• Failed/ineffective communication during
    crisis and non-crisis events can lead to higher numbers of injuries and deaths.

  • “Communications could have been better”
    —Maria Galvez, Emergency Management Coordinator
    City of Katy, TX, after 8 people perished in floods.

    (Houston Chronicle)

  • “Tuesday’s severe weather ‘bust’ is a communication wake-up call.”
    —Bill Bunting, Operations Chief, Storm Prediction Center
    (Washington Post)

  • “Flooded...trains were the result of a communication breakdown.”
    —Bob Nelson, TriMet Deputy General Manager
    (The Oregonian)

Welcome to the Public Affairs Science and Technology (PAST) Fusion Cell and PAST Fusion Cell Academy at Argonne National Laboratory, a first-of-its-kind research, and training facility that seeks to draw forward-thinking public affairs professionals and social scientists from across the globe.

Our mission… “Learn from the PAST and Prepare for the Future.” Our vision… “Bridge the gap between public affairs practice and social science” in an effort to improve all aspects of communication as it relates to emergency management.


Monitor, observe and conduct real-time research

The PAST Fusion Cell looks to partner with local, state, and federal governments during natural or intelligent adversary disasters, states of emergency, National Special Security Events, etc. for the purpose of conducting “Live Research.” The PAST Fusion Cell can deploy boots-on-the-ground or standup a Virtual Analytic Cell (VAC) for the purposes of collecting and analyzing news and…

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Explore and apply the science of communication

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving arena of public affairs, traditional data collection and statistical analysis are not enough. To maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of critical messaging public information officers can be supported by the use of socio-behavioral analysis, preparedness doctrine analysis, protective action decision making analysis, agent-based modeling, anticipatory results, and extrapolative forecasting. The science of communication can assist public information officers to make the best real-world public affairs decisions.

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  • Twitter Media Studio Getting Started Guide

    Twitter has released a ‘Getting Started Guide‘ for businesses and agencies to use its Media Studio which is a platform to manage, measure and monetize your videos on Twitter. You can access the Guide at: Twitter Media Studio Getting Started Guide. … Read More

  • Online Training for Public Engagement During Emergencies on Facebook

    PAST Fusion Cell staff along with subject-matter experts from the DOE/NNSA Emergency Management Issues Specialist Interest Group (EMI SIG) Emergency Public Information Subcommittee has developed and released an online training on how to engage with the public via Facebook during an emergency. This self-paced course… Read More

  • Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad

    Improving the Accessibility of Social Media for Public Service The following contains the shared document for the development of the Social Media Policy Toolkit, a shared service of the Federal Social Media Community of Practice lead by teams including The Department of Labor’s Office… Read More

  • "Countering False Information on Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies" White Paper

    The Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management (SMWGESDM) a subcommittee of the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee (HSSTAC) has published their latest white paper “Countering False Information on Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies.” Rumors, misinformation and false information… Read More

  • Managing Social Media Before & During a Crisis (Infographic)

    Social media represents a paradigm shift in the way the world communicates today. It has afforded people unprecedented access to social platforms unlike ever before and empowered them to communicate on their own terms utilizing the latest technology. Click on image for… Read More