By FD Hacks
It’s critical that if your fire department is going to have a social media presence, accounts are active and maintain a steady stream of content. You can’t just post during fundraising events or to garner support for the Town budget vote. It’s better to not have an account than to have an inactive one. However, if you see the benefits of social media, such as increased community engagement, public education opportunities, and firefighter recruitment, a steady flow of content can be hard to come by. Your department should have at least one person assigned to manage social media accounts with permissions to post without approval each time. As events or postable activity occur, these authorized individuals can post the content (images, videos, information) they produce. But this stream is not always steady and occasionally runs dry. To prevent this, you can schedule posts ahead of time with content that has educational, informational, or entertaining value.
Here are some great resources for social media content that you can use on your fire department social media accounts.
Ready.gov Social Media Toolkits - pre-assembled social media toolkits for your department to use from the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov site. Toolkits range from flood safety to hurricane safety to pet preparedness. After downloading you can add your Department’s logo to the graphics before uploading to social media.
FEMA Social Media Accounts - Consolidated links to FEMA’s most popular social media accounts. These accounts have quality content that you can re-post or share on your own department’s account.
Do 1 Thing - a “12-month program that makes it easy for you to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for emergencies or disasters. If you do 1 thing each month, by the time a year has passed, you will have taken big steps towards being ready for the unknown.” Because of the monthly structure of their program, new content is often relatable to season and current events. They have many shareable resources, including graphics, images, articles, brochures and flyers, and PowerPoint presentations on emergency and disaster preparedness.
Flashsplash.org - content and toolkits for your department’s social media accounts and website. Content focuses on preventing scalds and burns. You can also use them to create flyers. These five national organizations have joined forces to create the National Scald Prevention Campaign: the International Association of Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation Burn Fund, the American Burn Association Burn Prevention Committee, the Federation of Burn Foundations, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Safe Kids Worldwide.
American Red Cross Digital Advocate - this page contains links to their active social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. They constantly post shareable content, like infographics and short videos, appropriate for the fire service audience.
American Heart Association, Healthy for Good - this page has some high quality infographics that can be easily shared or posted relating to promoting heart health, something important for both our firefighters and communities.
Your State’s Emergency Management/Fire Commission - follow your state agencies serving public safety for additional content. They often post shareable content that can be more specific to your local community/region.
Major Fire Departments or Emergency Management Departments in your region - major fire departments, such as FDNY and LAFD, have social media teams that post frequent quality content. Following their pages provides posts that you can share on your own department’s accounts, as well as ideas of what you can post from your own department.
It is important, of course, that your fire department is fully represented on your social media account feeds. After all, the reason people choose to follow your department specifically is to see and hear from you - their local firefighters. You’ll often get higher engagement on your own photos and posts. But it is critical that your social feed does not run dry, and that task can be difficult. The resources above help your fire department maintain an active social media feed, as well as educate and inform your community.
Disclaimer: This post is for entertainment purposes. You must consider your own department policies and procedures.