Written Statement of Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs: 'Understanding the Power of Social Media as a Communication Tool in the Aftermath of Disasters' [May 5, 2011]   [open pdf - 328KB]

"Good morning Chairman Pryor and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. My name is Craig Fugate, and I am the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is an honor to appear before you today on behalf of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. I am particularly pleased to be here today to discuss the role of social media in disasters and emergencies. Technology grows and changes rapidly. Tools that did not exist even five years ago are now primary modes of communication for millions of individuals. Of course, tools like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others were not created for the purpose of preparing for, responding to, or recovering from emergencies and disasters. However, our success in fulfilling our mission at FEMA is highly dependent upon our ability to communicate with the individuals, families and communities we serve. For that reason, social media is extremely valuable to the work we do, and we are fortunate to have partners in the social media community with us here today who see the value of using these tools to increase public safety. In my testimony today, I would like to discuss why social media is important to the work we do, what social media tools FEMA uses in order to fulfill our mission, and what the future might hold for the nexus between social media and emergency management. We at FEMA greatly appreciate your interest in this important subject."

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