Saturday, 7 September 2013

Stay Connected, Stay Safe

If you are a street outreach worker or setting up a team, it is important to consider incorporating the use of social media into your practice. Although agencies are concerned with costs during these times of budget constraints, it is essential to recognize the positive impact of being connected. For both safety reasons and as a source of knowledge and resources the cost of smart phones is minimal.

During severe weather episodes this past year, an informal group of outreach workers kept connected and were able to provide services across the city in an innovative way. This would not have been possible within our traditional system as our workplaces did not have "partnerships." Fortunately, this barrier did not affect us as we were previously connected on Twitter.

By following weather alerts, social media emergency management teams, emergency services, police etc. we are able to keep updated in real time. We can communicate with each other by using direct messaging, BBM, WhatsApp etc. for privacy. As there are no catchments in the virtual world, we have the ability to connect with other outreach workers in any location. Being connected allows us to be aware of trending issues such as missing persons, viral outbreaks in shelters, harmful street drug alerts and time sensitive issues within our communities.

Real Time Crisis is currently being established as a result of these connections. Follow us @realtimecrisis for more information and for support in connecting your outreach team. Stay connected and stay safe!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anne,

    My name is Andy Best, I do the communications for the Canadian Mental Health Association's Waterloo Wellington Dufferin branch.

    We're slowly (but surely) entering the social media universe. Responding to crisis situations that we learn about via social media is at the top of our list of concerns/areas to make sure we do things right. Could you send me an email at so we can connect? I've got a few things I'd like to chat with you about.

    Fantastic work, by the way.

    Take care,