Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Gregory Campbell


Emergency managers are responsible for protecting lives, property, and the environment. Decisions are made based on the availability of information provided to emergency managers from the disaster site. Communication between first responders and emergency managers is crucial for obtaining situational awareness for decision-making purposes during disasters. The purpose of this qualitative explanatory case study was to understand the perspectives of emergency managers regarding the use of social media in obtaining situational awareness and providing disaster-specific information necessary for emergency managers to make informed decisions during disasters. The theoretical framework for this study was based on Endsley’s situational awareness model and Rowley’s data, information, knowledge, wisdom hierarchy. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with 11 participants. The results of the 6-step thematic analysis revealed the disaster-specific information emergency managers need to make informed decisions, current situational awareness strategies, the perspectives of emergency managers regarding social media, and training gaps associated with social media and its use for situational awareness. Findings may be used to promote positive social change to improve the use of social media in disaster response operations that aid emergency managers in meeting response priorities, including protection of life, property, and the environment.