10.3 National Weather Service MAS Team: Providing Services to Spanish Speaking Communities During High Impact Events

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 11:00 AM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Maria M. Torres, NWSFO, Miami, FL

Inspired by the heavy demand of Spanish social media interaction during high impact events like hurricane Matthew last year, a team of forecasters and managers from NWS offices from Austin/San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Miami, and the NWS Southern Region Headquarters developed a new experimental team - Multimedia Assistance in Spanish or “MAS”. The team provides Spanish-language social media support to those offices that do not have the staffing to provide those services. Similar to the NWS Supplemental Assistance Volunteer Initiative (SAVI) team, MAS provides virtual Spanish-language social media support through Skype and telephone interviews in close coordination with the Social Media Coordinator of the requesting office. The support team consists of fluent Spanish-language writers and speakers across Southern Region offices, which support each other during a high impact weather event. The MAS team will lend a helping hand to all offices with a need for Spanish-language services, including those who may have Spanish-language communicators on station but require additional assistance due to heavy workload during a high-impact event.

For those offices where the Spanish demand is great and a high-impact weather event is anticipated, a forecaster can coordinate through NWSChat for any quick short fused request that could come up. This team will be able to greatly assist the NWS mission of protecting life and property. Through social media, virtual interviews, and traditional telephone interviews, we have found a very effective and powerful resource to reach out to Spanish speaking communities in order to offer the best support possible.

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