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EMS Public Relations
by Danielle Cortes DeVito

5 must-have social media tools for EMS

Here are five tools EMS departments can deploy to better manage their social media presence

On July 22, 2014, the U.S. congress passed the Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) act. The act allows the government and private agencies to collaborate and create the best strategies for using social media during emergencies.

Creating a social media plan before, and after, an emergency can be simple when using these five social media tools.

First To See

This is a software that searches, gathers and delivers any social media conversations that an emergency manager requests. For example, if you have reports of a factory gas explosion with employees trapped inside, the software will search any of the words you chose so you can have better situational awareness as the first responders arrive on the scene.

First To See also has an app for the public to send messages and pictures directly to their local emergency officials.


Social media is public record and must be maintained in accordance with federal and state laws. Archive Social captures social media conversations, feeds, digital signatures and locations instantaneously.

Archive Social is a fully automated solution that complies with record keeping requirements. Government agencies also can respond to Freedom of Information Act requests with this tool.

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)

Presidential Executive Order 13407 was created after Hurricane Katrina for federal, state, territorial, tribal and local government organizations to alert the public of an emergency.  IPAWS’ recent updates let agencies connect through social media.

Twitter Alert

A Twitter Alert delivers critical emergency communications during crisis or disasters to the public. Law enforcement, emergency management agencies and municipal governments can send highlighted tweets, text or app notifications.

Social Media in Emergency Management

This is a three-hour Emergency Management Institute course. The course is online and suggested for emergency managers and public information officers.

Social media can be an essential tool for government agencies in the midst of an emergency. But it has to be managed vigorously.

About the author

Danielle Cortes DeVito A.A.S. NREMT-P is a paramedic and has been featured on Access Hollywood, CNN, Fox news during her 20 years experience in emergency Medical services. She was the youngest Emergency Room Tech to work at Cook County Hospital’s ER , one of the busiest ER in the US. Moving on she worked at the Chicago Fire Department awarded the outstanding candidate award and the community commitment award. Danielle had the privilege to be on the Bike and Segway response paramedic team for George W. Bush and the Dalia Lama. Danielle is the national spokesperson for American Heart Association’s “Hands Only” CPR campaign. She is a member of the National Society of Safety Engineers and serves on Illinois and stroke advocacy committees. She is also a Hazmat tech and Lead EMS instructor. Danielle can be reached at
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Janine Eastman Janine Eastman Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:50:10 PM Very interesting article. It will be interesting to see how the general public uses the reporting portion of the First To See app. On another note, the links to both First To See and Archive Social both end up at Archive Social. I don't want to be that picky person, but does First To See have it's own site?
Brian Baldwin Brian Baldwin Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:57:38 PM First to See link is the same as Archive, would like to see the First to See but cant find it by google search. Thanks
Janine Eastman Janine Eastman Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:08:51 PM Found it.
Courtney Hall Courtney Hall Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:50:48 AM Not exactly social media, but ALL emergency responders should dl pulsepoint. It's free and it notifies you of a cardiac arrest in your immediate area (within walking distance). Amazing app!
Paul Fawcett Paul Fawcett Sunday, August 17, 2014 7:04:26 PM it will only notify you if your agency is in the app. I downloaded it and registered and it turns out NO ONE in my area is supported.

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