The Importance of Social Media and the Fire Department Essay

Total Length: 1363 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

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The one-size-fits-all approach is not applicable in the context of social networking in corporate firms and workplaces. The advantages of social media are contingent on the type of networking platform, its features, and the organization itself. Since their inception, social networking sites have been known to play a critical role in improving the communication and productivity of compliant firms. In the contemporary society, the fire service also uses mainstream social networking platforms for receiving and disseminating information. The traditional reliance on print media as a source of information has faded away as social media provides an unlimited amount of data at a mere keystroke. With the help of media sources, firefighters are linked to the outside world and their communication is not limited to scanners and radios. Social media has transformed the manner in which people operate, and the fire department has stay attuned to the trends. Therefore, the fire department should embrace the recent changes and come up with social media policies to govern the use of these sites and exploit them to the advantage of the unit. Overall, social media can confer enormous benefits, as well as a profound detriment to fires services.



For a long time, most leaders in the fire service had been using social media at a personal level only. Fire departments were only limited to highlighting upcoming events and posting pictures. However, with time, the fire service has come to appreciate social media for its multiple applications and uses. The platforms for exchange of ideas and education through various social networking sites and blogs are currently at the disposal of firefighters (Comstock, 2013). These individuals also have the opportunity to connect with one another. The administrators of fire departments now interact more efficiently with the public and can disseminate information on the activities of the staff in ways that could never be considered previously.

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In most cases, better connection and access to the local community or the general public is the most important advantage that social media confers to the fire service. Sites like Twitter and Facebook serve to bring people together around the work and public outreach endeavors of the fire service. In turn, such connections significantly improve access to and interaction with the civilians. Fire units no longer have to execute their public relations and community outreach programs by taking open-house forms or school visits because, in today's world, cyberspace provides a platform to conduct the most personal, fastest, and even the most efficient community outreach.



Moreover, residents are better served as they have easy access to vital details, particularly during an emergency. Today, civilians do not have to rely entirely on wailing sirens or local television stations for updates or news on crises. Instead, at the touch of a button and through their smartphones, they gain access to the necessary information, much faster than before. A survey by the American Red Cross found that a whopping eighty percent of the civilians believe that fire departments and other emergency response units should continuously monitor their social media pages (Bernier, 2013). More prominently, the same study revealed that the Internet ranks third among the most popular means for members of the public to gather details about an emergency.

The social media presence of a fire department and pristine admittance to the public can be exploited to achieve various goals including bettering transparency, improving customer service, enhancing visibility, and quickly passing vital information (Scott, 2013). In the end, all these aspects would positively influence the department’s relationship with the civilians. Enhancing visibility would involve a fire unit informing its Facebook or Twitter….....

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References

Bernier, S. (2013). Social Media and Disasters: Best Practices and Lessons Learned. American Red Cross. Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m22442828_Social_Media_-_Suzanne_Bernier_-
_SB_Crisis_Consulting.pdf

Collins, K. (2012). The Fire Department and Social Media: What's Your Policy? Fire Engineering Retrieved from http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-165/issue-5/features/the-fire-department-and-social-media-whats-your-policy.html

Comstock, D. (2013, April 19). Using Social Media to Advance the Fire Department Mission. Retrieved from Fire Rescue: http://www.firerescuemagazine.com/articles/print/volume-8/issue-6/management-and-leadership/using-social-media-to-advance-the-fire-department-mission.html

Edrington, J. (2013). Social Media and its Place in the Fire Service. University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science. Retrieved from http://ceas.uc.edu/content/dam/aero/docs/fire/Jeff%20Edrington.pdf

Scott, B. (2013). The Fire Service and Social Media: Time to Get Engaged. Fire Engineering Retrieved from http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/2013/02/the-fire-service-and-social-media--time-to-get-engaged.html

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