Public Service Wins During #Blizzardof2015

Public Service Wins During #Blizzardof2015

Digital media has become a great tool for public service announcements during crisis events. Twitter has become an invaluable tool for revolutionaries, weather reporters and breaking news. Google helps us find new and developing insights and information. Facebook helps us to see what our friends are posting. Even BuzzFeed helps us see the texts moms are sending about snowmageddon. During this year’s #Blizzardof2015 politicians, news outlets, technology platforms and information aggregators rushed to get out the word and help educate the public. Here are a few interesting public service wins and observations from the past day since the January 2015 blizzard hit the East Coast.

  • Governor Cuomo closed down state and local roads after 11pm on Monday evening and made sure people knew about it via Twitter (several times).
  • @NotifyNYC, the official resource for emergency events, posts the latest updates and allows residents to enroll for email and SMS alerts.
  • Local and national news rushed to post safety tips. The news helped to tell people not to drive and to put down the snow shovel.
  • The New York Times aggregates and updates how much snow has fallen to show us how we compare to the 26.9 inches we saw in 2006. As of today, we aren’t even close! They also show predictions by zone.
  • FEMA via Ready.gov brought tips to people by posting infographics and photos to their social accounts and were picked up and used by most of the local and national media outlets.
  • But the best of the bunch is Google Public Alerts. Upon doing a search for the Blizzard of 2015, Google.org posted a quick update for your area along with expected accumulations and snowfall rates. The public alerts page provides a bullet point list of things you should know: wind speed, visibility, temperatures and warnings. They posted tips from Ready.gov, alerts from other areas, top stories and even top tweets related to the alert.

Digital media has brought on new ways to amplify information for crisis response and it is great to see government agencies, technology companies and individuals work together to help keep people safe. For my fellow New Yorkers and East Coasters: stay warm, stay safe and stay in the know.

(Photo Credit: Adrian Cabrero via Flickr)