Social media can be a lifesaving tool in emergencies
A Tennessee county is leveraging social media to save lives. Jamison Peevyhouse is emergency 911 director for Weakley County, Tenn., and he shared his social-media experiences and acumen recently during the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) conference in Long Beach, Calif.
Peevyhouse started by tossing out a bunch of interesting statistics. First, 18 percent of Americans use social media to get information about emergencies, while 24 percent use social tools to let others know that they’re safe in the aftermath of such an event. To illustrate his point — that public-safety agencies need to pay attention to social media, if they aren’t already — he pointed to last year’s earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. In the immediate aftermath, more than 1,200 tweets per minute were being transmitted from Tokyo alone, so many that the hashtags #earthquake and #tsunami trended almost immediately, Peevyhouse said.
He also said that 80 percent of Americans expect public safety to monitor social media, and more than one-third of them expect first responders to arrive at their front door within one hour of them posting such a need to a social-networking site.