Use Of Social Media Tools At FEMA

Why FEMA is involved in social media

FEMA has been engaging in Web 2.0 tools and on social media sites nationwide as part of its mission to prepare the nation for disasters. FEMA's goals with social media are: to provide timely and accurate information related to disaster preparedness response and recovery; provide the public with another avenue for insight into the agency’s operations; and engage in what has already become a critical medium in today’s world of communications. FEMA’s social media ventures function as supplemental outreach, and as appropriate channels for unofficial input.

How FEMA is Involved

All FEMA social media accounts outside of the domain carry the branded femainfocus look and feel. This provides consistency and accountability for content in that the public and our partners can rest assured it is the authorized FEMA account and that the information is accurate. Citizens can engage more easily with the emergency management community through social media sites, and increase their role in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

All off-network accounts (outside of the domain) for FEMA social media carry the femainfocus look and feel. This provides consistency and accountability for non-network content in that the public and our partners can rest assured it is the authorized FEMA account and that the information is accurate.

Starting with YouTube as a platform to host and share videos, FEMA began capturing stories from disaster response and recovery efforts to explain the scope of its mission. Videos have ranged in subject from preparedness, response, and recovery to mitigation and explanations of how specific federal aid programs operate. The subjects, or voices, have been FEMA staff, state and local authorities, and individuals affected by disasters. The approach to these web videos was to capture the voice and perspective of the community involved in a disaster and present it as an opportunity to help educate others on FEMA's mission and programs.

FEMA has been using Twitter since October, 2008 as a means to offer information about the agency's mission, efforts and perspective. The agency also launched its YouTube page in October, 2008 to provide stories about how its programs work in communities nationwide as they prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

Previous to the transition of the former agency leadership, Administrator Paulison participated in a media availability using FEMA's Twitter Account. The Administrator sent and received messages through the agency account to citizens utilizing the social media tool. The exchange was followed by staff, mass media, the American public and local/state emergency managers. Deputy Administrator Johnson participated in the agency's first Bloggers Roundtable in January, 2009. Both events offered greater transparency and a candid public interaction of senior level government employees addressing public queries.

FEMA External Affairs has been pragmatically adapting its communications efforts towards inclusion of social media since June, 2008. In fact, FEMA External Affairs, in coordination with the FEMA Office of Chief Counsel, was one of the first federal agencies to achieve a modified user agreement with Google in May, 2008, providing a working example for other federal agencies. It also broke new ground for a federal agency through its use of Twitter to host the first all access "press conference" through the tool. For the Twitter event, FEMA set new ground rules for federal engagement and provided its results online in a move to usher in full transparency behind federal social media exchanges.

The following is a list of – based and social media sites that FEMA uses to engage the public. Read the fact sheet on our use of New Media.

Web 2.0 Resources on

•RSS Feeds ( - FEMA currently offers national-level RSS feeds that provide subscribers with automated updated information. Apart from press release and disaster declaration information, subscribers can receive notifications on the issuance of new situation reports and photographs added to the official FEMA Photo Library.
•Widgets ( ) - Widgets provide data feeds through transportable well-defined web-based graphical interfaces. This is akin to a "box score" anyone can put on a website they use that is fed data from sources we define.
•Multimedia ( -The Multimedia site provides contributor an end-user interaction on a .gov platform. This site currently hosts videos, podcasts, photos and text-based documents that are presented in collections related to disasters and subject matter. It permits web 2.0 functions such as embed coding and sharing
Social Media Tools and Sites

We are providing the following links to FEMA's presence on other third party sites for your reference. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

•Youtube ( - Video service that provides FEMA opportunity to tell timely and accurate stories of its mission. The FEMA channel is used to help state partners host and share public service announcements, explain federal reimbursement process and mitigation efforts local to specific communities. These short videos provide access to the overall operation and offer an opportunity for the voices within the community to explain how programs affect their lives.
•Twitter ( - Microblog that gives FEMA the opportunity to direct followers and users of the tool to specific information in a timely manner, such as during emergencies and disasters. There is a national Twitter account and there are regional Twitter accounts. Administrator Craig Fugate also manages a Twitter account, you can view his updates at
◦National (
◦Region I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) (
◦Region II (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) (
◦Region III (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and W. Virginia) (
◦Region IV (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, N. Carolina, S. Carolina and Tennessee) (
◦Region V (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) (
◦Region VI (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) (
◦Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) (
◦Region VIII (Colorado, Montana, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) (
◦Region IX (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Federated States of Micronesia) (
◦Region X (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) (
◦US Fire Administration (
•Facebook ( - FEMA has been using its FaceBook account since May, 2009 to provide a forum for preparedness information and to engage the public with links and topics.
•Google Books - FEMA has been working with Google Books to provide its published content in a free, easy to access format online. FEMA currently offers publications on preparedness, mitigation and its recovery programs in hard copy through its distribution warehouse. FEMA will be able to provide this content and future content on a broader scale by leveraging the technology and resources available.
If you think FEMA should use other third party sites or new forms of communications tools, then please contact us at

Published on: 2009-11-02

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