FEMA’S Syndicated Content: Digital Assists in Moments of Disaster

Nov 17, 2016

I recently interviewed Daniel Kuhns, Web Manager at FEMA, about the site widgets and the FEMA app his organization has been developing. The widgets currently available include: FEMA App, Preparedness, Severe Weather, Private Sector, Kids Fire Safety, and Are you a Disaster Survivor.

FEMA app in English.

The FEMA App offers many features such as weather alerts, safety reminders, shelter information and contact information. This information can be very helpful in times of an emergency, and some of it, to include the safety tips, are available offline.

The FEMA widgets are a good example of syndicated content. Through digital media syndication, emergency based resources can be combined with ongoing activities at the state and local levels, and can help coordinate emergency messaging for maximum impact and reach.

Dan stated that the organization’s goal “is to provide the most targeted information possible to survivors before, during, and after a disaster.” He noted that, “with our ability to constantly and quickly edit widget content, we can put out a focused message to a niche market or cast a wider net if necessary. Being able to quickly and confidently put out targeted, specific messaging, and provide survivors with up-to-the-minute information is paramount to our organization.”

Screen capture of the FEMA website widgets Kids Fire Safety display on the left and the i frame code on the right.

When asked why these widgets and the app are so helpful, Dan explained, “During any disaster one of our biggest priorities is providing accurate information to survivors. During and after a disaster there can be an incredible amount of false information out there, and we need to reach a targeted audience on their terms, by targeting local papers and websites that are within the disaster-affected area, but not inundating them with extraneous or non-relevant info.”

Dan also stated, “Our ability to provide either our content, or links to our content through larger-reaching sites is essential to getting our message out. Having a group of up-to-date widgets provides us the medium to promote our material and messaging to as wide or as focused as an audience as we would like.”

Spread the word on the availability of these tools. They have the ability to be lifesaving.

You can download other helpful mobile government apps with just a few clicks from our USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory. Federal agencies can get their apps listed in the directory by using the Federal Mobile Products Registry. Got a great idea for a mobile product or service and need help planning or releasing it? Contact the Mobile Application Development Program. Are you a federal employee interested in how agencies are using mobile technologies and building government-wide solutions? Join the MobileGov Community of Practice with your .gov or .mil email address.