We are excited to share that Illinois State University has made great strides regarding emergency preparedness over the last year. With the addition of the state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the formation of the Social Media Analysis and Response Team (SMART), the University is committed to developing social media as a tool for emergency response and recovery.
The new EOC serves as the University’s coordination center for planned incidents and emergency incidents. Its core characteristics include a 12-TV video wall with 21 digital inputs, a 2-position radio communications room, dedicated positions for 16 incident management team members, a social media analyst, and a GIS technician.
SMART is part of the larger Campus Communication Group, which is charged with communicating to the campus community and beyond during an emergency. The Campus Communication Group communicates via multiple communication channels, including the University’s homepage, text messaging, classroom technology, digital signage, and social media during a crisis situation. As is evident in nearly any crisis situation (i.e., natural disaster, weather event, public relations crisis, public health concern) social media is an integral part of a successful crisis communication plan. In an effort to more fully develop our plan, we are developing a partnership with Illinois State’s School of Communication as the school has launched a social media command center just in time for the beginning of the fall 2014 term. The center will serve as a meeting location for SMART as well as a learning lab for members of the team. School of Communication faculty and staff serve as members of SMART and continue to lend their expertise in regard to social media monitoring and analysis technology.
Illinois State is on the cutting-edge of emergency preparedness with the implementation of the Emergency Operations Center and SMART. As social media constantly evolves, SMART is not just charged with monitoring and analysis, but also with staying on top of trends, technology, and strategies as they relate to social media as a tool for emergency response. As the SMART team continues to develop, it is expected that the relationship between this team and the EOC will become even more critical to the success of the University’s emergency response plan.
We look forward to sharing more about Illinois State’s use of social media as an integral part of our emergency response and recovery plan. We hope that the lessons we have learned through our development process will assist you with creating and implementing a plan within your organization that is rooted in collaboration, innovation and communication.