For Immediate Release - June 27, 2013

MEMA REACHES 25,000 TWITTER FOLLOWERS

Social Media Just One of Many Ways to Inform the Public during Emergencies

FRAMINGHAM, MA – Within the last week, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reached 25,000 followers on its Twitter account (@MassEMA) and has nearly 15,000 ‘likes’ on its Facebook account. MEMA began using social media in early 2010 after the Haiti earthquake to provide more extensive information and resources to residents whose friends and family were impacted by the earthquake. MEMA’s Twitter account has grown steadily since its launch and is now believed to have the largest number of followers of any state emergency management agency.

“The recent disasters that we have experienced in the Commonwealth, from hurricanes and blizzards to the Boston Marathon bombings, have reinforced the need to provide more types of information to citizens during an emergency. Our social media accounts have seen significant growth over the last year and are one of many ways for the public to get information during an emergency,” stated MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Multiple communications methods are needed during emergencies to reach as many people as possible. Everyone gets their information differently, so we try to use as many methods as possible,”

In addition to MEMA’s Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube accounts, MEMA has a free ping4alerts! smartphone app, provides information on the MEMA website during emergencies, utilize FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, has partnered with the private sector to display messages on electronic billboards and continues to push information to traditional TV, radio, and print media. In addition, citizens are reminded of the Commonwealth’s information hotline, Mass 2-1-1, which provides information during an emergency.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Also, continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA. Download the free ping4alert! app to your Smartphone to receive important weather alerts and emergency messages from MEMA.  Easy instructions are available at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileappp.