Join the Conversation

Our first Twitter conversation was a modest success. Send me your ideas for our next one.

We tried something new on March 29, a one-hour Twitter conversation, to see whether that kind of interaction would appeal to this magazine's online audience. The topic was emergency preparedness in light of the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan. We used the hashtag #ohsjapanchat.

How did it go? Only a handful of people tweeted questions or answers, and I don't know how many people saw the comments of our three experts (James W. Satterfield, president/chief operating officer of Firestorm Solutions, LLC; Nate Ames, director of EWI's Nuclear Fabrication Consortium; and Barry W. Weissman of Weissman Consultants). But the format worked, I would say. Commenting about others' tweets and recommending useful material wasn't hard.

Here's a rundown of what I tweeted.

Opening tweet:

Thank you for joining our "Lessons from the Japanese Disaster" conversation. We'll discuss planning for various emergencies.

"Japan Earthquake & Tsunami and What They Mean for the U.S." (FEMA NEHRP) http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=4620

10 states participating in 2011 Great Central US ShakeOut (10:15 a.m. April 28). http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/register/

Most quake damage uninsured. Check US quake maps, largest quakes by state: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/

What about post-quake fire risks? FEMA fire preparedness: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/fire/index.shtm

Jim's point about underinsured: How recently did you review your coverages? Will your company survive if payments delayed?

How much would a flood cost you? http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flooding_flood_risks/the_cost_of_flooding.jsp

Flood insurance reform is a hot topic in 2011: http://www.iii.org/issues_updates/flood-insurance.html

NWS Spring 2011 flood outlook, good FEMA resources: http://blog.fema.gov/2011/03/annual-us-spring-outlook-flooding.html

Chernobyl @ 25 (April 20-22 conference, Kiev) http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2011/chernobyl.html

NRC fact sheet on radiation health effects: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/bio-effects-radiation.html

My last tweet:

Thanks to all. Business continuity planning is vital. Have you contacted key suppliers? Is your emergency phone list current?

I hope some of these resources are useful to you. We intend to do more of these Twitter conversations. If you have a good idea for a conversation, a webinar, or an article, please send me an e-mail or call me at 972-687-6701 and share it.

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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