#SMEAAR alert

#SMEAAR - SOCIAL MEDIA EMERGENCY ALERT AND RESPONSE

Monday, April 20, 2015 Michael WHITE

In the aftermath of the tornado that tore through parts of Illinois, there are hundreds of people who have lost everything. There were losses of life, losses of homes, and losses of mementos. Families were uprooted from their communities not by a plant closing down, not because of high crime but at the hands of ferocious weather system that truly flexed its muscle.

Courtesy of WGN TV


The television coverage was twister-eque, only really missing Phillip Seymour-Hoffman’s crazy anecdotes and loud music. The storm chasers seemed to be in Defcom 5 all day. A sure credit to our national weather centers, meteorologists and these storm chasing boots on the ground, there was warning.
The science behind these weather anomalies is ever evolving. The creation of social media has spawned more eyes to the sky to reach those who eyes might not be looking that way. Television warnings and radio warnings are now aided by the power of approaching weather system photos sweeping across social media.
While Fairdale and Rochelle were being rocked by 200 mph winds an even stronger storm was building outside of the tornado's path. 
A storm of resolve, compassion and community began lighting up the social media circles. Local fire departments, churches, businesses, and down-right good willed people immediately began using social media to power the beginnings of recovery. Donation locations began to be coordinated before the sun even rose the next morning.
Friday morning as daylight ensued, the devastation and loss really became apparent. Fairdale was unrecognizable with each building and home taking extensive damage.



While the morning news anchors brought us live reports from the ground and in the air, the power of good will and community was unfolding on the smartphones in our very own hands. Donation centers began to operate with most reaching their capacity very quickly.
There has been no shortage of help. Help will be needed in many different ways, but the initial influx of necessities thanks to social media good heartedness, has given community members, volunteers and respective governments the time to construct the blueprint for returning life to normal.

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Normal will still be a long way out, but community webpages, blogs and social media posts have helped a number of families reunite with their lost pets. Each day for the past week dogs and cats have turned up in peoples post and updates. These pictures get shared and shared until their owners are found.
There was warning. There was devastation. There is help, and without the catalyst of social media, that help, wouldn’t be what it has been.

#SMEAAR

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