In September of 2013 the Colorado front range was hit with devastating flooding. On September 12th, 2013 the Jefferson County Type III Incident Management Team (IMT) was activated to support flood response and recovery efforts. Prior to the activation of the IMT, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) maintained communications with the public using a variety of tools to include the JCSO Twitter and Facebook sites along with the JCSO Emergency Blog. After the IMT was activated the JCSO Public Information Officer (PIO) unit was bolstered by additional support from the IMT. By the end of the incident 10 different PIOs from the Sheriff’s Office and/or the IMT played an important role in sharing information with the public.
Sharing information with the Jefferson County communities affected by the flooding presented a unique challenge. By and large the media was covering the greater devastation and fatalities that had occurred farther north in the areas of Boulder, Longmont, Estes Park and other regions. The end result was that the IMT PIO unit essentially used social media tools, in conjunction with innovative tools on the Emergency blog to communicate directly with the public. To assist with this effort the Jefferson County Virtual Operations Support Team (JeffcoVOST) was activated for the first time since its creation.
The IMT activation lasted over a week. During that time the IMT PIO unit posted 116 Blog posts, 155 Facebook posts and 378 Tweets. Facebook and Twitter posts were published using the hashtags #CCCF (Coal Creek Canyon Flood) and #JeffcoFlood.
Below are some basic statistics and links that highlight how social media played a pivotal role in the release of information to the public:
Total Number of Tweets: 378
Total Mentions: 955
Total Retweets: 1936
Total Impressions (@JeffcoSheriffCo Posts): 8,917,780
Rate of Responses to Direct Inquiries: 100% (per ProjectEPIC research)
Total Posts to Hashtag: 4392 by 1476 unique Twitter accounts
Follower Count at End of Incident: 6659
Followers Gained During the Incident: 970
Total Views: 1,880,933
Direct Link: http://goo.gl/maps/o0Yp5
Total Number of Posts: 116
Blog PageViews: 123,417
Facebook Statistics (via Crowdbooster)
Facebook Posts: 155
Facebook Impressions: 1,077,744
Facebook Post Likes: 3610
Facebook Post Shares: 4494
Facebook Comments: 949
Facebook Page Likes: 1766
Facebook Page Likes End of Incident: 4653
Jefferson County Emergency Blog
JCSO Google Map
Hashtag Analysis via Rowfeeder
Mentions of @JeffcoSheriffCo
Jefferson County Sheriff Facebook Page
Journalism Redefined Conference
Shortly after the September 2013 floods the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office PIO unit participated in a ‘Journalism Redefined’ conference, hosted by the University of Denver. During the conference the PIOs discussed how social media has ‘redefined’ journalism and how social media was used specifically during the 2013 floods. You can view the recording of the conference by visiting: http://video.du.edu/video/hashtag-journalism-redefined---session-4. During the presentation a Storify was used to share key highlights and takeaways. You can view the Storify by visiting: http://storify.com/JCSO/jeffcosheriffco-on-jeffcoflood-cccf.