12 Days of SMEM: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

(Getting away from public health today; sue me.)

About six months ago, I had the unique pleasure of being invited to
participate in the 2011 NEMA Mid-year Conference’s Social Media in
Emergency Management workshop. I was a last minute addition and
struggled to find passage down to Washington. (Big shout out to my
good friend, James Hamilton, for
the ride.)

The morning was just starting when we walked in the door, and looking
around the room it was like a Who’s Who of Social Media in Emergency
Management. So many of my heroes in one place. Heather
. Pascal
. Sara Estes
. Jeff
. Greg
. Joel
. Dawn
. Christine
. A dozen, two dozen,
others that made that day the amazing success it was. (If you haven’t
already, read the

But the best part of that day is that the momentum hasn’t stopped. If
anything, it’s sped up. We’re all now barrelling toward the future,
steered by some of the greatest minds in emergency management. Like
Kim Stephens. And Patrice
. My compadres.

Earlier this fall, the three of us got together and came up with this
little project. Let’s do something similar to the 30 Days, 30 Ways
that was so successful this
past September. But it’ll all be inside baseball, written for
emergency managers about best practices, true rockstars and where the
field is going. We each chose our own, and our own format (I’m no
machine like Patrice is. 25 days of this would’ve killed me, I’m

And wow. What an amazing set of lists. Frankly, I expected more
overlap between our lists, but there is just so much good stuff out
there. Next year we’re going to have to set some kind of bar for
inclusion on these lists. (Klout score, maybe? =P)

And with that, onto the good stuff.

Kim Stephens is a contractor that has advised emergency managers,
cities, counties, states and agencies on the East Coast. She
brought the exceptionally well-done and always popular SMEMChat to its
current weekly schedule. An expert in social media use in higher
education, she’s helping to make sure all of those kids that will take
our jobs and do them better than we ever could imagine are safe. A
devoted wife and mother, she also takes amazing care of me and Patrice
and is always ready with a helpful and thoughtful comment. And in her
ten free minutes per day, Kim writes the exceedingly excellent
iDisaster 2.0 blog. This must-read
blog scans the entire world for examples of best practices, lessons
learned and interesting initiatives that deserve a further look. Her
posts on the Queensland

this year brought to the attention of the SMEM community what was a
truly world-changing social media campaign and deserves to be read.

I think of Kim in two ways. One, she is a true thought-leader and is
leading the emergency management community into a future in which
we’re all safer and more ready. Two, she’s a dear friend. I don’t know
which is more important to me.

And then there’s our neighbor from the Great White North. Patrice
Cloutier is the Team Lead of the Strategic Communications Unit at the
Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Patrice’s specialty is emergency and crisis communication, but he
started on the other side of the camera as a reporter for the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation. So, when he tells you how to react and
interact with a reporter, he speaks from experience. As someone else
that writes about emergency public information, I’d be lying if I
didn’t tell you I regularly check the archives of his Crisis Comms
Command Post
blog to make sure
Patrice hasn’t already covered a topic better than I can. To continue
his list of ongoing projects would consume the entirety of this post,
yet I’m loathe to ignore any of them because they’re just so damn
good. From his work on the Emergency 2.0
, to his
work with PTSC-Online
(which I honestly want to steal as an idea), Patrice never stops. His
most underrated work, though, might just be his daily digest,
Patrice’s Picks. As Patrice
scours the web he saves everything that’s interesting or useful or a
best practice or a lesson learned. There is literally no reason to
read the newspaper after going through the daily picks. A devoted
father and husband, Patrice still finds time to take his kids to
football (soccer, dammit) and watch more hockey than I’m sure is good
for you. There are few people I would travel to another country just
to buy a drink. Patrice is one of them, and very well might be the
only one. He’s one of my best friends, digital or meatspace.

Thank you both for an amazing year, and for giving the rest of us
something to shoot for.