PHILADELPHIA – Innovation is defined in multiple ways – the act of creating change, or an original product to fill a niche, or even using existing technology in new ways. It makes our lives easier, providing new ways to access existing information and tools we previously may not have had access to. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III is putting innovation into action by piloting FEMA’s messaging efforts through Amazon’s Alexa program. “In our communications, we are always looking to meet people where they are,” stated MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. “That includes exploring voice-enabled devices and related technology to share our message. As we aim to build a culture of preparedness nationwide, this tool gives us another opportunity to do that.”
Through Alexa Flash Briefings, FEMA will provide updates from FEMA Region III’s official Twitter Account (@FEMAregion3); preparedness information directly from www.Ready.gov on hazards and how to prepare for them; information on the latest FEMA Podcast episodes; and national and regional FEMA press releases and content. For example, a FEMA Flash Briefing may read: “@FEMARegion3 tweeted “Be prepared for emergencies by planning ahead, considering learning life skills, & reviewing your financial preparedness. For more information, visit www.Ready.gov.” The Flash Briefing will also relay the latest FEMA Podcast information to preview content and the latest episode, as well as the latest FEMA press content directly to users.
“FEMA’s use of the Alexa Skill is just part of our efforts to reach people and share our message, and follows the FEMA Podcast in using existing and popular technology to inspire change and create opportunities,” said Dan Stoneking, FEMA Region III Director of External Affairs. “FEMA’s mission of helping people before, during, and after disasters’ relies on our ability to communicate effectively with everyone, and the Alexa skill represents our commitment to doing so.” These devices, and the programs behind them, make information available to owners in their own home, including those with access and functional needs, providing a tailored, direct method of communication to users and creating the opportunity to engage with them through their smart devices.
To sign up:
- Users may enable the skill online by visiting the Amazon.com Alexa Skills store, or going to the skills section of your Alexa App via mobile device;
- In the Search, type ‘FEMA Region III’ and search;
- Tap Settings to choose your flash briefing.
FEMA Region III will continue to develop content for the platform and to meet the needs of the public, including Alexa-specific content. Additional information may be found at www.FEMA.gov. Any questions or comments should be directed to the FEMA Region III News Desk at FEMAR3NewsDesk@fema.dhs.gov.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.