VOST
Virtual Operations Support Team

The Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST) is a flexible, tested solution to public information management needs. These teams support their organization with actionable, real-time intelligence to improve outcomes, enhance common operating picture, and engage critical stakeholders.

The VOST concept was developed in 2010-2011 by a group of passionate emergency management communicators and technologists interested in harnessing social media during disasters, crises, and critical events.

Through the comprehensive VOST Training & Exercise Package, Epicenter Media & Training partners with local, county, state, or regional agencies to create a sophisticated, virtual team and force-multiplier for a variety of agencies. VOST is a flexible, tested solution to public information management needs. These teams support their organization with actionable, real-time intelligence to improve outcomes, enhance a common operating picture, and engage critical stakeholders.

VOST Capabilities
  • Actionable, Real-time Intelligence
  • Social Media Listening & Reporting Crowdsourced
  • Information Gathering
  • Crisis Mapping
  • Incident Analytics & Archiving
  • Amplification & Curation
  • Misinformation & Rumor Management
  • Virtual Operations Support
VOST Goals
  • Build a sustainable, collaborative and integrated team of professionals to support crisis/emergency management
  • Leverage volunteers and existing staff to assist with emergency communications and information gathering
  • Train personnel to utilize new media platforms to improve crisis & emergency communications

VOST TRAINING & EXERCISE PROGRAM

Launch Workshop

Drive buy-in, explore VOST mission areas, begin planning & team development process

•  Team structure & responsibilities
•  Products & deliverables
•  Tools & resources
•  Activation protocols
•  Handbook development &  developmental planning

Initial Training Session

Provide personnel with the knowledge, skills and abilities to respond as part of a VOST at the local, county, state or regional level

•  Team structure & responsibilities
•  Products & deliverables
•  Tools & resources
•  Social media listening techniques
•  Team collaboration/coordination

Tabletop Exercise

Exercise initial capabilities and ensure VOST expectations and performance are managed appropriately

•  Discussion-based TTX
•  Developed and facilitated by  MEPs and/or subject-matter experts
•  Includes Situation Manual  (SitMan), After Action Report, and  Improvement Plan

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Actionable Intelligence

Your VOST can monitor disasters, crises and planned events – all in real-time.

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Rumor Management

A well-trained VOST can amplify good messages and squash misinformation.

Virtual Operation

VOST supports on-site operations through virtual support.

“Epicenter Media & Training did a great job
customizing our program to meet our needs.

They bring expert knowledge to the table combined with a dynamic, interactive training format. To top it off, their personnel understand the political context of
emergency management and helped us position our new VOST for
success by designing a VIP info session for us.

You’re not just getting a trainer, you’re getting a coach and facilitator.”

Allyson Schulz, MPH

Connecticut VOST

Frequently Asked Questions

Why VOST?

VOSTs are a sophisticated, virtual team and force-multiplier for a variety of agencies. VOST is a flexible, tested solution to public information management needs. A VOST will support their organization with actionable, real-time intelligence to improve outcomes, enhance common operating picture, and engage critical stakeholders.

The Virtual Operations Support Team model has been tested and utilized across the globe (there are more than 50 worldwide). These teams support on-site operations and provide valuable force-multiplication, continuity, and other benefits to host agencies and partners.

What about pricing?

The VOST training/exercise package is built on a tiered pricing structure that includes training, exercises, and other developmental opportunities; due to the vast number of customizations available to fledgling Virtual Operations Support Teams and the complex nature of VOST programming, these pricing tiers can vary.

VOST is both simple and scalable, but it is not a “cookie-cutter” approach. This means, from the first time you reach out to the Epicenter Media & Training team, the VOST Training & Exercise Program is “right-sized” to your organization’s unique needs and customizations. The result is a powerful, fully-functioning team that is built just for your agency and its unique expectations!

What is included in the VOST Training & Exercise Package?

The VOST Training & Exercise Program was built to take an agency with little exposure to the Virtual Operations Support Team concept to the next level. Organizations are guided by experienced VOST experts through planning, policy and handbook development, recruitment/retention campaigning, in-person and virtual training courses, tabletop and functional exercises, and a variety of other services.

This program has been delivered across the United States. If your organization has ever been interested in VOST, please reach out!

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