"This action research project was undertaken to enable the Hermosa Beach Fire Department to draft a social media policy and establish social media accounts for use as a tool to improve community risk reduction in the city. The purpose was to identify how best to utilize social media for community risk reduction and other efforts while protecting the city from legal liability. The problem for the Hermosa Beach Fire Department (HBFD) was that it did not have a social media policy in place that would allow it to establish a social media presence for community risk reduction or any other public outreach efforts and needed to address a concern that staffing limitations would prevent it from fully developing, using and maintaining social media for these purposes. In order to develop a draft social media policy and ascertain the department's ability to utilize the social media tool, four questions required answering: 1. What best practices are being used by other public agencies in reaching their citizens that have helped increase community risk reduction? 2. How can the HBFD develop its social media sites and maintain community interest in those sites? 3. What legal considerations must be addressed in a department policy that would protect the city? 4. How can the HBFD team up with other community risk reduction-related local organizations, such as Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Watch (HBNW) and Hermosa Beach Disaster Service Workers (HBDSW)?"
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/