Since 2008, Dr. Yee San Su has been a researcher at CNA’s Safety & Security Center. He has worked at both state and federal levels, utilizing a variety of analytical, statistical, and modeling techniques to support emergency preparedness assessments. Dr. Su has supported high-profile assessments for legislative and executive branch stakeholders, serving as a task lead on the 2012 and 2013 National Preparedness Report and the project lead on the 2013 Emergency Support Function Report. In 2011, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security named him the winner of its national essay contest for his essay, “On the Challenge of Assessing National Preparedness.”

While at CNA, Dr. Su also led a two-year research effort examining response scalability; namely, how disaster scales (e.g., size, severity, complexity) influence the resources required and available for emergency response. Portions of this research addressing social network analysis and operational coordination were published in Homeland Security Affairs. In recognition of this work, CNA presented him with its 2011 Safety & Security Innovation award.

In 2011, Dr. Su co-authored 2011 Social Media + Emergency Management Camp: Transforming the Response Enterprise, a report highlighting not only the challenges of integrating new technologies and opportunities into traditional U.S. response structures, but also examples of best practices and opportunities for future engagement and training. Dr. Su also led the development of the survey that formed the basis of the report Social Medial in the Emergency Management Field: 2012 Survey Results.

Prior to CNA, Dr. Su spent two years as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow in residence at the National Homeland Security Research Center. Before being awarded the AAAS fellowship, Dr. Su was a technical consultant at Exponent, Inc., a leading engineering and scientific consulting firm. He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois.

Project Summary

Social Media in the Emergency Management Field: 2012 Survey Results

Published: June 3, 2013

Quite a bit is known about the public’s social media habits, including the public’s expectations concerning emergency management agencies’ use of social media. For example, 76 percent of adults responding to a 2012 American Red Cross survey expect help to arrive in less than three hours if they post an emergency-related request on social media. However, what is not well known are the perspectives of emergency managers toward social media. Do they feel emergency management agencies should be monitoring social media? Do their agencies’ capabilities for social media align with public expectations?

To date, much of the data on social media and emergency management is limited to anecdotal accounts or case studies. Thus, CNA, in partnership with the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), funded the development and nationwide distribution of a 56-question survey to state, county, and local emergency management and response agencies in late 2012 to answer questions about social media use in emergency management. By taking a survey approach, we were able to provide a broader, complementary perspective to existing anecdotes and case studies. This report provides the key results of that survey.