Local Government Communicators Use Online Tools to Provide Irene Updates

After a weekend that saw the Eastern U.S. get hammered by Hurricane Irene, a number of government entities have stepped up their communications in order to reach the public. The advent of smart phones has made it possible for many people to use their phones to continue to get information during disasters, making online updates more important than ever. The National Hurricane Center and Ready.gov have done a great job of disseminating information at the national level. A couple of good local government communications examples in Virginia that caught my eye: the websites for City of Alexandria and Arlington, respectively. The Alexandria site has brief updates front and center on a variety of topics related to both the hurricane and last week’s earthquake. This info is supplemental in more real-time fashion by the city’s Twitter page. Arlington’s Newsroom page has been updated frequently with brief but essential bits of info. Arlington is also using social media to help in real time, answering questions about a variety of hurricane-related subjects on its Facebook page. The Facebook page includes a link to a YouTube video detailing damages as well as a slideshow from the county’s Flickr page.

Have you seen some great communications examples from the hurricane? If so, please share them!

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Susan Bishel

Thanks for sharing these examples! Though my city (thankfully!) was not affected by Irene, we have been looking for a way to present emergency weather information to our residents, and it’s very helpful to see some good examples of what others are doing.