Saturday, August 29, 2015


Damage from the Napa earthquake
Reflecting on the Napa earthquake one year later, Mayor Jill Techel said that social media "helped people connect" in the minutes and days following the major shock waves.

The Napa, California earthquake was the first large earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 21st century.

The tremors woke ABC7 News Anchor Cheryl Jennings in the middle of the night. She immediately sent out a tweet asking others what they felt. Throughout the day, she was barraged with tweets.

The first social media reports came from local residents, but soon emergency officials, including Napa police, were using Twitter and other social media to get out critical information.

Media outlets helped by retweeting important news to a much wider audience.

"What happened was the electricity went out so a lot of people didn't have TV," said Mayor Techel. But they had cellphones and used them during the disaster response.

In Napa social media linked quake victims to family and friends, and connected lost animals to owners. Social media, which included photos and video, reported the event to the broader Bay Area and brought help to those who suffered losses and damage, demonstrating the incredible resilience of the Bay Area community.

"It helped people connect," Techel said. "It helped people find out what was happening, helped people be able to come here and help. There was all sorts of people helping people."

Social media was accepted as a major tool in disaster response during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Now it is part of emergency planning in communities throughout the Bay Area.

Click here for the original story. Click here for details on the one-year anniversary, and click here for full coverage on the South Napa Earthquake.