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Ontario 211 and the Goderich Tornado

The role of 211 and social media

Kelly Bergeron

on 7 December 2012

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Transcript of Ontario 211 and the Goderich Tornado

Ontario 211
and the
Goderich Tornado Using 211 to Answer the Call The Tornado About 211 A Social Media Case Study Conclusion It's clear that people are getting their up-to-date information via various social media networks such as Twitter & Facebook.
It's crucial to be present to direct people's inquiries, to provide rumour control, and ensure information is getting out in a timely fashion.
211 can be used to coordinate post-disaster resources such as volunteers and donations over the phone, through email, through the website/database and also through social media channels When: Sunday August 21st, 2011 @ 4pm
Where: Goderich, Ontario (Huron County)

Tornado winds were up to 320kms/hour. One person was killed, 37 injured and caused catastrophic damage throughout Goderich (population: 8000).

A State of Emergency was declared and the area was locked down to the public. 211 Central East Region answered 1,278 Goderich calls
responded to 68 email inquiries (disaster-related)
first 2 weeks were busiest The Reaction When: Early Monday Morning
Where: Ontario 211 / 211 Central East Region

Tweet received to @211Ontario from United Way of Grey Bruce Executive Director about the tornado was first news we received about it. Didn't see tweet until 7am on the Monday. Offers for volunteers and donations began pouring into the community.

Huron County contacted 211 Central East asking for assistance in answering calls.

Media release from Huron Country prepared and advised residents to call 2-1-1 to identify their crucial needs, or to coordinate donations. By day 2, those who wanted to volunteer were advised to call 2-1-1. 211 is a 3 digit phone number that helps people find services in their community
FREE, confidential, answered live, 24/7, TTY accessible, over 150 languages
100% of Ontario has access
7 call centres across Ontario
211 in the U.S. is often called upon to support disaster recovery needs 33% of calls came from Town of Goderich
67% of calls came from outside of Goderich The 211 Services Database database is foundational to 211 info & referrals
ensures most recent program & service info at fingertips
for Goderich, key info included services, locations, hours of operation, etc...
updated multiple times daily and available to the public through infohuroncounty.ca How Volunteers and Donations were managed used Google Docs spreadsheet for collaboration
hundreds of individuals and families signed up to volunteer
Municipalities and head offices of large corporations offered to help with cash and trailers full of supplies The Role of Social Media 12 hours after disaster hit a Facebook community was set up called: "Goderich Tornado Victims & Support"
Over 7,000 followers signed up
Our strategy was to work with admins of this page to get 211 message out, since many were inquiring about donations and volunteering
the Executive Director of United Way of Bruce Grey volunteered to become the admin getting the 211 message out, she was local to the disaster site
Ontario 211 monitored the page almost around the clock, answering questions, directing people to call 2-1-1
Utilized our own Facebook and Twitter pages to get out high-level messaging (www.facebook.com/211ontario and @211ontario) Coordinating Messaging Huron County staff updated 211 Central East who then coordinated key messages with Ontario 211 and the Goderich Facebook page admins

The first 2 weeks were crucial to message coordination as the various teams were coordinating roles of agencies

Rumour control and miscommunication was handled through Facebook pages and Twitter posts Facebook Inquiries Example #1: Directing people to call 2-1-1 Facebook Inquiries Example #2: Providing Volunteer Info Facebook Inquiries Example #3: Directing donations Facebook Inquiries Example #4: Call for donations What the statistics tell us about the importance
of social media use during and after a disaster... Other stories and social media highlights A producer from the Marilyn Denis show saw our blog post and contacted us to organize a yard makeover for one lucky Goderich family. Margaret Atwood (www.twitter.com/margaretatwood) retweeted from the United Way of Perth-Huron Twitter account to her more than 250,000 followers: “#GoderichTornado 211 is now calling volunteers. If you want to be added to the list dial 2-1-1. To donate call United Way at 519-271-7730.” A special thanks to: Pam Hillier: Executive Director - 211 Central East Region
Francesca Dobbyn: United Way of Bruce Grey
Destiny Bedwell: Ontario 211
Jeff Kouwenberg: Atomic North
Susan McDonald: Community Reach North Simcoe More Twitter samples... What our web statistics showed... up to 6 weeks after the disaster, the "goderich" keyword garnered 468 visits to our website/blog
82% of those hits were new visitors
our 3rd most popular page on the website was the blog post about Goderich news with almost 800 views Monitor social media to adjust our responses to better meet local needs.
Engage in dialogue to gauge impact of disasters on those affected
Get factual information out in the public domain
Correct erroneous information “mythbusting”
Co-ordination of other local agencies
Access to local media and decision makers
Provide the community with a place to show support (time, donations, etc)
Provide a place for the community to connect with others and share experiences
Show the community that something is being done. Please visit us at:
or facebook.com/211ontario Going forward, 211's strategy in disaster response will be to:
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