All posts by Skylar

Preparedness – Community Assessment

Assignment # 4 – Assess preparedness in your own community – WordPress site

a. Was it easy or difficult to find your community’s plan?  It was very easy to find the plan only because I knew what I was looking for, however, for those that may not understand this it would probably be a little confusing. It took me a quick google search, but just to verify my information found I contacted the PIO for the Sheriff’s Office to confirm and he gave me the information and contact of the person at the Emergency Services Office. I contacted her to verify I had the correct information.

b. Describe one thing you think shows your community is well-prepared in case of a disaster. 

I spoke to the Board of Water Resources and they are always monitoring water levels. They work with the Army Corp of Engineers to prepare for the water coming off the mountains as the snow pack begins to melt. Depending on spring temperatures, they will control the waterways and allow water to flow into channels for irrigation or to flow down river. This year the snow pack was not as much as last year. However, the area is currently above last year’s numbers. Current rate of Flow: 18,000 CFS past Shelly’s Gate. Henry’s Fork area is picking up and they are anticipating higher levels in this area, but they told me they are currently working to mitigate any potential flooding hazards.

2017 had a carry over of water storage, and  the outlook for the upcoming season is good because we have a good amount of water reserves plus the new snow. This puts eastern Idaho at a comfortable level- no fear of drought or flooding issues at the moment. This is good news for farmers -which use the water for irrigation.

c. Describe one way you think an improvement could be made to your community’s plan.  I believe there should be a series of videos in place for the public. The information is lengthy, but it’s not an easy read for the general public. People want to know the gist of the information and what to do.

d. Answer the following question: Do you feel better or worse about how well your community is prepared after reading it’s plan? I feel indifferent. I think there are areas that could use improvement. I also found that they cover some good areas, but I could not find detailed information on issues that could be considered moderate.


Part 2: Preparedness Video

Describe your pre-improvement and post-improvement state of preparedness and post to the blogs. Make a presentation that illustrates what you did.

I chose to do a video for the station on flood safety. I spoke to the Idaho Falls Fire Department Chief, and to a local insurance agency about what to do in the event of a flood. Here is the package I aired on Tuesday.  (Excuse the awful live shot- I was not prepared to go live on this topic!)

I found that most people here are not prepared for much of anything in terms of disasters. I felt getting a safety video out there would at least help inform others of what not to do during a flood and how to avoid getting scammed after a flood. We have scams happen daily here- especially after sever weather.

My video was too big to add it in the media here, so I added it to youtube for everyone to watch!







Preparedness- Improvement

My improvement would be to have safety videos. It’s hard to get people to read through 45 pages of information. Most people want the info fast and are not willing to take the time to read or learn about it.  I think the best thing to do here is have a series of videos that help inform people what to do in a certain situation.



Unit 7, Group 4 – Social Media: Resources

UPDATE April 15, 2018
Here is a chart I made for my slide based on the data I gathered from my articles.
[[Original Post Below]]
I found several articles that address the use of social media during emergencies. It was hard to narrow them down to just one, so, I am including all four. In case anyone wants to read them I have included the links. I think there is a lot we can learn from these case studies and they are written from different view points to really see the vast differences.

The Negative Impacts

According to the  there are four areas that reflect negative in the event of an emergency:
1. Incorrect Information– intentional versus unintentional
Incorrect information can be caused by situations where the true situation is difficult to confirm. In the Fukushima disaster, rumors circulated regarding appropriate safety precautions.   (i.e. people should evacuate, the possibility of food and water shortages, and whether there would be additional radioactive releases.) Incorrect information can lead to confusion whether intentional or unintentional, and malicious.
One example is when fake accounts are created that impersonate an official account. Fairfax County [VA] Government was proactive during a winter storm in January 2014 as its school system was faced with many fake accounts announcing incorrect closures. Government and schools worked together to actively advise people where to find official information.
Another example comes from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Twitter user @ComfortablySmug began spreading several rumors via social media, including that the New York Stock Exchange Building was flooded, that Con Edison was preemptively shutting off power in New York City, and that all bridges going to and from Manhattan were being sealed off.  Additionally, photoshopped pictures of sharks swimming in the streets, screenshots from the movie The Day After Tomorrow, and other dramatic pictures from past storms proliferated on social media.
2.  Insufficient Information– When information is not made available to the public or is slow to update the public, this can lead to rumors.
3. Outdated Information-It is very common for people to do internet searches and take the first picture that pops up without verifying the information. There have been many cases where the same photo has been used for different events over the years.
4. Opportunistic Disinformation- “Opportunistic disinformation occurs when predatory individuals attempt to capitalize on a particular event or incident. Opportunistic misinformation generally falls into one of two categories: revenue-generating and financially incentivized, or malicious and politically incentivized.”


The Positive Impacts

Social media can be used during an emergency to provide users with accurate and up-to-date information as the information become available- keeping users in the loop. Facebook and twitter can act as “clearing-house” by providing up-to-date information by various
organizations within one location during an emergency. Social media outlets make it easy to post information on basic needs, locating loved ones, requests for help, and volunteering. By using hashtags, people can search for those and find useful information about the emergency quickly.
In the event of an emergency, people are more likely to have access to their cell phones to get updated information before, during, and after a disaster. Some areas affect may have power outages, but users can rely on their cell phone to check social media for updates.
Weather updates can easily go out to warn individuals of a potential impact in their area.
Social media has both positive and negative impacts. The key is for emergency personnel to keep users updated and informed as they receive information to combat the rumor mill and fear mongers.
Even if updates are minimal, it is best to keep the public informed. By using social media, verified accounts can get information out to the public faster than solely relying on one medium, such as a news outlet, to get the information out to the general public.




Oh, Onook; Agrawal, Manish; and Rao, Raghav. 2013. “Community Intelligence and Social Media Services: A Rumor Theoretic Analysis of Tweets During Social Crises,” MIS Quarterly, (37: 2) pp.407-426.

Countering Misinformation, Rumors, and False Information on Social Media Before, During, and After Disasters and Emergencies. Web. Retrieved on April 7, 2018 from

Case Study 2: Impacts of 79 AD Vesuvius Eruption

Here are the resources describing the impacts from the Vesuvius Volcano disaster in 79 AD..


My favorite article is my first article- actually all of the article were interesting, but I like this one the most because it’s more of journal type, proper study, and it hits on the impacts of Pompeii. (It’s only four pages and it an easy, interesting read.)

This one describes the event, and highlights the post eruption phases Vesuvius went through. This helps explain the layers you see at Pompeii, and helps you understand how Pompeii and the people were preserved so well for this length of time. The article breaks it down into the regions, and for me this gave me a better understanding of what I experienced as I explored Pompeii back in January.

This photo you see here is one I took where you can see the layers.

Volcano/ Vesuvius: Case Study 2 Week 2

Monitoring of Vesusius

The area is home to a research center and it is monitored and studied at the Osservatorio Vesuviano (i.e. The Vesuvius Observatory) The observatory opened in March of 1845, where It was built on the southern border of the Somma caldera located in between two deep valleys bordering the hill. These valleys have now been filled by the lava flows from the eruptions of 1850, 1855, 1861, 1868, 1872, 1906, 1929, and 1944.

Vesuvius is considered one of the worlds most hazardous and closely watched volcano. The National Group for Vulcanology has encouraged research in the geological structure of the volcano, and has improved its monitoring since 1983.

Sensors monitor Vesuvius, and some are visible as you walk up the trail to visit the crater. These sensors transmit signals around the clock to Vesuvius Observatory. “Data transmitted each month by the European satellite Envisat on ground movements complement and update the observatory’s information.” The observatory has two experts on site around the clock to analyze the data.

Public safety authorities have developed a current disaster evacuation plan using the 1631 eruption as a model. There are three zones: red, yellow, and blue.

The plan would call for the red zone to evacuate everything within a 15 km radius due to imminent danger of pyroclastic flows.

The yellow area is not as dangerous as the red, but would be subjected to falling ash and lapilli. It is only expected that 10 percent of this area would be damaged, but it is not possible to wait until an eruption to determine this, and necessary for those in this area to evacuate.

The blue zone corresponds to the “valley of Nola,” and be subjected to floods and the fallout of ash and lapilli.

The warning is issued during the “Pre-alert Phase.” In this phase, “the operational control passes to the national level, is declared a state of emergency, appoint a Deputy Commissioner, called the Operating Committee of Civil Protection. The police and rescuers are positioned on the territory according to established plans”

According to the government, “The plan is constantly updated to reflect advances in scientific knowledge, but also the continuous change of the urban and the population density of one of the most populated areas of the world. The main objective of the Plan is to safeguard the lives of people living on its slopes.”

The plan was created in 1991, and has not been used.

Case Study 1 Week 3

One of my sources is myself. We covered the area on the one-year anniversary of Matthew. There were still parts of North Carolina that were under construction. People had to leave their homes and find a new place to live. Some towns were trying to revive, and another was a ghost town. Most people here did not have homeowners insurance, and they were not prepared for this type of disaster.

My favorite was the NCDPS article. It was extremely detailed and it gives really good information about the areas hit, and effort being made to help. Gov. Roy Cooper has said, “the recovery will take some time.” The state is still dealing with the need for housing since they put up 3,000 families in mobile homes and hotel’s, only four families remain in a hotels until their homes are completed.

The biggest set back from Matthew was how it affect the infrastructure. In the eastern portion of the state, there are roads that are still closed down- of course this is in extremely rural areas.


Spectrum news- You need to be a subscriber, but here is a link to another local station.—/2510750/

Hurricane Mitigation Game

Five people are dead and 127 are injured after a Hurricane X struck the small island of 400 people today. Skylar Spinler, the city planner, took way too long to figure out how to save the town, and as a result damages totaled $10,050. It was said that Spinler chose a medium size map to work with and was over-confident in her abilities to get the job done.


Once I actually figured out how to work the map my hurricane hit! I think I had 74 people that were not house! yikes! Over all it was pretty interesting to think about how I could build and strategically place items to help with storm surge and protect my town- I’m sure if i played again I would do better. (Maybe I should chose a small map.)

I could definitely see a more graphic/realistic animated video game come out that kids could play at school during their science class or maybe during an emergency preparedness week. I felt like I was playing on an Atari. LOL

Blog Post: Assignment 4- Design Experiences “Volcano”

Question: Describe one thing about the game that  helped you learn about what it is like to monitor/mitigate a disaster? 

The equipment used was interesting in regards to how they monitor the activity. The correlation spectrometer is especially helpful since it monitors the sulfer dioxide the volcano emits- the more gas it emits the more likely the volcano will erupt. (The was useful for my topic on Vesuvius.)

Question: What was one thing you found unhelpful, confusing, annoying, or otherwise detrimental to your learning? Why?

Hands down the number one annoying thing was trying to get the game to work. I had a lot of trouble getting the game to actually work with my browser. Major set back for me.  Otherwise, there was a ton of information, and I had to reread and revisit everything over the course of a few days and digest it in small parts. This is a fairly new topic for me, so I was a tad bit overwhelmed!