Joseph Solomon, Chief of Police
Quinn Public Safety Building
90 Hampshire St.
Methuen, MA 01844
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Methuen Police Department Kicks Off National Preparedness Month with Social Media Campaign
METHUEN – Chief Joseph Solomon is pleased to announce the launch of the Methuen Police Department’s first social media campaign for the 2015 National Preparedness Month this September.
National Preparedness Month is meant to educate communities on planning, staying safe, and communicating during disasters and emergencies. This year’s theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”
The department is highlighting the idea of being proactive through daily posts on their Facebook and Twitter. Each week will feature a different theme including floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and power outages with helpful articles, PSA’s, checklists, and other resources to educate the public on how to stay safe during an emergency that affects their community. They are also in the process of developing boards on Pinterest, which will feature visual elements such as graphics, checklists, and flyers.
“Social media is a great way to share information with the public and get our message out quickly across multiple platforms”, Chief Solomon said. “In Methuen, we have experienced severe weather in the past. I feel strongly about participating in this event to keep our community as safe as we can by educating the public on the importance of emergency preparedness.”
Methuen is no stranger emergency preparedness and the value of properly utilizing social media in the event of an emergency situation. During hurricane season and especially during the winter months, the city has experienced strong storms that have triggered numerous emergency situations.
In the event of an emergency, employees from the police station and the city set up and run an emergency operations center (EOC) where they set up designated phone lines for calls coming in to report power lines or trees that are down, and other important safety messages. The team is also responsible for monitoring social media as a way to communicate with residents. The Department utilized the EOC frequently last winter due to record-breaking amounts of snow.
“The most important thing is giving our community and our followers the best information we can, so they are armed with the resources they need in the event of an emergency,” Officer Gina Scanlon said. “Whether that information is a contact number or a checklist, anything we can give them that will keep them safe matters. If we have done that, than we’ve done our job.”
“As an active member on social media, utilizing that platform to educate our community is an invaluable resource,” Officer Derek Licata said. “Getting our community prepared now will help keep us all safer in the event of an emergency, and ultimately, the safety of our residents is our primary goal.”
Along with Chief Solomon, Officers Licata and Scanlon are managing the department’s first formal social media campaign. Their daily posts are leading up to National PreparAthon! Day on September 30, which culminates National Preparedness Month. The department plans to create a Facebook event for this day, which will contain all of the information they have posted throughout the month in one place.
Although it is still early in the month, the Department is optimistic the response to their campaign will be very positive.
The Methuen Police Department’s Facebook page currently has 8, 586 likes and they have 6, 740 followers on Twitter. Chief Solomon is heavily involved in social media, and even sent Officers Licata and Scanlon to the Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement (SMILE) Conference in Phoenix, AZ last spring. He encourages his police force to utilize social media as a means of communication with the Methuen community. Many of the officers even have their own Twitter handle.