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My Personal Passion Crosses Into My Profession

Here’s some thinking outside the box on a Saturday morning – this happens to me when I sleep in.

After drinking my coffee while I read my paper, I opened my Facebook to take a peek this morning and came across an Amber Alert. Long story short, my curiosity about the urgency and its validity gave me cause to investigate and share a couple of thoughts.


The first responder trained into me kicked in. While I’m just ending my ski season as a Ski Patroller, I think my responder skills do not have an “end of season” cycle. Keeping with momentum, here’s my take on using social media as a tool to respond to someone in distress year ’round:

My case study:
I read an Amber Alert in my news stream;
I followed the link to the incident report, made an assessment that the story was valid, determined the risk to injury was high, and that I could be of assistance. I shared the alert, and posted the following:

This is a call to my first responder colleagues: An Actual Active Amber Alert.

We can help when we are able to recognize the value of social media as a way to respond to such things as this Active Amber Alert. If there’s a link to a reputable back end, (witness or reporter of the incident) there’s more likely the reason to trust passing on the information to others after a quick assessment. It’s all about the ability to recognize the validity of the information so you become a trusted source. This is a valid way of being in service. I choose to help using a template system identified by the acronyms WISH and VALID.

After you use the acronyms a couple of times, you’ll autopilot through your quick assessment. The acronym WISH stands for Where did the report come from, Incident description, Share the info, Help others. Injected into the Incident description is the additional Acronym VALID.  As a responder you want to know if the report is valid, if the source and story is credible, and the risk to your being a trusted source. Keep in mind we are trained for safety (trust) first- in a priority line, we must care for ourselves (remain trustworthy) first so that we can continue to care (be trusted by) for others.

The acronym VALID stands for Verify the story and from whence it came, Accept responsibility for sharing the information, Location of incident, Inject your comment, Dispense the information. It’s easy for me to remember the acronyms by thinking of the statement, “I wish it were valid – then I can help.”

The templated process is simple and helpful: When you’re reading your stream, catch site of an opportunity to help, put your WISH hat on, Where, Incident, [Verify, Accept, Location, Inject, Dispense] Share, and Help.

Alone we are but one voice – together, we are a louder voice.

Just ‘sayin


Reading Mat’l


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