Iowa offers social media course for emergency preparedness and response workers

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD) held a course on March 20 to train law enforcement, state and local government representatives and nonprofit workers on social media platforms.

The "Social media for Disaster Response and Recovery" course was conducted in partnership with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii, and took place at the Coralville fire station.

Approximately 20 people attended the course, representing a full spectrum of emergency response workers, managers and planners. They were taught through hands-on experience and began to develop social media strategies and plans during the class.

One student said simply learning how to navigate the platforms was helpful, in addition to learning how to use them during emergency response. Another student said the course was effective in teaching principles of social media.

The course was the second sponsored by the state. The course was previously held after the Homeland Security Conference in October 2013.

The HSEMD was developed in 1965 as the State Civil Defense Agency, and was reorganized after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The department works to prepare organizations and citizens for natural and man-made disasters, such as floods, tornadoes and plane crashes, by maximizing resources to build and expand capabilities.