Many people were busy serving their neighbors during the passage of Hurricane/Frankenstorm/Superstorm Sandy the past week. Governor Markell, himself a busy, busy man during the storm, dedicated his weekly message this week to thanking Delawareans for pulling together and helping each other to get through the storm.
The folks at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) haven’t yet totaled up the numbers (they are still helping people recover), but reports in local media give a sense of the magnitude of the response. Local NPR station WDDE reports that the DEMA storm hotline responded to over 6,800 calls over a 3-day period. The state’s seven shelters gave refuge to 883 evacuees during the storm.
Here at GIC, we’ve been looking at the logs and we saw a 10-fold increase in hits on the delaware.gov portal during the storm. The delaware.gov facebook page saw a 13-fold increase in what facebook calls “total reach.”
Governor Markell and the emergency managers at the state and local levels all made a conscious decision to take full advantage of social media for communication with the public during the storm. As we found after Hurricane Irene, last year, the public seems to have responded favorably.
So, what was the posting on the delaware.gov facebook page that showed the most “reach?” It was a simple listing of emergency contact numbers at the state and local emergency operations centers.