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October 10, 2012

Over Half of Canadians Think Emergency Response Teams Should be Using Social Media

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

Although emergency response teams and social media may seem like a radical combination, according to a new survey by the Canadian Red Cross, over half of Canadians think that fire departments and police departments should be utilizing social networking.

The survey results showed some interesting trends, highlighting how social media is now influencing absolutely everything: 63 percent of Canadians believe that emergency responders should be able to answer calls for help on Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert), 54 percent would use social networking sites to inform others if they are safe, and 31 percent said that they would prefer emergency alerts via mobile communications or social, rather than through television and radio. 

Image via Shutterstock

Interestingly, 35 percent of those who responded to the survey believe that fire and police departments would currently respond to requests made through social media and three out of four of those responders believe that help would arrive in one hour or less.

Whether or not the idea of making requests for emergency help through social media is one that is really realistic, this survey shows that Canadians are definitely interested in such an option and would be amenable to the idea of posting non-emergency requests on social media. By using social media for non-emergency situations, there would be tremendous potential for savings in time and money, as well as making sure that those with genuine emergencies are served first. 

Emergency updates via social media sites and mobile alerts would be something that would make more sense for a number of reasons, primarily that very few television viewers receive the alerts as they are being made, as most people are watching recorded shows hours and even days later.

What the Canadian Red Cross will do with the results of this survey is still unclear.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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