Rapid Responses: How Do We Prepare for Crises & Disasters?


SL - Wolverine: UMMS Elective, Play2Train

Last Thursday, the medical librarians on Twitter (#medlibs) had a chat about medical libraries and librarians and how they deal with crises and disasters, both in the idea of preparing as well as responding. Last night, the Healthcare Social Media community on Twitter had a very similar conversation, focusing more on possibilities and best practices for using social media effectively in crisis and disaster situations. The two of these, back to back, were an incredible experience.

I am still trying to wrap my brain around the scope and highlights of the two conversations, and will just do a bit here briefly, then hope that you will go explore the chatlogs on your own. Starting there, here are links for the chatlogs.

#Medlibs: Transcript July 19, 2-3pm ET

#HCSM: Transcript July 22, 9-10pm ET

Background questions for the #medlibs chat were, “What if your library is effected by a disaster? What are the responsibilities of medical libraries during community crises? How can libraries prepare? How can medical librarians as individuals prepare?”

Topics for the #hcsm chat were, “Topic 1: What do we do with social media in a healthcare crisis? Can patients in emergency situations be e-patients? If so, how do we help them? Topic 2: What are emergency best practices for social media?”

The librarians’ discussion ranged from personal preparedness to professional, sharing tools and strategies such as having “buddy libraries” to provide content when your library is out of commission. One concept discussed quite a bit was the idea of creating an open access open source library of information most likely to be needed in a crisis or emergency response situation. Another was the idea of building strong relationships and partnerships, policies and procedures for crisis response within our local communities before they become necessary.

The healthcare social media community was very intrigued by the #SMEM chats on social media for emergency management. The #SMEM group has, over the past few years, had many conversations about the same topics of how to use social media effectively in a crisis, and have generated some best practices, tested them, revised them, and continue to evolve these. The briefest basic concept was, first, have a plan in place before it is needed, and second, make sure you as individuals know the plan and have an idea of the best practices for tweeting or using hashtags during a disaster.

I need to just insert a brief sidebar about that last bit, just so folks have seen it. The best practices are changing and will likely to continue to change, but if you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember in a crisis to tweet like this:

#crisis (ie. #haiti or #aurora) #name Name of Person #need What they need #loc Where they are

There are all kinds of recommended hashtags, but assuming folk who are not trained first responders may not remember them all, just remember #Crisis/#Name/Need/#Loc. Here is a screenshot from the Tweak the Tweet project that gives more examples. [historical information on the project]

Tweak the Tweet

Many wonderful links were shared in both chats. If you are interested in this topic, you might also be interested in the #SMEM chat on Fridays at 12:30pm Eastern Time.

(NOTE: The image used at the head of this post is from a medical school first responder training exercise held in the Play2Train area of Second Life, a 3d online virtual world.)

One response to “Rapid Responses: How Do We Prepare for Crises & Disasters?

  1. Pingback: Hashtagging During a Crisis – Metadata Matters | MetaMusings

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