Photograph by Justin Hobson (June 2007).

“Social media is imperative to emergency management because the public uses these communication tools regularly.” – FEMA

After a harsh and lengthy winter for many States, the summer season brings with it the threat of more extreme weather: tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, and floods. Many communities and large organizations are turning to social media as a way to disseminate emergency alerts quickly and to organize volunteer efforts before, during, and after an extreme weather disaster.

With Celly you can quickly and easily create a social network for your community. With no advertising and strict privacy controls, Celly offers a unique low friction and low noise solution for your SMEM needs. Many schools, communities, and emergency response organizations are using Celly for disaster preparedness and response. Here are some ways you can use Celly for your own emergency management:

Emergency Alerts: Celly networks can broadcast one-way alerts to thousands of group members within minutes. Alerts can also be filtered in from Twitter and RSS feeds, along with local news blogs and websites. With our hashlink feature you can customize and link multiple networks  together to build a multi-network architecture that fit the needs of your community.

Group Communication: Use your Celly network for two-way group communication. This provides an easy way for outreach and safety organizers to quickly communicate with people on the ground for real-time feedback. Group chat can be moderated by curators to vet all messages sent or received from members.

Safety Tips and Reminders: Prepare your community ahead of time. Send out info via Celly regarding building and school closures, available shelters, food and water safety, evacuation routes, and emergency procedures. Share files and photos to bolster community know-how in the event of a disaster.

Volunteer Outreach: Volunteer organizations and disaster response teams can use Celly group polling to determine volunteer availability and to create on the fly action teams. Operational staff can communicate with volunteers in the field to receive feedback on what supplies are needed and where trouble spots are.

Benefits of Celly for SMEM

SMS Texting: Per FEMA, “Text messaging… is particularly useful during and after a disaster when phone lines may be congested… text messages require less bandwidth and help reduce the volume of phone calls in an area so that necessary communications are able to continue to be made.” With this in mind, Celly works on any device; be it a simple feature phone with SMS text, a smartphone with the Celly app, or any web-capable device with a browser. We also have email alerts. Thus, group members do not need to be using the same device or software to receive emergency notifications. Members can also choose to receive both SMS texts and app, web, or email notifications for additional coverage.

Quick Onboarding: Celly networks can be created within minutes by sending just one text message, or by signing up in the app or on the Celly website. Celly is opt-in, group members text to join or join via the app or web. This opt-in nature means each member has personally chosen to join the group, which leads to a higher engagement and response rate.

Low Noise: Unlike Twitter, Facebook, or email, Celly does not have any advertising. This means less social media noise. Additionally, studies have shown that SMS text message open rates are much higher than email, due, in part, to the direct reception of an SMS text to your phone rather than an email in a cluttered inbox. For disaster response, being able to quickly and efficiently receive notifications is paramount.


For additional info, see the following:

Create an Alert System with Celly

Celly for Weather Alerts and Disaster Relief

Celly for Search and Rescue

EMERGENCY MGMT 2.0: HOW SOCIALMEDIA & NEW TECH ARE TRANSFORMING PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE & RECOVERY DISASTERS (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

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