The National Hurricane Survival Initiative released a new survey today that shows both social media and texting are leading the way in terms of how people communicate during national disasters. Not only are social media users using it to communicate back and forth, but it’s also the way they are receiving important information.
The survey revealed that “72% of Americans are members of a social network, such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace and 45% said they would rely on it to communicate with friends and loved ones in the event of a natural disaster; another 24% said they might.”
“Being prepared for any hazard is critical and can save lives,” said Bryan Koon, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “Surviving natural disasters, such as hurricanes, in 2011 means having a disaster supply kit that includes devices such as smart phones as well as knowing how and where to receive updates through social media.”
There is still room for improvement in educating Americans how to best effectively use the new technology to both protect themselves and seek help during a disaster.
The survey also revealed that social media use is more prevalent within the 18 to 34 age range, so emergency managers need to use a variety of strategies to get the word out and reach all age groups.
With forecasters predicting a highly active hurricane season for 2011, we can definitely expect to see social media use for national disaster information on the rise.
Have you ever used social media to either communicate or get important information during a disaster?