  • Place an order for someone to work remotely

    • NWCG Memo on Off-Site/Remote Incident Assignments - http://www.nwcg.gov/general/memos/nwcg-013-2011.pdf

Ask the host unit

Ask the host unit



Other standing social media accounts

Front desk or PAO staff

Use your p artner agencies

Use Your Partner Agencies

Fire Departments

Chamber of Commerce


Other Fire Agencies

Build a vost virtual operations support team

Build a VOSTVirtual Operations Support Team

A VOST is a structured group of volunteers, who’s location is irrelevant, who have been organized by you to assist in providing virtual social media support, under your direction, for your incident.

Build a vost virtual operations support team cont

Build a VOSTVirtual Operations Support Team cont>

Away from the incident

In many time zones

Give you distance from social media

Give you an invisible staff that can accomplish a huge amount of work

Ensure the WO & other VIPs are getting info

Can supply you with dedicated eyes and ears

Build a vost virtual operations support team cont1

Build a VOSTVirtual Operations Support Team cont>

Give you an invisible staff that can accomplish a huge amount of work

Ensure the WO & other VIPs are getting info

Can supply you with dedicated eyes and ears

Vost concerns


Most common concerns about VOST:

It’s just more people to manage.

What if one of them goes rogue, saying things we don’t want them to?

I don’t want to have to make sure what they write/say is correct.

Case study

Case Study

Gladiator Fire – One PIO Using Existing Resources

How We Managed

  • @Inciweb was on autopilot

  • @wildlandfireAZautoposts from Inciweb

  • AZEIN Blog/@AZEIN/FB posted our updates

  • Set @T1SWIMT to autopost from Inciweb

  • Monitored Google alerts and Icerocket

Case study1

Case Study

Little Bear Fire – One PIO Off-Site > On-Site

  • 1 PIO off-site 1st few days

  • Relocated to ICP once stable connections established

  • Pushed Messages

    • Inciweb

    • NMFireInfo blog, FB, Twitter

    • IMT & Host Unit Twitter

    • Incident Facebook

  • Monitored & Engaged

    • Posted consolidated responses

    • Mitigated Rumors

Case study little sand fire co

Case StudyLittle Sand Fire, CO

  • Me as lead PIO

    • 1 Social Media PIO

    • 1 Deputy running day to day Ops

    • Other PIOs as worker bees



This is a new issue as we move into SM because of the disparity.

The key is communication

Document all accounts and passwords

H ow to transition

How to Transition?

Wenatchee Complex Case Study – Transitioning From a VOST

  • First Type 1 IMT on-site used a VOST that disengaged with the IMT left

  • We considered stopping posts when the VOST left

  • We ultimately determined there was still value to feeding sites they’d started

  • We only had 1 PIO to manage so we used dlvr.it to autopost

  • We focused on monitoring and responding to trends

Building social media skills

Building Social Media Skills

There are numerous resources available – the key is getting started and using the tools yourself.

Tips - nifc.gov/PIO_bb/social_media.html

FAQ - http://www.nifc.gov/PIO_bb/webinar/WebinarQA2012.pdf

SM Training - training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is42.asp

How To - howto.gov/social-media

VOST questions answered - http://vosg.us/

How VOSTs/IMTs work together –1 hr webinar https://webmeeting.nih.gov/p88541552/

Issues that remain

Issues that remain

Can you or can’t you??

Use of Social media is not just a PIO decision.

New er tools

New (er) Tools

Ustream - livestreaming of briefings

Direct to FB livestream– available now via iPhone; streams live and posts recorded

QR codes – allows for easy access to websites from smartphones

Avenza Maps - download geotagged PDFs to your mobile device; GPS shows where you are

Ipads– updated mapping from the fireline; also used to record/stream briefings / air attack footage

Groupme – group texting to inform PIO / PAOs

Google Voice – one number; can designate which cell and/or landlines it will ring to; transcribes voicemail; group texting feature

Wildland Fire Apps (Red Cross, US Fires, Wildfire Info, CO Wildfire Watch) – mobile access to Inciweb and 209 information

Questions or comments

Questions or comments?

3 Ways to Ask

  • Click on Q&A on the toolbar at the top of your screen, write a message in the box that says Type a question for the presenter and click Ask

  • Click on the hand icon and ask your question over the phone when you are called on

  • Ask your question over the phone when I ask if anyone has any questions

Contact info

Contact Info

Michelle FidlerNPS Fire Communication and Education Specialist Supporting Parks in AZ, NM, OK, and TX3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730(520) 733-5136 office (520) 400-2932 cell         Michelle_Fidler@nps.gov

Kris Eriksen


U.S. Forest Service

National Incident Management Organization

(208) 869-7685 cell


Thank you

Thank you!

PIO, Little Bear Fire, New Mexico, 2012

NIFC PIO Bulletin Board http://www.nifc.gov/PIO_bb/webinar.html

Jennifer Jones


(208) 387-5437

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