Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Resources for Waldo Canyon Fire

Official Updates

Local Government Websites:
Douglas County Sheriff's Office News Blog
Woodland Park
Teller County
Teller County Office of Emergency Management
El Paso County 

Most are posting to #WaldoCanyonFire and #Cofire (link goes to live streams via
Some are posting to #WaldoCanyon, #WaldoFire, #ColoradoSprings etc...
@CSTMC (Traffic)

A twitter list with all of these accounts can be found here:!/hunerwadel/waldo-canyon-fire/members (shows what is trending and where)

Phone Numbers to Call: as listed by the Denver Post
For information on Waldo Canyon fire, call El Paso County Sheriff's Office at 719-520-7183/7069. 
For non-emergency enquiries, call 719-955-0742.
Register your landline/cell for reverse 911 evac orders or call 719-785-1900
Red Cross in Colorado Springs is at 719-632-3563

Non-emergency assistance and service referrals: Pikes Peak United Way, (719) 955-0742 (via

Numbers listed in Inciweb:

Waldo Canyon Fire Joint Information Center
Phone: 719-520-7058
Hours: 0700-2200
Waldo Canyon Information Center
Phone: 720-402-7935
Hours: 0700-2200
Waldo Canyon Fire Information Center
Phone: 720-202-4510
Hours: 0700-2200
Waldo Canyon Fire Information Center
Phone: 720-237-9947
Hours: 0700-2200
Waldo Canyon Fire Information Center
Phone: 720-237-3417

Woodland Park Numbers (Listed via Teller County Office of Emergency Management)

Non-Emergency Contact Phone Numbers:
Teller County – 719-687-8812
City of Woodland Park – 719-687-9246

Evacuees Registration:

If you would like to receive a notification regarding the status of your home.

Verified Lodging:

Inciweb Maps
Colorado Division of Emergency Management Google Map
Google Crisis Response
Denver Post via
ESRI Mapping Tool

Red Cross - Pikes Peak Chapter
Care & Share food and non-perishable donations can be made from M-F 7am-6pm @ 2605 Preamble Point - according to @springsgov 6/27/12 at 0800 (coop between Colorado Division of Emergency Management and COVOAD - Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters)
National Donations Management Network

Facebook Support Groups:
Waldo Canyon Fire Assistance Group
Waldo Canyon Fire
Waldo Canyon Fire Prayer Line
Waldo Canyon Wild Fire
Pikes Peak Red Cross
Colorado Wildfire Info Group

Community Website

Social Media Sources:
Craigslist - Volunteers

Local News Agencies:

Tourism Info
If you have another resource to add to the this list please send me a tweet @smem911

Saturday, June 23, 2012

#CoFire & #HashtagConfusion

I am trying to keep a record of various Hashtags that have been and are being used to track Colorado wildfires.  On 6/23/12 a number of new fires broke out across Colorado and with them came a large variety of tags.  I will try to record those tags that I am aware of.  If I missed any please let me know!

Here is a Screencast showing how I have the hashtags organized via

Hashtag Summary:
#CoFire - The Default and Catch All
Just saw another catch all - #Coloradoonfire  - will watch to see if it takes flight...


Jefferson County

Larimer County

Currently Active:

Fort Collins
#HighParkFire - #HighPark, also #NoCo (Northern Colorado), FoCo (Fort Collins)
#HighParkFire being used by official agencies

Estes Park
Woodland Heights Fire vs. Estes Park Fire
#WoodlandHeightsFire - Hashtag of Choice for @LarimerSheriff
Also: #EstesParkFire

On 6/23/12 at 4:27 PM @9news tweeted the following:
is named Woodland Heights Fire via/... using hashtag

Lake George, West of Woodland Park

NW of Pogasa Springs Co
#LittleSandFire - #LittleSand -

West of Colorado Springs
Waldo Canyon Fire vs. Pyramid Mountain Fire
#WaldoCanyonFire (Hashtag of Choice for @EPCSheriff - El Paso County Sheriff and @PSICC_NF -USFS Pike and San Isabel)
#PyramidMtnFire (was being used by @CSFDPIO Colorado Springs Fire Department - looks like they may have switched to #WaldoCanyonFire)

This tweet from @Coemergency helps explain a possible source of the confusion:
"Two different fires in CO Springs area: started last night and NEW today Waldo Canyon Fire"
Also tweet from @PSICC_NF:
This fire is erroneously being referred to as the “Pyramid Fire” but the official name is Waldo Canyon."
Tags that are also in use: #WaldoCanyon - #WaldoFire

North of Leadville, Co

SW Colorado
#StateLineFire - #StateLine

Sunday, June 17, 2012

With Great Tweeting Comes Great Responsibility

As I reflect on the various #SMEM developments from the past week I am somewhat appalled at how much negative attention was showered upon the Larimer County Sheriff's Office (@LarimerSheriff).  The criticism began after the Sheriff dared to ask the media to refrain from immediately publishing video or photos of homes damaged by the High Park Fire (#HighParkFire, #Cofire).  Depending on whose account you read it seemed as if the First Amendment itself had gone up in smoke!

The Denver Post shed light on the issue when they published an article commenting on the Sheriff's request and subsequent media response. The article summed up the issue stating:
"At times the journalistic imperative to deliver news clashed with authorities' efforts to control the flow of information  
On Monday, the Larimer County Sherriff's Office issued a request to the media not to show photos of destroyed homes out of respect to homeowners.
Station managers acknowledged the sensitivity of the issue, but turned aside the plea on journalistic grounds."

In the #SMEM world this relatively tame article was quickly drowned out by very loud voices which looked to condemn the Sheriff for issuing his request.  Blogger Dave Statter (@STATter911 wrote a flippant article which, in extreme sarcastic flare, outlined his view of the perceived government clamp down. You can read his article here: 

Those ghouls are at it again: TV stations turn down Colorado Sheriff's request not to show burned or burning homes.
This was followed up by an article from Emergency Management Magazine (@EmergencyMgtMag) entitled: Should Law Enforcement Determine What News Media Can Show or Not Show.  The article, written by Gerald Baron, did at least consider that the Sheriff's motives were not entirely maniacal:

"What is the most surprising is that the Larimer County Sheriff's office would make that request. Maybe they did it for political reasons, showing their sensitivity, while realizing that what they were asking was out of line and totally unrealistic."
But that was as forgiving as it got.  Baron concluded the article stating:

"But, maybe not. I suspect that this sad story is one more example of how some authorities are simply not understanding the world in which they now live, a world that has changed dramatically over the past few years. Larimer County Sheriff: Wake up, you are living in the Internet age."
Seriously? Do we have to jump to such harsh conclusions?  The Larimer Sheriff, though not perfect, is well aware of the Internet age.  They have a Twitter account (@LarimerSheriff) which has been pushing out constant updates (they are even mastering the art of the hashtag!) Their counterpart, @LarimerCounty, is likewise participating in the Internet information outreach campaign via Twitter and via their website.  Both entities also have corresponding Facebook accounts that are also involved in the effort.
Clearly the Larimer County Sheriff's Office is aware that we are living in an Internet age.  If nothing else the following tweets illustrate this:

The fact that @LarimerSheriff responded to this issue via a Twitter conversation with @CalFireNews is a clear example showing that the Sheriff's Office's has a strong understanding of the Internet age.

Now let's take a close look at the Sheriff's message:
"The Sheriff's Office asked that press not show burned homes of people who had not been notified yet. Not controlling the press."
Can we in the #SMEM community calm down and simply take the Sheriff's request at face value? The Sheriff by no means squashed the 1st Amendment.  He simply asked the media to give him some time to deliver horrible news to affected families.

Is it too much to ask that everyone exercise some basic civility and responsibility even while freely exercising their First Amendment rights?  Ours certainly is a brave new world where information flows freely and swiftly but that by no means must lead to a world where basic manners and rules are antiquated or defunct.

I have begun to use the phrase, "With Great Tweeting, Comes Great Responsibility".  Let's face it, when we, the public, or the media press "send" our messages, pictures, and videos are immediately broadcast to the world.  This is a great and powerful tool which must be taken advantage of by the all entities to include the government, media and public.  Yet this same fact of immediate broadcast capability does not diminish our responsibility to ensure that the message is accurate and appropriately delivered.  On the contrary, our new found power only increases our responsibility.

When I consider the Larimer County Sheriff's request I see a reasonable request that simply attempts to allow the managing agency to make important notifications before a family's pain and suffering slaps them in the face via live television or live tweet.

To close, I am must share that I am disappointed in some members of our #SMEM community.  I expect more from us.  I expect that we would embrace my new favorite maxim, "With Great Tweeting Comes Great Responsibility".  Let's encourage everyone to go forth and exercise their First Amendment rights, but let's also ask them to do so wisely and with great care. 

Just because we can inform the world by hitting "send" does not mean we always should!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How I am Monitoring #HighParkFire

Now updated with a screencast!

I was asked to share with folks how I am monitoring the High Park Fire...

To illustrate here is a picture from my hootsuite screen:

Here is a video I created that shows briefly and swiftly how I use various tools to monitor social media information. This is the first screencast I have ever created so it is choppy and has no sound...but hey, i am learning! Better material still to come!

#HighParkFire Maps

Quickly Putting Together this Post: Compiling the various maps from the High Park Fire in Colorado...

Be advised that the majority of these are "unofficial" so take it all with a grain of salt.  I am posting here not as emergency notification material but rather as a learning tool for the Social Media and Emergency (SMEM)) Managers community.

Please Let me know if you have other maps.  I am gathering this information to research the awesome potential of Social Media.  Thanks!


Official #HighParkFire map via @larimercounty

Official Map as provided by Inciweb

Inciweb also has additional picture maps available here:

"Unofficial Maps"
Been playing around with this map...absolutely fascinating... #HighParkFire #Cofire #SMEM #GIS #VOST #HighParkFireMap

Another map (unofficial) uses same info as above map, with different viewing options: 

Another great map created using data from all over the social media/official source world: 

Some additional #HighParkFire maps: Be sure to check the date and time stamps for current accuracy: #cofire #smem

Simulation of fire growth via @simtable

Tweek the Tweet and Project Epic:

Tweet from @kate30_dev
If you're interesting in importing TtT tweet data from #highparkfire - the best data is here:

Tweet from @Org9

Fire perimeter map from @9news seen monday morning #HighParkFire #COFIRE #SMEM ....would help if it was date/time stamped

Map From Denver Post:

Not a map but neat satilite photos from nasa:

Additional Satellite photos from
High Park fire evolution

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun...

Nothing is new under the sun...but a whole lot is changing!

I just read through a chapter of W. Timothy Coomb's book: Ongoing Crisis Communication, Planning, Managing and Responding (2012 Sage Publications). In chapter 2, titled: Effects of the Online World on Crisis Communication, Comb argues that social media has not revolutionized crisis communication but has merely been an evolution of the same.

Coombs writes:
"We should remember that people did essentially the same communication tasks prior to the Internet.  However, it took more time, effort and resources to accomplish them." Page 19
We in the SMEM community are quick to share the newest trick and quickest way to post our information but have we really revolutionized the crisis communication world?  I think that Coombs may be more correct then we would like to recognize.  Coombs continues his theory stating:
"Crisis managers still face the same needs to identify warning signs, confront the same basic communication demands, utilize the same concepts, and must enact effective strategic responses [...] Crisis managers are faced with demands to create a quick and accurate [...] Crisis management plans (CMPs) and crisis teams still compose the heart of the crisis management effort [...] Crisis managers must weight key crisis factors and devise an appropriate and effective crisis response" Page 19-20
None of these concepts are nothing has changed right? Not so fast...of course things have changed!  Coombs recognizes this and continues:
"What has changed is how the information is collected, and in some cases, how that information is processed [...] what has changed is what constitutes "quick" and how that initial response is delivered [...] what has changed is how CMPs are stored and accessed and how team members interact with one another [...] what has changed are the ways of identifying critical crisis communication and how their messages are delivered." Page 19-20
So a lot has changed! Today's communication tools and tactics have dramatically changed even as our overarching goals and tasks remain the same.  Coombs concludes the chapter stating that:
"The Internet, especially social media, is helping crisis managers execute existing communication-related tasks rather than creating the need for entirely new ones.  But crisis managers would be engaging in malpractice if they did not integrate social media into their activities." Page 29
Nothing is new under the sun.  Crisis communication has existed from the dawn of society. Their are proven plans, goals, and purposes that must be remembered.   Yet at the same time their are new and improved communication tools and tactics that must be embraced.  This leads to the spinning conclusion that nothing is new under the sun but a certainly a whole lot is changing!

This is a paradox that the modern emergency manager must recognize and embrace.  The old and the new must mix to create a communications strategy that fully integrates the proven goals of the past with the ever evolving tools and tactics of the present.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

SMEM & the Social Media Relationship Shortfall

I recently came across an intriguing article titled: Is Social Media Sabotaging Real Communication? The article can be found at Forbes and is written by Susan Tardanico. Thank you to @DODASSMC for forwarding on the article.

The main gist of the article hinges on the following statement:
 "As human beings, our only real method of connection is through authentic communication. Studies show that only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word. A whopping 93% is based on nonverbal body language."
These statistics leads Tardanico to conclude that:
"With all the powerful social technologies at our fingertips, we are more connected – and potentially more disconnected – than ever before.
"Every relevant metric shows that we are interacting at breakneck speed and frequency through social media. But are we really communicating? With 93% of our communication context stripped away, we are now attempting to forge relationships and make decisions based on phrases. Abbreviations. Snippets. Emoticons. Which may or may not be accurate representations of the truth."
What jumped from the screen as I read Tardanico's words was the phrase "forge relationships". 

No matter how hard you try to spin all of the great Social Media advances nothing will ever replace the all important handshake and accepting smile. Social Media will always fall short when it comes to the real human need for relationships.  Real, personal human contact is the only tool that can seal the deal.

Social Media is a great tool, but at the end of the day that is all that it is: a tool.  We certainly can use the tool to help help create relationships but we cannot use the tool alone to forge lasting and meaningful relationships.

So what is the point?  Why should the SMEM community care?  After all, the SMEM community isn't about relationships, its about objective data and information sharing.  The SMEM community is about getting out cold hard facts; it's about finding ways to get information out quickly and accurately.  The SMEM community is thus not about forging traditional human relationships.  Or perhaps I should say that the SMEM community does not require traditional relationships in order to function.

On some levels I think these statements are entirely true.  On other levels, however the statements are completely false.  Certainly we are about getting cold hard data out to the public in an efficient and timely manner.  We don't need to shake everyone's hand to get this done (nor do we want to).  Yet, take a second and stop to think about why you want to get that important factoid out to the public. 

Odds are you are a member of the SMEM community because deep down inside you care about people.  You want your message to reach the ends of the earth because you want to save that one person who needs to hear it the most.  You may not be seeking to forge a relationship with that lost soul but on some level you do care about him.

If it follows that the SMEM community does in fact care for the human man then it should also follow that our response must consider his human needs.  A significant part of that human need rests in his relationships.  If these statements hold true then we can conclude that the SMEM community really does care about human relationships.   We can even go so far as to say that the human relationship is a foundational supporting block for the entire SMEM community.

With this foundation in mind, the SMEM community must acknowledge that we cannot solely rely on Social Media to reach the needs of the souls we are trying to save.  We cannot simply disseminate raw data  without simultaneously reaching out to those directly affected with a real, live and human response.

The final conclusion, thus, is that the SMEM community cannot isolate its efforts within the social media realm alone. The community must realize that the powerful tool of Social Media is just one tool available to the Emergency Manager.  The wise Emergency Manager will certainly use the Social Media tool but she will only use it as part of a wholly integrated strategy that considers the very real relational needs of her impacted community.

Remember, only 7% of human communication takes place in written or verbal form.  This means that 93% of our intended message might be missed if all we do is blindly tweet out 140 characters from behind a cold computer screen. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

SMEMCHAT Archive for 6/1/12 via @EmrgncyTraffic

@EmrgncyTraffic: Today's #SMEMchat archive: Wishing everyone a most pleasant weekend & let's be careful out there! #SMEM

Original Tweet:

Sent via TweetDeck (