Digital Volunteer Supported Recovery Operations Experiment (DVSROE)

November 2014

Project Summary

International Safety Research (ISR) was tasked with developing the ground-breaking Digital Volunteer Supported Recovery Operations Experiment (DVSROE) which was used to test if cooperation between organizations using social media led to improved recovery operations following a disaster. The exercise tested digital volunteers, traditional emergency management and humanitarian organizations listening and communicating to the public through the use of social media. Information was presented to the participants using ISR’s innovative exercise website which provided similar applications to popular social media tools (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) in a closed and safe environment. Participants and their respective organizations performed their normal recovery operation tasks while following the Social Media in Emergency Management (SMEM) Concept of Operations (ConOp), as applicable. The experiment was very successful and was featured widely in Halifax media.

ISR developed DVSROE on behalf of Defence Research and Development Canada's Centre for Security Sciences (DRDC CSS) to evaluate the social media cooperation between regional and provincial levels of government, the Canadian Red Cross and digital volunteers during the recovery phase of an emergency. The experiment was designed to meet the main objectives of the collective organizations as well as any lower tier objectives of individual organizations.

The team at ISR facilitated the design of the experiment as well as its conduct. Over 2300 relevant social media injects were developed in order to facilitate player interaction through the use of ISR’s secure exercise website. The experiment was led by a Controller with support of a simulation cell. The Lead Controller facilitated discussion to aid the participants in organizing their response and ensuring that discussions reached back to the exercise objectives. ISR also designed, supported and facilitated an orientation for the experiment.

ISR developed and implemented an evaluation framework to support the measurement and reporting of the results of the experiment. The data was collected in two phases and was subjected to a qualitative evaluation using a set of tailored metrics. The results demonstrated that the cooperation between Emergency Management organizations has the potential to improve recovery operations through the use of social media and social media aided collaboration.

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