Twitter, Facebook viable options in disasters

5:52 PM, May 21, 2013   |    comments
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By Tracy Clemons

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Much of the story from the devastated parts of Oklahoma is being told through social media.

We've learned that social media can actually help save lives after disaster.

Staffers at the St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center work with a new group called the Social Media Collaboration Group to monitor sites like Facebook and Twitter during a disaster.

Emergency officials from several states look for any information that could help first responders find damage and people who are trapped. This group helped the EOC after the Hazelwood tornado last month.

"They'll compile reports," said GIS Programmer Brett Lord-Castillo. "If they find reports of damage, people trapped, they'll forward it to us as a compiled report every 15 minutes and we can take that and act on that...give that information directly to first responders in the field."

Lord-Castillo says calling 911 is the best option in a disaster, but if the lines are clogged, tweeting is the fastest way to get your info to first responders.

He said they monitor #StlWx on Twitter very closely. And the most immediate way to get to his office, and get a first responder to where you may be trapped is to tweet them @StlCoOEM.


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