Social media in emergency management

Meet VOST - The heroes in pyjamas

Social media in emergency management














Volunteering in emergency response and civil protection has changed a lot during the last year. The emergence of social networks has introduced new means of collaboration, such as crowdsourcing initiatives.

Around Europe and the world, Virtual Operations Support Teams, or VOST, are becoming more and more prevalent. Digital volunteers have turned to social media to support emergency services and public authorities during crises and contribute to the safety of people.

But what do you know about the heroes behind the screens? The time has come for any questions you have about the “heroes in pyjamas” to be answered.

The document introduces the concept of VOST digital volunteering and goes through the proven track record of these teams in supporting authorities in emergencies with social media emergency management (SMEM).

Find examples of successful VOST, information on how to get involved as well as case studies of VOST activity during disasters including recent terrorist attacks in Europe. Consistent with all EENA documents, the publication ends with detailed recommendations and requirements.


EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is a Brussels-based NGO set up in 1999 dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout the EU. EENA serves as a discussion platform for emergency services, public authorities, decision makers, researchers, associations and solution providers with a view to improving the emergency response in accordance with citizens' requirements. EENA is also promoting the establishment of an efficient system for alerting citizens about imminent or developing emergencies.

The EENA memberships include more than 1300 emergency services representatives from over 80 countries world-wide, 80 solution providers, 15 international associations/organisations, more than 200 Members of the European Parliament and over 90 researchers.