Weather forecasters predict a less active than normal 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, but it only takes one bad storm to cause immense destruction. To prepare for that possibility, one coastal community, Belmar, N.J., is now relying on social media to alert, interact and stay in touch with its residents.
Belmar realized the effectiveness of social media as an emergency communications channel during Hurricane Sandy, which battered the community of nearly 6,000 residents in October 2012. According to a new analysis in a new Frost & Sullivan report, ‘Using Social Media in Disaster Planning and Response’, the effective engagement of social media during the hurricane generated nearly $750,000 in donations and supplies for the community.
During Hurricane Sandy, social media filled the gaps when residents could not get through on other channels and allowed residents to engage with officials. Belmar, in particular, utilizes social media to warn and inform residents about both smaller and larger disruptive events such as, such as ice and snow storms, thunderstorms and downed power lines.