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Are You Connected With Social Media for Disaster Preparation?

Intern Kelsey Scanlon reports to the city's Disaster Council about "new media" communication.

The city of Sonoma Disaster Council is researching how to use social media before, during and after emergencies.

Summer intern Kelsey Scanlon reported back to the council on the subject at the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday. She interviewed people in local government and non-profit organizations and researched on the Internet over the past few months, she said.

Disaster management is essential not just for the emergency phase, she told the council. It involves four stages: mitigation, preparedness, recovery and response. Communication is vital in all four stages, she said.

Scanlon is a student at Emerson College in Boston.

She advised the Disaster Council to plan ahead by developing a "fan base" of followers on social media before any emergency strikes.

The Council meetings have included members and guests from the City of Sonoma, American Red Cross, County of Sonoma, Skypark Airport Emergency Response, Sebastapol CERT Program, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, police and fire departments, local media, Chantarelle HOA Emergency Program and Arroyo Veterinary Hospital.

Many public agencies, such as the American Red Cross, Cal Fire and the County of Sonoma are on Facebook and Twitter, offering emergency preparedness tips.

Patch has experience conveying information in times of disaster in various towns across the United States. We invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

We'd also like to hear from our readers about your favorite social media sites for disaster preparedness and other subjects. Tell us in the comments.

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