Twitter partners with FEMA, American Red Cross and others for emergency alerts feature

The service is designed to deliver critical information during emergencies

Twitter wants to bolster its position as a go-to source of information during emergencies and other crises with a new notifications feature.

Twitter Alerts is designed to let credible organizations enhance the visibility of certain tweets when other communications services are not available. It is intended for crises, disaster and emergency communications such as warnings of imminent dangers, preventive instructions, evacuation directions and crowd management.

"Twitter Alerts is a new way to get accurate and important information when you need it most," Twitter product manager Gaby Pena said Wednesday.

More than 100 nongovernmental organizations and government agencies in the U.S., Japan and Korea are participating in the program. In the U.S., those groups include the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Japan and Korea, other participating groups include Tenki.JP, as well as global nonprofit groups. The service will be expanded to include more public institutions and NGOs around the world, Twitter said.

Alerts is available to local, national and international institutions that provide critical information to the general public, Twitter said. Organizations interested in joining can fill out an enrollment form.

A notification will be sent to a Twitter user's phone via SMS whenever an organization they've signed up with designates a tweet as an alert. If the user has Twitter's app for iOS or Android-powered devices, a push notification will also be sent. Alerts will be marked with an orange bell, Twitter said.

Users can subscribe to the notifications from the organization's setup page, such as FEMA's. On the Web, users will also be able to see if an organization is participating in the program when they visit the group's profile page.

The service follows Twitter's introduction last year of Lifeline, a tool to help Japanese users find emergency accounts during crises. Since then, the site has been working on a related feature for people worldwide, Twitter's Pena said.

Twitter is already a popular source of information during emergencies, crises and other high-profile events, but misinformation can be easily spread through the service. After the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year, many people turned to Twitter for updates, but inaccurate information and hoaxes were also posted to the site.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesAmerican Red CrossFEMAsocial networkingtwittersocial mediainternetsearch engines

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?