Twitter has launched a new service called Twitter Alerts to help governments and aid agencies send warnings and alerts during disasters.
The real-time nature of Twitter will allow organisations to quickly spread the word about evuacation procedures or the locations of nearby hospitals, so people can find the help the need in real-time at times of emergency. On the official Twitter blog Product Manager Gaby Peña described the service as:
Twitter Alerts is a new way to get accurate and important information when you need it most.
Users who sign up for the service will receive a notification every time the government and aid organisation accounts tweet a message and mark it as an alert, with the alerts indicated by an “orange bell”. To sign up users just need to head to the account of the group they wish to receive alerts from, such as this FEMA page, and click teh “Activate Alerts” button.
Twitter is looking to roll out this feature to a wide number of organisations, with US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Tokyo’s Disaster Prevention service, and the World Health Organization (WHO) available at launch.
This launch comes a year after the launch of Twitter Lifeline for Japan which helps people find emergency accounts in a crisis.