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Every Disaster is Local First

Updated September 12, 2019
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Kenneth Sherin

SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Director

If you are experiencing a disaster, it is a local disaster. It may be days or weeks before FEMA or other national agencies arrive, if they arrive at all. Your best chance for immediate help before, during, or after a disaster is local. Of course, for medical emergencies dial 911. However, for local announcements about road closures and other vital information, connecting to county or community public safety agencies will be more helpful. Often these local public safety agencies and county emergency management offices use social media to communicate information.

Even without an account on Twitter, by using Twitter Search, you can find information. Using the search terms “County Emergency Management SD Yankton” in the Twitter Search returned the following search results. Then clicking on Yankton CO EM reveals a list of the latest Tweets from the Yankton County South Dakota Office of Emergency Management.

If social media searches do not reveal the information you are looking for, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety has a website with contact information for each South Dakota county and tribal entity. Some larger communities have emergency managers, but smaller communities rely on the county emergency manager.

At the state level in South Dakota, a great resource is the SDReponse.gov website. It has information about the current emergency situation with a Twitter Feed section that shows the latest information from public safety agencies.