Connect, Collaborate, Contribute

February 2018 Newsletter

23 Feb 2018 10:04 AM | Anonymous
What's Happening?
  • Engagement Opportunities 
  • 2017 Annual Report
  • Board Applications Open 
  • Upcoming VOST Training Calendar
  • VOST Leadership Coalition Meeting on 3/9/18 

What's Being Planned?

  • NEMA Webinar on April 4th
  • Government Social Media Conference, April 24-26th in Colorado

Engagement Opportunities for Virtual EMA Members

We currently have nine projects available for you to get involved in if you are a member of Virtual EMA. Over the past year, our Board has been using Basecamp to share ideas and develop a number of these projects. We are excited to expand this collaboration platform with each of you, as our members.

If you are interested in joining one of these projects, simply reply to this email and let us know which project you would like to be added to as a collaborator. 

  • PROJECT 1: Collaboration with the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). We are currently preparing a webinar for April 4th. Past requests have included preparing briefings and responding to inquiries for the Preparedness, EMAC and PIO committees. 
  • PROJECT 2: Collaboration with #GSMCon (Government Social Media Conference). Current project is planning towards a presentation & Meet-Up at the April conference in Denver, Colorado.  
  • PROJECT 3: VOST Training Webinars. This project involves developing, reviewing and delivering training for Virtual Operation Support Teams via 1-hour webinars. We are always developing new curriculum and seeking ways to deliver these at different times to support teams in a variety of time zones.
  • PROJECT 4: VOST Leadership Coalition. This project supports facilitating a monthly or quarterly call of VOST Team Leaders. Finding speakers / presentations that would be of interest to VOST Team Leaders, promoting the agenda and writing up meeting summaries are all tasks for this project.  
  • PROJECT 5: VOST Resource Typing. We are currently working with FEMA contractors to develop definitions for VOST teams. We will need additional eyes on documents being developed by the contractors. 
  • PROJECT 6: Monthly Newsletter Development. Do you like to write small articles for newsletters? We could always use help in developing this publication for our members. 
  • PROJECT 7: #SMEMChat. Do you have great ideas for discussion topics for the weekly Social Media & Emergency Management Chat? This project develops the calendar of topics and generates 5-7 questions for each Friday's chat. 
  • PROJECT 8: Technical Partnerships. Are you interested in developing relationships with tech groups who may be seeking input from emergency management practitioners or who may have products of value that should be creatively shared with the emergency management community? Then, this project may be of interest to you.
  • PROJECT 9: Educational Engagements. This project responds and coordinates Virtual EMA's participation in research studies, review of educational courses and mentoring/development of students for the future. Current projects include responding to contractors on an information analysis tool, continued participation in the study / assessment of SMEM and participation on panels for higher education classes. 

2017 Annual Report

This past week, Virtual EMA conducted its annual Board Meeting which is open to the membership. At this meeting, we covered the following accomplishments of Virtual EMA over the past year. 

  • Virtual EMA is proud to be home to 91 members
  • We supported #SMEMChat weekly on Fridays on Twitter 
  • Provided monthly newsletters of engagement opportunities
  • Facilitated quarterly VOST Leadership Coalition Meetings
  • Hosted the annual #SMEMBowl 2017 exercise
  • Delivered 19 VOST Training Webinars (which started in April)
  • Presented to the NEMA Mid-Year Preparedness Committee 
  • Participated in Free University of Berlin research study on VOST Team
  • Conducted Training for NEMA PIO Committee
  • Provided presentations on VOST & SMEM issues for Oregon, Hawaii, Australia
  • Participated in DHS Sci & Tech Next Steps Assessment of SMEM
  • Added Patrice Cloutier to serve on the Virtual EMA Board
  • Facilitated Exercise Development for Australian SMEM Conference
  • Reviewed web-based materials for NIH class on social media engagement

Board Member Recruitment Open

We are extending the recruitment for our next Board Member through March 5th. The basics for considerations include the following:

  • Membership in Virtual EMA 
  • Willingness to serve for at least one year (preferably 2) 
  • Active in either Emergency Management or Crisis Communications as either a professional, student, or community volunteer or have a role as a technology partner or are engaged in the educational field with a focus on public safety / communications. 

If this sounds interesting to you, please take a moment to fill out this application form. We will be selecting our next Board Member at our March 9th Board meeting.

Upcoming VOST Training Calendar

Our training calendar for Virtual Operation Support Team (VOST) webinars is available on our EVENTS PAGE.Classes are available for sign-up. 

As you may already know, our course numbers mean the following:

  • VOST 000-090: Administrator Classes (KSA's for managing teams)
  • VOST 100-190: Team Member classes (theory-based classes)
  • VOST 200-290: Tool or Platform Specific Classes  
  • VOST 300-390: VOST Team Leader classes 

The benefit of attending a webinar is that they are very conversational so you can get all of your questions answered when you participate in these live sessions!

VOST Leadership Coalition Meeting is on March 9th

The next meetings will be at 12p Pacific / 3p Eastern time on Friday, March 9th. If you'd like to participate in this meeting, you can RSVP on our EVENTS PAGE. You do not need to be a Virtual EMA member to participate. 

What's Being Planned? 
There are lots of exciting things in the works that we'd like to share with you so you can start planning about how to engage with these cool opportunities:

  • NEMA Quarterly Webinar: Virtual EMA will be presenting the quarterly webinar for the National Emergency Management Association on Wednesday, April 4th. 
  • Government Social Media Conference: Cheryl Bledsoe and MaryJo Flynn will be presenting at the 2018 Government Social Media Conference during the week of April 24th. If you are attending this conference, email Cheryl at so we can connect with you at this conference!


Virtual EMA is a registered public charity with 501(c)(3) status. 

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