During the flooding this spring, the District of Houston took the plunge and set up the Emergency Operations Centre - Houston BC (facebook.com) Facebook page to help the town get information out quickly about the flooding to its residents.
From May 27 to May 31, 528 people ‘liked’ the page and the social media site quickly became many people’s go-to resource for the latest news, updates, pictures and videos.
Here’s our conversation with information officer Lindsay Carnes (pictured above) about the growth of the Houston Facebook page.
How surprised are you with the up-take on the Emergency Operations Centre - Houston BC Facebook page?
I was a little surprised, especially given the size of the town of Houston, and I wasn’t sure that a large number of people within the area would be on Facebook. But, I thought that there was a potential for it to take off, especially if the information is accurate and there are photos. People love photos.
What’s the main advantage of the Facebook page over traditional information channels?
Creating a Facebook page is ideal because you don’t need to create a large distribution list to email 500 people. You can let people come to you and check out the information and pictures at their leisure.
It is also two-way communication, instead of just sending out a release. So if one person asks a question and it’s answered, other people that see that question on Facebook may not be calling to ask the same question. In the north especially, it's rare for the media to work on evenings and weekends, so this is an excellent way of reaching people outside office hours.
Who’s taking those neat little videos all around the community?
CTV called and wanted to get a few short clips and I figured it would be good to place the videos on Facebook. So I headed out one afternoon and took some of the clips - just a couple blocks away from the desk I was at.
Do you know of any other communities on Facebook for flood season?
Hearing the positive feedback, the Town of Smithers is now setting up a Facebook page.
You can also follow Emergency Management BC on Twitter @EmergencyInfoBC (twitter.com) .