Help family members and friends by becoming an Information Ambassador

ANALYSIS: The wind storms, power outages and other weather-related events of the past week throughout the Allegany County region, along with potentially dangerous windchills this coming week, are once again demonstrating the need for individuals and communities to come together to share information and support one another.

During the past eight days, over 125 people have “Joined” our Allegany Hope Community News group Facebook page, bringing the number at this writing to just shy of 900 individuals.

Others have used our website at https://alleganyhopewny.org to go deeper by using the local, regional and national links on our exclusive Weather Resources page to learn more, and to be able to use the Search feature to check out related stories easily.

The reach on individual stories we have published have ranged from some 1,500 people to more than 6,500 as those who haven’t Joined and individuals from other areas check in on what is happening in Allegany County.

Additional reach needed
This means, however, that only a limited percentage of the area’s population are connecting with important information which can impact them and their families.

In addition to not knowing about this free service, lack of connections may be due to no or unreliable internet service, non-use of Facebook and other information pages, and almost 40 percent of the population being under 18-years-of-age or 65-and-older who may not be obtaining local news.

In addition, as we have reported previously, Facebook only reaches a small fraction of individuals who actually have Liked or Joined a page, due to the algorithms Facebook uses to screen dissemination. In the past, for example, we have had a post with potential for a tornado reach several thousand readers but an actual tornado warning having a significantly smaller reach.

That is the reason Allegany Hope switched over to our public group Facebook page 11 months ago this weekend. Individuals who have Joined the group are much more likely to receive links in their News Feeds or Notifications alerts, although one still has to click over to our main page from time to time to see what might have been missed.

How an individual can help
You can help get information to family members and friends, which may be important to them, by becoming a volunteer Information Ambassador.

There are no requirements or obligations to serve in this capacity, with someone able to do one or more of the following to Help Serve One Another:

— Pass on information which might be of interest to others, particularly those which have to do with life-impacting situations.

This can be done, at minimum, by Liking, Sharing or Commenting on a Facebook post. Each such action increases the chances for Facebook spread.

Additional ways are to keep family members and friends informed by passing on important, reliable information you have obtained, either in person, by telephone or an internet or text message, providing a link to that report.

— In the case of adverse weather, check on others, particularly the elderly and disabled, in advance, during and after an event, to help determine any needs they may have.

— Determine where warming and shelter facilities are located and what are offered there, such as handicapped accessibility, snacks or food, phone recharging capabilities, overnight accommodations, and shelter for different types of pets. Also determine how you can find out when they will be, and are, in operation.

— Encourage churches and other organizations with which you may be involved to provide such facilities and services, either individually or on a cooperative, non-duplicative basis with others, and encourage them to let their communities know what they are doing, how it will work, and how they will get information to others.

— As it relates to weather, encourage organizations with which you are familiar or involved to become National Weather Service Weather-Ready Nation AmbassadorsTM to help improve and promote “the nation’s readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against extreme weather, water, and climate events.”

Information is available at https://bit.ly/3pw4jp5.

Also, encourage them, upon receiving the designation, to join with Allegany Hope, which has been a Weather-Ready Nation AmbassadorTM through several of its components from near the start of this national initiative, to work together to enhance the weather information education and reporting system throughout Allegany County and beyond.

Additional information dissemination
— Post appropriate, reliable Comments to Facebook posts to let others know or forward information to Allegany Hope at www.AlleganyHopeWNY@outlook.com or (585) 664-9989 for appropriate consolidation and dissemination.

Although these suggestions are based on current weather-related circumstances, this also applies to other situations throughout the year:

— Encourage local governments and community organizations to let the public know what they do and the services they offer on other than a limited basis.

Most people are unaware of this information unless they actually have used specific services in the past or hear about them through low-rated Facebook posts which oftentimes provide information which isn’t clearly stated for general public consumption.

— Event organizers can use our Submit an Event link on our website to forward information about free and primarily-free activities which are open to the public.

— Individuals can forward information for publication consideration and research which is believed to have a potential impact upon community residents and their families.

— Individuals, including older youth who are interested in any variety of topics, such as government, physical, mental/emotional and spiritual health, public safety, education or other subjects which are related to Building Healthy Communities Through Healthy FamiliesTM,, can volunteer to become contributors to Allegany Hope Community News.

You can become an Information Ambassador immediately by sharing this story with family members and friends and encourage them to become the same, helping to create community networks to help those around us.

Be Aware. Be Prepared. Stay Safe.TM and help to serve yourself, your family and others.