Increasing Use of Social Media in Disasters

In a recent post we discussed how social media was playing an immediate and important role in disaster recovery efforts after the Haiti earthquake.

Now a survey from the American Red Cross shows that web users increasingly rely on social media to seek help in a disaster, and expect first responders to be listening.

It found that if they needed help and couldn’t reach 9-1-1, one in five would try to contact responders through a digital means such as email, websites or social media.

The survey also showed that 69 percent said that emergency responders should be monitoring social media sites in order to quickly send help – and nearly half believe a response agency is probably already responding to any urgent request they might see.

In addition web users expect a quick response to an online appeal for help – with 74 percent expecting help to come less than an hour after their tweet or Facebook post.

The survey also found that among web users, social media sites are the fourth most popular source for emergency information, just behind television news, radio and online news sites.

More web users say they get their emergency information from social media than from NOAA weather radio, government websites or emergency text message systems.

And about half would sign up for emails, text alerts, or applications to get emergency  information such as location of food/water, evacuation routes and shelter locations.

Check out ReadWriteWeb blog for more on this story. Check out information on I.I.I. social media tools and websites here.

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