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This chapter first outlines the background of social media and mass media in a natural disaster, and demographic variables. The framework for this paper, based on Varda et al.’s (2009) application of social media theory and the 2013 study “Disaster News: Framing and Frame Changing in Coverage of Major U.S. Natural Disasters. Following, the measurements and outcomes of the use of both mass and social media in disaster response are outlined through a literature review. Lastly, providing abrief analysis of research studies, journals, articles and websites of recent evaluations of the use of mass and social media for disaster response.Background of social and mass media in a natural disasterDespite its potential, modern media and social media is not always helpful in crisis management. In Louisiana, Maryland, and California, people took to social media platforms to share their experiences after a natural disaster. This function, in addition to traditional media, creates a culture of collective experience, as “media portrayals of disaster having notions of solidarity and the impetus to help strangers and ameliorate their suffering” (Greenberg & Scanlon, 2016, p. 38). Additionally, social media has created the opportunity for excellent citizen journalism—the individual’s ability to collect, analyze, and disseminate news and information, usually through digital or online platforms. This evolution simultaneously offers the field of emergency management substantial gains and challenges. In the context of disaster response, Social media has play an integral role in response and recovery. Recetnt studies have found that when individuals have access to greater social support, they have higher levels of not only resilence but both physical and mental health following a disaster (Haines et al., 2002). Authors, divide social networks into three categories: personal networks (friends and relatives), support networks (individuals, groups, and communities), and providers (government and non-government support). The Social media theory is flexible, it explores indivulas networks, community, and organizational level (Varda et al., 2009). Traditional forms of communication tends to break down in a crisis situation, making it necessary to create alternative means of communication. Ferguson states, “warning systems that send notifications through television, e-mail, and text messaging, are useful for providing information to the public quickly and effectively” (Ferguson, 2011, p.4). In recent yrars, both mass and social media plays major a role in disaster response as their use became increasingly widespread on an international scale. A study performed by the Pew Research Center found that when civillans have the opportunity to go online, the majority take part in social media (Pew Research Center, 2010a). When first responders and emegency disaster managers became aware of the increasing use of social media by the general public, they began to use social media themselves to reach civillians in emergency situations. Over time experts have developed prevention plans to help people plan ahead for the worst. Technology has helped us learn more about how these catastrophes occur along with providing advanced warning in some cases. Mass media and social media coverage can help communities identify potential threats, advocate for needed changes in the built environment, and inform personal and family disaster readiness. Modern media data mining allows emergency managers to investigate trends to target their preparedness and mitigation efforts better and has advanced damage assessment and mapping tools for better response and recovery (Haddow & Haddow, 2009). Quick searches on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook reveal images of the destruction caused by these disasters. Sites such as Twitter are increasingly utilized to crowdsource information in cases of emergencies, often alerting people to blocked roads, damage updates, and continuing risks. Twitter is often the first to report a new situation, ease information for agencies, and ensure a consistent flow of information to the public. It allows emergency managers to get a second-by-second account of what is happening during a crisis to save lives and property (Mission Manager, 2016). As a result of Twitter’s popularity in previous earthquakes, seismologists are even considering it as a viable tool for earthquake warnings (Mission Manager, 2016). Additionally, devices, such as the safety feature on Facebook, enable people to check in as safe during a natural disaster and are essential for loved ones before the release of traditional media-disseminated information. In this year alone, Facebook has activated this feature dozens of times (Facebook, 2016). Regarding the use of cellular phones in disasters, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have adopted the use of Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA). An SMS text system designed for two-way communication between disaster affected people and aid agencies allows mobile phone users in disaster areas to interact and listen in real time (International Federation of the Red Cross, 2013). These advancements are being implemented in 40 countries worldwide. In the Blue Cut Wildfire, rumors that the evacuation lifted, likely spread through social networks and media, made it to areas that were still in immediate danger (Jacoba, 2016). It is crucial for the PIO to analyze who and where the rumors are coming from and try to discern why someone might spread the story. During the Louisiana Flood recovery, posts attacking The American Red Cross accompanied by pictures of measly, unappetizing box meals went viral. In this case, the investigation into the rumor proved valuable both for addressing issues in the quality of response and for holding response organizations accountable to their duty and responsibility to serve all people adequately and with dignity. Perhaps the most impactful use of citizen reporting through social and other non-traditional media is transformative power through accountability. Raw, real-time data collected and shared with a few clicks may have agencies and officials on their toes, but hopefully, it will lead to higher standards and performance for all players in emergency management, including the media. Accountability in mass media demands more holistic reporting not only regarding the range of disaster experiences but also regarding the emergency management cycle. Demographic of Disaster in Response to MediaIn the United States, disaster response operations involve the coordination of many organizations, partnerships and agencies at the federal, state and local government levels. Understanding the role and responsibilities of each of these actors before, during and after a disaster is critical to providing effective aid and response to those affected.Local and tribal governments along with volunteer agencies are the first responders when dealing with a disaster. Their response includes the activation of the Emergency Operations Center and Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan; organizing response between public and private sectors; informing the State Emergency Management Agency of the current conditions; contacting the necessary state and federal departments; declaring a local state emergency to use the needed resources and funds; and requesting that the State Emergency Management Agency provide state and/or federal aid (Disaster Sequence Events, 2016, p.7). When these local authorities are unable to provide effective response and resources to those affected, state governments are called upon to assist. Their response includes monitoring the situation; assessing local efforts, situation reports, and requests; reaching out to the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) (i.e. to provide financial support to businesses and non-profits in recovery) and/or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); the governor announcing a state of emergency and determining if the conditions are too immense for the state governments to handle (Disaster Sequence Events, 2016, p.8). If this is the case, then the federal government is notified to provide the needed resources and assistance. Then, in coordination with FEMA, the Federal Response Plan is employed. Under this initiation, the federal government response includes hosting Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA’s) between state and local governments, responding to federal assistance requests, creating an Emergency Support Team (EST) that can monitor the event from Washington, D.C., and identifying the needed Emergency Support Functions (ESF) In catastrophic disasters, like the Louisiana Flood and San Bernardino County wildfires, dramatic language is imperative to crisis management. This sentiment has been echoed in the Louisiana flooding and San Bernardino County wildfires. Governor of California, Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency during the evacuation efforts, and National guard troops were also activated to assist in firefighting efforts. Apparently, the fire spread so fast, some citizens reported barely any time between hearing about the fire and being informed of a mandatory evacuation. No deaths were reported due to this fire, although two firefighters were briefly hospitalized after sustaining injuries during evacuation assistance efforts. Both mass and social media also played a role in shaping public perceptions around the natural disasters. Louisiana Floods: August 11-31, 2016An estimated 6.9 trillion gallons of rain fell between August 8-14, 2016, causing almost 9 billion dollars in damage, including damage to approximately 60,000 homes (CNN,2016). This amount of rainfall was enough to fill 10.4 million Olympic pools (CNN,2016). Beginning on August 11, 2016, consistent rainfall resulted in an unprecedented flood in southern parts of Louisiana, which affected many parishes (i.e. Livingston, East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Tangipahoa, Lafayette, St. Helena Parish, East Feliciana and Iberia) (Laborde,2016). On the same day, Governor John Bell Edwards declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Louisiana (Office of the Governor Edwards, 2016, p. 1). In tandem, he said that the state was “in constant contact with local officials and first responders, and assistance was already on the move to affected parishes” (Office of the Governor Edwards, 2016, p. 1). However, due to the damaging effects of the flood, rising water levels, power outages, sewage failures, displaced residents and many being without flood insurance, Gov. Edwards requested a federal state of emergency soon after (Griffin, 2016,p.1).On August 14th, under the Stafford Act, President Barack Obama approved the governor’s request and declared a federal state of emergency for Louisiana (Office of the Press Secretary, 2016). This authorized FEMA Director, Craig Fugate to utilize the agencies’ resources to offer financial and physical assistance in the region . Following this declaration, many federal, state and local employees took trips to Louisiana to assess the damage caused by the flood and further plan coordination efforts. Some of these visitations came from Julian Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Guard and President Barack Obama who spoke to community members and elected officials. Additionally, the SBA offered low interest disaster loans to replace damaged property (SBA, 2016). Surrounding the government’s organizational response efforts, many faith-based groups, voluntary and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Save the Children continue to provide shelter, food, childcare, healthcare, and business recovery to those in need (Hurt, 2016). Following orders from both local and State officials, more than 30,000 people evacuated- many to shelters set up by the American Red Cross (ARC). There were reportedly 13 fatalities due to the flooding, and more than 20,000 people, as well as 1,000 animals rescued (CNN,2016), many of the aforementioned as a result of being trapped in homes, vehicles, or swift moving water. Due to the quick onset of the flooding, many people required rescue. Early in the flooding, Governor Edwards declared a state of emergency in at least 15 parishes across the State, and soon after, on August 14th, President Obama declared the flooding in Louisiana a major disaster (Nola,2016).Water rescues played a large role throughout the flooding in Louisiana, and many (rescues) were made by citizens, citizen groups (such as the “Cajun Navy”), and unofficial organizations; this flooding was a perfect example of neighbors helping neighbors while waiting for “official” help to arrive, and in a devastated environment. The “Cajun Navy”, since it was an unofficial and informal “rescue group”, received both praise from civilians and criticism from institutions (CNN,2016). Due to the large outpouring of citizen assistance in rescue efforts, there has been discussion at the State level to create legislation limiting unofficial rescuers (WWLTV,2016). National Guard personnel were also activated during this time to assist with rescue efforts. The media’s portrayal of the disaster was successful in ensuring the safety of thousands of people in harm’s way. The rapidity of events like earthquakes and flash floods make this function more challenging but essential, especially in drawing attention, funds, and other resources to response and recovery efforts. Despite similar language used to describe the floods that brought over 20 inches of rain across 20 parishes in southern Louisiana, the event did not get the national media attention it warranted. The American Red Cross deemed the 2016 Louisiana Floods as the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy (Berman,2016). Mass media largely overlooked this natural disaster. Several theories intended to explain this lack of media attention. The first theory highlighted coverage that undoubtedly distracted reporters and consumers, like the Olympics and The United States Presidential Election. Media outlets like CNN and The New York Times that usually cover such events in depth received considerable criticism for their lack of coverage. In a letter to The New York Times, a reader wrote: “Baton Rouge and resident’s north and east are in the midst of a disaster, hundreds of people stranded on I-12 since yesterday morning, and just a few hours ago got some water delivered to them . . . Disappointing that Trump’s latest gaffe and the Olympics dominate your front page this morning when so many in south Louisiana are suffering (Scott, 2016 p.2).” Even though national media failed to give a timely and accurate portrayal of the disaster, the popularity and power of social and other nontraditional media brought awareness to the event and ongoing suffering of flood victims.San Bernadino County WildfireAt the onset of the Blue Cut Fires in San Bernardino County, California, local news broadcasts used words like “explosive” and “raging,’ to urge the importance of the need for 80,000+ people to immediately evacuate the area (Greenberg & Scanlon 2016).On August 16th, a small bush fire erupted into a series of wildfires that burned over eighteen thousand acres of land, deteriorated air quality and forced over eighty thousand people to evacuate their homes in San Bernardino County (Suter,2016,p. 1). Consequently, Governor Jerry Brown issued a local state of emergency for the area to utilize disaster response resources (Bhattacharjee, 2016). Many firefighters and volunteers through the county’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) were deployed to assist, however California’s past four years of drought and severe weather, which is the reason for its current statewide declaration of emergency, only exacerbated the fires ability to spread and its overall effect .On August 17th, FEMA accepted Governor Brown’s federal emergency request for “fire management assistance” under the President’s Federal Relief Fund, which provides “funding for federal fire management grants” and can include “expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities” (FEMA, 2016). Concurrently, as with the previously mentioned floods, NGO’s and faith-based organizations have continued to provide support and resources as well during this time, such as setting up informal shelters at local high schools in the area. Although California’s current conditions make it highly vulnerable to future wildfires, management at the local, state and federal levels and help from volunteers (i.e. rangers and firefighters) have been critical in assisting in recovery. The 37,020-acre blaze in San Bernardino County is considered to be the 20th most destructive wildfire in California history, and repeatedly is reported as one devastating also in the speed in which it spread. Over 82,000 citizens fell under a mandatory evacuation, the large majority of them being able to return to their homes, while over 100 homes were ultimately destroyed by the fire (Roth,2016). Over 1,500 firefighters and emergency workers assisted in battling the blaze (Kandel & Medina,2016). According to San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mart Hartwig, “It hit hard. It hit fast, with an intensity that we’ve never seen before” (Kandel &Medina,2016). Reportedly, one area that raised concern (in regards to evacuation), was a community called “Wrightwood”, home to a mountain ski town. One cause was the existence of “old-growth brush” that hadn’t burned in 70 years (Roth,2016). This raised concerns for at least one reason: if the brush hadn’t burned for 70 years, we can surmise that the population has grown accustomed to being fairly safe from the threat of devastating fires, thus potentially impacting their likelihood to evacuate, even if ordered to. It is reported the area of Wrightwood experiences wildfires about once a year, but residents tend to wait until the last minute to evacuate, and one resident is reported as saying half the community (population 4,500) never leaves during a wildfire. “They said when they see flames, it would have to be pretty close because people don’t want to leave and get stranded and not be able to come home”, she stated (Roth,2016, p.1 ). Many people reported they did not evacuate due to the stress the process causes their animals, particularly during a wildfire (due to toxic/smoky air and most animals heighten senses which could be overwhelmed by the environment of a wildfire and threatening impacts). Measurements In the 2013 study “Disaster News: Framing and Frame Changing in Coverage of Major U.S. Natural Disasters,” published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, researchers measured the field of news analyzed included 927 reports from five media outlets: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, ABC World News and CBS Evening News. The data showed that “on average, mass media covered natural disasters for shorter periods of time than other issues; that media coverage tended to focus on the current impact of disasters on humans; that disaster media coverage generally focused on the state and region related to the event; and that disaster news was largely about what was happening now.” (Houston and Rozenholtz, P.4, 2013) News topics typically have a life of about 18.5 months in the media, but disaster stories were only reported on for 12 months. The researchers measured the outcomes in communities affected by disasters covered the events for longer periods of time.) The coverage of Hurricane Katrina is excluded, disasters were only covered for an average of 178 days among the national outlets examined. Nearly two-thirds of the coverage, 62.8%, occurred in the first 30 days after the disaster began. Early coverage tends to focus on physical damage, while later coverage looks at the human interest and political dimensions.OutcomesRegarding the use of social media in the Louisana flood from September 2016, it was difficult to find information online that chronicled the use of social media in preparation, response, and recovery. Louisana had previously ratified the Disaster Risk Management Act of 2015, which stipulates that it will “promote education, knowledge, and use of information communication technology in disaster management for public awareness (Disaster Risk Management Act, 2015). In addition, Louisana released a disaster communications strategy document in 2012 that specified that “emergency warning notification can be send via email or cell-phone. Citizens can receive notification via email or text messages. Cell-phones with their wide spread presence plus the good coverage of Louisana by cell towers makes cell-phone the best warning method to reach large group of people (Louisana Disaster Communication Strategy, 2012). Citizens in Louisana received a warning prior to the August 13, and its government website did have official social media accounts connected to its page to validate whether social media was used by the government in warning or disseminating information about the flood following impact.The Lousiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Facebook page, chronicled current programming and had the most coverage on the flood in the month of August. Within the state, a large source of information and news surrounding the flood was also found on the Lousiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Twitter account frequently tweeted updates following the flood. It is entirely possible that further social media resources were used and mobilized following the flooding websites for prvate and public volunteer orgnizations. It is also possible that because the Louisana government did not declare a national disaster, additional international media attention was not garnered and therefore, social media presence was scant.