Monday, April 6, 2009

Social networking sites and public safety-an article for you

Here is an interesting article,sent in by our CERT blog calendar guru Micah. This article is another example of the public safety sector tapping in to the power of the internet to get information out quickly to citizens. While you are looking at the DC fire site; check out the Fairfax County CERT page on Facebook too
your volunteer PIO

DC Fire/EMS Wants to Be Your Friend on Facebook

The city's fire department has embraced Web 2.0 and is on the hunt for a few more "friends" and followers.

DC Fire/EMS spokesman Alan Etter said today that the department is on Facebook and on Twitter. On Facebook search for "DC FireEMS" and on Twitter, follow the department's latest updates through "dcfireems."

On Twitter -- a service that allows people to follow updates, or "tweets" from other people -- Etter plans to post breaking news and other department updates. DC Fire/EMS's last "tweet" was on Sat. Apr 4, at 5:05 p.m. That said, "working fire - 3421 M St., NW - no injuries - commercial bldg."

This approach is one way for DC Fire/EMS to compete with private paging services that listen to police and fire scanners and send out short alerts to subscribers, including several media organizations. Etter alluded to the competition in a note to local reporters: "I know there are services that describe events as well -- these will be OFFICIAL updates and will -- hopefully -- offer useable details." Meanwhile, in the department's Facebook profile you can see lots of photos of figrefighters and a video of DC Fire/EMS recruit class graduation.

On Facebook, the online presence of local law enforcement is growing. Among them, groups like "Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1- Auxiliary," "Friends Of Prince George's County Sheriff Deputies" and "Virginia State Police." Of course, lots of these groups are invite-only. But hey, you never know who might be looking for more "friends."

Theola Labbé-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose | April 6, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Category: Crime and Public Safety , Theola Labbé-DeBose