Thursday, May 28, 2015

COVOST Article in FEMA Tech-Hazards Digest

By Micki Trost, CSEPP Public Affairs IPT Co-Chair

Recent disasters have illustrated how social media are used increasingly by both emergency management organizations to communicate public safety information and members of the public to update their status, location, or describe events they are witnessing. Emergency managers now use a VOST to provide situational awareness through social media and online information sites during emergencies.

VOST is a team of trusted agents who lend support via the Internet to those onsite in an emergency. The volume of data generated during a disaster may be overwhelming to has been trained on the VOST.

CSEPP public information officers in Colorado and Kentucky participated in COVOST activation as members for the Colorado 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships and 4/20 events. The training and participation in a non-emergency enabled the CSEPP PIOs to use the specific skills that would be performed during a real emergency. The activation also highlights the importance of maintaining situational awareness during non-disasters affecting our communities.

The CSEPP PA IPT is currently discussing how the VOST concept can be used program wide.

Micki Trost is the Strategic Communications Director for the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. She also serves as the co-chair of the CSEPP PA IPT.

View original article posted in the May-June FEMA Tech-Hazards Digest - Scroll to page 4.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Free Virtual Social Media Training!

Looking for an opportunity to learn and practice basic social media skills? Here is a free training opportunity that you can participate in without ever leaving your work or home!

Social Media Skills & Strategies

Available Virtually March 10, 11 & 12
The training will be live streamed at
The training will be recorded and made available at:

This course will be live-streamed via Ustream, and will be aimed at people who need social media skills to work as a PIO or PAO on incidents, or as a prevention educator, but will be applicable for other uses. This is NOT a class on how to BE a PIO/PAO, nor is it for people who are advanced social media users.

The class will be done in segments, with specific start times, followed by breaks for practice. You can attend only the portions you wish. If you plan on attending any of the sessions please send your email to

The training will be taught by Kris Eriksen (National Incident Management Organization) and Nathan Hunerwadel (Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management).


March 10, 2015      Eastern time        
  1. Set up accounts
    1. Google Products
      1. Naming Conventions
    2. Twitter
    3. Facebook
    4. Others
0800 - 0830
(no practice)

  1. Accounts Overview: Google Products
    1. Gmail
    2. Drive
    3. Google +
    4. Hangouts
    5. Voice
0830 - 0930
(Followed by 45 min practice - 0930-1015)


  1. Accounts Overview: Blogger
1030 - 1115
(Followed by 45 min practice 1115 - 1200)


  1. Accounts Overview: Twitter
(Followed by 30 min practice 1345-1415)

  1. Accounts Overview: Facebook
(Followed by 30 min practice 1445-1515)


  1. Accounts Overview: Others
    1. Picture tools - Instagram, Flickr, Picasa
    2. Pinterest
    3. Tumblr
    4. Reddit
    5. Video Tools
1530 - 1630
(Followed by 30 min practice 1630 -1700)

March 11, 2015                                                                       Eastern time         

  1. General Social Media for Emergency Management Theory
    1. Examples / Infographics
(no practice)

  1. Messaging
    1. One Message
    2. Multiple Platforms
    3. Unique & Specific Posts
    4. Auto-Posting Pros and Cons
(followed by 30 min practice 0930-1000)

1000 - 1015

  1. Monitoring, Engaging and Crowdsourcing
    1. Replying, Liking and Engaging
    2. Crowdsourcing, Curating and Sharing
(followed by 30 min practice 1115-1145)


  1. Archiving and Analytics:
(followed by 30 min practice 1315-1345)

  1. Specific Policies and Procedures
    1. Posting and Commenting Policies
    2. Deleting
    3. Responding & Engaging Negative Users
    4. Specific Example - Barry Point
(followed by 30 min practice 1430-1500)


  1. Mapping
    1. Google Maps
(followed by 30 min practice 1630-1700)

March 12, 2015                                                                                     Eastern time         
  1. Catch up - Question and Answer
0800 - 0830

  1. Live Action
    1. Live Streaming
    2. Live Tweeting & Chats
0830 - 0900
(no practice)

  1. Going Mobile
    1. Public is Mobile
      1. QR - Codes - Kerem Erkan
      2. Mobile friendly websites
    2. PIO is Mobile
0900 - 0930
( Followed by 30 min practice 0930-1000)

1000 - 1015

  1. Internal Communication Tools  
    1. Skype
    2. Lists
    3. Facebook Groups
    4. Private Message
    5. Group.Me
1015 - 1100
(Followed by 30 min practice 1100-1130)

  1. VOST Introduction
1130 - 1200

1200 - 1300

  1. Other Third Party Tools & Other Platforms
1300 -1330
(Followed by 30 min of practice 1330 - 1400)

1400 - 1415

  1. Putting it all together - The Integrated Social Media Strategy
    1. Incident Specific SM Strategies
    2. Prevention SM Exercise

      1. Exercise & report out - by group
1415 - 1430
(Working on strategies 1430- 1600 with breaks as needed)

1600 - 1700

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#RemarkableCO Tasks and Questions

Mtn. Name#RemarkableCO Task
1Mt. ElbertReady to start your journey through #RemarkableCO? Send out a tweet stating that you are starting your adventure. Don't forget to include the hashtag #RemarkableCO.
2Mt. MassiveWelcome to #RemarkableCO! Check out what others are saying about this adventure. Join the conversation! Which fourteener is your favorite? Tweet your answer to #RemarkableCO.
3Mt. HarvardWant to talk about this adventure? Join the #RemarkableCO Skype room and chat away. Let @COVOST know that you are interested in joining the room. Then standby for instructions.
4Blanca PeakWhen you are hiking you always want to have a back up communications plan. Join the Google hangout! Join the #RemarkableCO hangout and chat away. Let @COVOST know that you are interested in joining the hangout. Then standby for instructions.
5La Plata PeakPrefer to text rather than join skype or a hangout? Try Group.Me! Join the #Remarkable room! Let @COVOST know that you are interested in joining the hangout. Then standby for instructions.
6Uncompahgre PeakAre you ready to collaborate on this adventure? Access this google document and share your name and your social media accounts.
7Crestone PeakSocial media is all about two-way communication. Find out what others are saying about our fourteeners. Find three users on social media who love to talk about fourteeners. Share your find on the #RemarkableCO hashtag.
8Mt. LincolnWe love our fourteeners in Colorado. Find three accounts talking about fourteeners. Share your favorite with the #RemarkableCO hashtag.
9Grays PeakDo you prefer Facebook over twitter? Find a facebook group dedicated to fourteeners. Share what you find using #RemarkableCO.
10Mt. AnteroStay on top of the fourteener conversation. Add accounts talking about fourteeners to a twitter list. Share the link to your list.
11Torreys PeakColorado is a beautiful state. Find a video of a remarkable fourteener on YouTube and share what you found using #RemarkableCO.
12Castle PeakAre you on Pinterest? Are there any pinterest boards pages about fourteeners? Find one and link to it using #RemarkableCO.
13Quandary PeakCan you find a Vine video about a fourteener? Share the video with #RemarkableCO.
14Mt. EvansAre there any posts or subreddits on Reddit about fourteeners? Find a Reddit board talking about fourteeners and tweet out a link to it.
15Longs PeakCrowdsource…use the power of the internet to find out the best route up the mountain. Share the link to the #RemarkableCO hashtag
16Mt. WilsonFind a post on Tumblr about fourteeners. Share the link to one post.
*Mt. CameronPrefer to use Google +? Find a photo of this mountain and post it to Google + but don't forget to include the #RemarkableCO hashtag.
17Mt. ShavanoFind a Google+ community on fourteeners. Share the link to the group using hashtag #RemarkableCO.
18Mt. BelfordInstagram it! Find Instagram photos from this mountain and share them using the hashtag #RemarkableCO.
19Crestone NeedleThe @COVOST account asked a question about fourteeners on twitter. Find the tweet and answer the question using #RemarkableCO.
20Mt. PrincetonCheck in! Use facebook or swarm to check in. You may be too far from a mountain to check in at the mountain itself. Try checking in to Colorado in general. Share your check in with #RemarkableCO
21Mt. YaleYou are hiking near this mountain. What official agencies are in this area? Are they on social media? If so what are their accounts? Share what you find on #RemarkableCO
22Mt. BrossWho are the influential people talking about fourteeners? Find out using Klout. Share what you find with #RemarkableCO.
23Kit Carson PeakCheck in! Use facebook or swarm to check in. You may be too far from a mountain to check in at the mountain itself. Try checking in to Colorado in general. Share your check in with #RemarkableCO.
*El Diente PeakSomeone has taken a great photo of this mountain. But are you allowed to use it? Find a creative commons photo of this mountain and share it with #RemarkableCO.
24Maroon PeakSome people might prefer to talk about fourteeners anonymously. Is anyone using Yik Yak near this fourteener? Share what you find with #RemarkableCO.
25Tabeguache PeakOur fourteeners are so amazing they should always be trending! But are they? Share what is trending near Denver with #RemarkableCO.
26Mt. OxfordThe COVOST Twitter account has an urgent message to tell you about this adventure. Send a Direct Message to the @COVOST twitter account to receive the message.
27Mt. SneffelsToday you are going to hike a fourteener but you will be out of cell range. Try using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule your post to #RemarkableCO in advance!
28Mt. DemocratA new fourteener deserves a new tool. Try using a third party twitter application today. Share your favorite tool with #RemarkableCO.
29Capitol PeakCan you take a selfie safely on the side of a fourteener? Take a selfie and share it with #RemarkableCO.
30Pikes PeakDo you know where this mountain is? Find the lat/long coordinates of the mountain and share using #RemarkableCO.
31Snowmass MountainWhat are people saying near this mountain? Use the advanced twitter search tool to locate tweets from near this area. Share one post with #RemarkableCO.
32Mt. EolusWhat kinds of photos are people taking near this mountain? Find Instagram photos near this mountain. Share a photo with #RemarkableCO.
33Windom PeakWhat are the geo coordinates to the nearest city around this mountain? Share the coordinates with #RemarkableCO.
34Challenger PointImages are great. Video is even better. You can now send video from your trip up the mountain directly on twitter. Try it out. Share a brief video with #RemarkableCO
35Mt. ColumbiaPeople love to talk about #RemarkableCO. Find a blog that talks about Colorado fourteeners. Share what you find with #RemarkableCO.
36Missouri MountainColoradans are big fans of our Fourteeners. Find facebook page dedicated to fourteeners. Share what you find with #RemarkableCO.
37Humboldt PeakFourteeners aren't the only thing remarkable in Colorado. Complete a Boolean search for Colorado AND Remarkable. Share your favorite post with #RemarkableCO.
38Mt. Bierstadt"Colorado is..." Finish this sentence. Share your full sentence (140 characters or less) with #RemarkableCO on twitter.
*Conundrum PeakYou have taken the best photo of this mountain. Now you want to share it! What size should the photo be? Find out what the optimal size is for photos on twitter. Share the answer with #RemarkableCO.
39Sunlight PeakYou have taken another great photo. Now you want to share it on Facebook! What size should the photo be? Find out what the optimal size is for photos on facebook Share the answer with #RemarkableCO.
40Handies PeakAre you on LinkedIn? Connect with other #RemarkableCO participants. Share your new connections with #RemarkableCO.
41Culebra PeakAre there any LinkedIn Groups talking about fourteeners? Find out and share what you find with #RemarkableCO.
42Ellingwood PointWho is talking about #RemarkableCO? Use Tweetreach or some other similar service to analyse the #RemarkableCO hashtag. Who is most active on the tag? Share what you find with #RemarkableCO.
43Mt. LindseyPeople are talking alot about #RemarkableCO. When social media traffic becomes overwhelming to monitor a VOST can be activated to help. Find the link to the COVOST activation form and share it with #RemarkableCO.
*North EolusHave you enjoyed your journey during #RemarkableCO? The COVOST needs volunteers like you! Find the application to join the COVOST and share it with #RemarkableCO.
44Little Bear PeakYou have found a tweet from a hiker who is stranded but does not have enough cell service to call anyone. What do you do with it? Share what you would do with #RemarkableCO.
45Mt. ShermanTo climb fourteeners you have to be prepared. Are you #COReady? Search the #COReady tag and retweet your favorite post tagging it also with the #RemarkableCO tag.
46Redcloud PeakSocial media is now part of our #RemarkableCO experience. What tools do you pack in your social media/technology go back? Share your kit with #RemarkableCO.
47Pyramid PeakSocial media rumors told you the wrong way up this mountain. What can you do on social media to correct the rumors? Share your options with #RemarkableCO.
48Wilson PeakIs there an app for #RemarkableCO? Find a fourteener related app and share it with #RemarkableCO.
49Wetterhorn PeakDuring the #RemarkableCO journey your smartphone is a powerful tool. What is your favorite emergency related app? Share your answer with #RemarkableCO.
50San Luis PeakIt is important to stay up to date with the latest information when you are out on the mountain. What apps are available in Colorado that provide updates from official agencies? Share two or three with #RemarkableCO.
*North Maroon PeakThe adventure is coming to an end. Share with #RemarkableCO what you learned on this journey. What was your favorite tool?
51Mt. of the Holy CrossYou have said alot about #RemarkableCO on this adventure. Use to reveiw what you said and download your twitter archive.
52Huron PeakDid you enjoy your adventure? Share your thoughts and how the exercise can be improved with #RemarkableCO.
53Sunshine Peak"Social media is…" Finish the sentence, sharing it with #RemarkableCO.