In times of crisis, it is important for emergency services to be able to deliver critical information to the public as quickly as possible.
And as the UK faces severe, repeated weather and flood warnings, we’ve been working with those services to ensure that Twitter is as useful as possible to those on the front line.
Today we are pleased to welcome 38 UK fire brigades to the Twitter Alerts programme, giving them more tools to help deliver critical information to the public in times of crisis.
Twitter Alerts came to the UK & Ireland in November 2013 with 57 participating organisations signing up. The addition of the fire services brings the total number of participating UK and Ireland organisations to 95 - see a list here. These join organisations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, USA, Japan and Korea (a full list can be seen here).
Twitter users can sign up to receive Twitter Alerts from any participating account. When that account Tweets with an emergency message, users receive an SMS or push notification directly to their phone.
Twitter Alerts are also designed to capture users’ attention, with the orange bell standing out from other Tweets on followers’ Timelines and across twitter.com, as well as the Twitter mobile apps. They are also marked with the hashtag #alert.
Twitter Alerts have already been used by several organisations in the UK to communicate in times of crisis.
The Environment Agency (@EnvAgency) have made use of the service to update users on flood warnings:
As did @NorfolkPolice when advising residents of evacuations:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (@FCOtravel) used Twitter Alerts to update users on an emergency situation overseas:
Sam Thomas, Communications Manager at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (@manchesterfire), said: “During any emergency, getting safety information out to the public is really important. Social media has changed the way we do that because it is immediate and reaches so many people in a short space of time.
“Twitter has become one of our key tools as it gives us a different way of speaking directly to the community to give them advice on how they can keep themselves and their homes safe. We’re pleased to be joining the Twitter Alerts programme, which will allow us to increase the visibility of critical messages in times of emergency.”