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Homeland Security wants to be your Facebook friend

By Staff | Feb 12, 2010

Barbara Miller, director of the Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management office, posts updates on the JCHSEM Facebook page. Screen capture by Michael Theis

For the first time ever, emergency coordinators in Jefferson County employed social networking websites to disseminate alerts and to gather information on the damage wreaked by two successive winter storms which passed through the area earlier this week.

In a telephone interview on Monday morning, Jefferson County Emergency Manager Barbara Miller said that the Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management office is “monitoring what people are putting on Facebook, scanning the pictures in the feed to see what road conditions are, to help with the storm.”

Their Facebook group, entitled “Jefferson County WV Homeland Security and Emergency Management”, already has 178 members. Between last Friday and this Wednesday JCHSEM had updated the page six times with information about shelter availability, road conditions and weather alerts.

The JCHSEM Facebook page states that “this group is one tool in our toolbox for getting information out to the public and interested persons about upcoming trainings and activities, public information, response, recovery and mitigation information that our department is responsible for”

JCHSEM is responsible for all phases of emergency management in Jefferson County, W.Va.