FEMA IS 042 Social Media in Emergency Management


The study guide for IS 42 Social Media in Emergency Management. Within you will find course notes and FEMA IS 42 answers at the end of the document. The final exam is composed of 28 questions and will test your knowledge on social media and it’s impact on broadcasting and emergency communication to the public.

Course Overview

Social media is a new technology that not only allows for another channel of broadcasting messages to the public, but also allows for two way communication between emergency managers and major stakeholder groups. Increasingly the public is turning to social media technologies to obtain up to date information during emergencies and to share data about the disaster in the form of geo data, text, pictures, video, or a combination of these media. Social media also can allow for greater situational awareness for emergency responders. While social media allows for many opportunities to engage in an effective conversation with stakeholders, it also holds many challenges for emergency managers.

The purpose of this course is to provide the participants with best practices including tools, techniques and a basic roadmap to build capabilities in the use of social media technologies in their own emergency management organizations (State, local, Tribal) in order to further their emergency response missions.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain why social media is important for emergency management
  • Describe the major functions and features of common social media sites currently used in emergency management
  • Describe the opportunities and challenges of using social media applications during the 5 phases of emergency management
  • Describe better practices for using social media applications during the 5 phases of emergency management
  • Describe the process for building the capabilities and to sustain the use of social media in an emergency management organization (State, local, tribal, territorial)

Primary Audience

The audience for this course consists of:

State, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers and emergency management staff, including Public Information Officers.
All FEMA personnel including:

Disaster Assistance Employees, Cadre of Reserve Employees, Local Hires and Permanent Full-Time Employees at temporary field facilities such as Joint Field Offices, Area Field Offices, Disaster Recovery Centers, Long-Term Recovery Centers, National Processing Service Centers


While it is not required, it is preferred that participants be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to access accounts and profiles using the three major social media applications (Facebook, Twitter & YouTube).
  • Demonstrate the ability to send messages through Facebook & Twitter

From IS-42: Social Media in Emergency Management

Example Questions

What is the most important change the internet and social media has brought to sharing information?
A. Average citizens are given a voice and can interact with others about information given or received
B. Not much has changed
C. Press releases are more important than they were with Old Media
D. The internet is available 24/7

You notice that an association of nursing homes in your county has an active Twitter account. Your association has been having trouble getting them involved in emergency preparation drills, so you decide to monitor their accounts, to follow their tweets and participate in the conversation when appropriate. By doing so you are able to:
A. Build community resilience through prevention, mitigation and preparedness efforts by promotion of participation in government
B. Reach a larger group of constituents
C. Communicate more directly and effectively with constituents
D. Save lives through rapid communication

Which of these advantages to social media as a New Media, could also be viewed as a disadvantage?
A. Anyone with access and minimal skills can post and repurpose information gathered
B. Multiple channels and ways of presenting information
C. Information is shared faster by cutting out the middle man
D. Often free to join and use and can be used by billions of people

In order to be more cost effective, it is important when establishing a support structure to:
A. Be creative in using current staff and to cross train on the different platforms used
B. Find employees with social media experience and put them in charge of your program
C. Enlist local graduate students to manage your social media presence
D. Hire enough staff to assure 24-hour coverage to monitor social media

What is a major internal concern that could affect the incorporation of social media into emergency management?
A. How to track, use and protect citizen’s privacy and personal information
B. Security policies and restrictions related to IT systems
C. Staff may not be familiar with the applications
D. All of the above

By allowing a community group to repost your content, and following them in order to support them where you can and to insure your content is represented properly, your organization is able to:
A. Build situational awareness
B. Reach a larger group of constituents
C. Foster transparency and accountability
D. Respond to new, incorrect, or conflicting information

What is the most important external issue when using social media in emergency management?
A. Advertising can limit the reach of social media
B. Nationally, 22 percent of adults do not use or have access to the internet
C. An extended power outage could limit its effectiveness
D. Social media servers are only able to host a small number of users

An RSS feed allows an organization to publish new content on a website, blog or other platform and syndicate this to subscribers. RSS would be useful in establishing a social media presence because it:
A. Automatically signs the user up to follow your Twitter and Facebook posts
B. Makes it easier for people to subscribe to your webpage without having to go and visit it
C. Forces people to visit your website in order to boost your site’s visitor count
D. There is no real benefit because it allows users to get information without having to support your organization’s social media pages

One key benefit that the use of social media gives emergency response organizations during times of disaster is?
A. It can pinpoint the location of disaster victims
B. The ability to connect directly to people in need of assistance
C. It is accessible by a limited number of people who will pass the information along
D. The ability to reach elected officials

What advantages does the Internet offer for sharing news that Old Media does not?
A. Only very reliable sources can post information
B. There are more people who use the internet than there are that listen to AM radio
C. The social media are updated 24 hours a day so news can be shared when it occurs
D. When information is posted, people can comment on it and share it with others

Taking information-gathering tasks, that would normally be done by in house, dedicated staff, and outsourcing to the public is known as:
A. Crowd-sourcing
B. Community-collaboration
C. Public-assistance
D. Volunteer-reinforcement

Which type of Social Media platform is the most like Old Media?
A. Twitter: Fewer characters are allowed per post so information must be precisely worded
B. Blogging: allows for a single author with limited public interaction
C. Facebook: Most postings are carefully researched and unbiased
D. Youtube: the use of video mimics the format of televised news broadcasts

Related Courses

FEMA IS 706 NIMS Intrastate Mutual Aid – An Introduction

FEMA IS 029 Public Information Officer Awareness

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