More people turning to social media in emergencies

The general public is increasingly using social media, mobile technology and online news outlets during disasters, according to a survey by the American Red Cross, Modern Healthcare reports. The two-part survey — conducted by ORC International on behalf of the organization — polled 1,011 individuals by telephone and 1,046 people online in five days. About 24 percent of the general public and 31 percent of those online said they would use social media to notify their friends and family that they are safe during a disaster situation. In addition, 80 percent of the general public and 69 percent of the online respondents said they believe national emergency response organizations should monitor social media sites routinely to prepare for prompt responses. Among online survey respondents, 39 percent said they expect first responders to arrive less than an hour after pleas for help are posted online. The Red Cross also found that 63 percent of the general public said they turn to online news during emergencies, while 90 percent said they rely on television news and 73 percent seek radio news; 18 percent of the general public said they use Facebook to find information, while 5 percent use Twitter. 6 percent of the general public said they would “definitely” sign up for email or text alerts or other ways to receive safety information, while 21 percent said they “probably” would.

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