Gardaí sign up to use Twitter’s emergency alerts service
Users will receive receive SMS or ‘push’ notification on phone when account posts a tweet marked as an alert
Twitter introduced the programme after those stranded by Hurricane Sandy in the US last year turned to the social network for help
Twitter has extended its emergency alert system to Ireland and Britain, with the Garda among the first agencies to sign up for the service.
Twitter Alerts, which was launched initially in the US, Japan and Korea in September, is a feature that is designed to bring important and accurate information to Twitter users from emergency services, government organisations and charities during emergency situations such as natural disasters or when other communications services are not available.
Those who sign up to receive alerts from certain Twitter accounts will receive a notification to their phone when the account posts a tweet marked as an alert. Those notifications will come via SMS and push notifications for iOS and Android smartphones.
On a user’s Twitter timeline, alerts are highlighted with an orange bell to make sure they stand out.
Among those accounts that are eligible to sign up to issue alerts are those from police and public safety agencies, city governments, national agencies and NGOs.
Other accounts that have signed up for the service are the London fire brigade, the mayor of London’s office, Britain’s foreign office and the environment agency.
Twitter introduced the alerts programme after the power of the microblogging service was demonstrated when those stranded by Hurricane Sandy in the US last year turned to Twitter for help. Official agencies, such as the New York City fire department, also used the microblogging platform to communicate with residents during the storm.
In 2012, Twitter unveiled Lifeline in Japan, which allowed residents to find helpful accounts during times of natural disaster and trouble.
Since its launch a few months ago, Twitter Alerts has been used to alert citizens in the US to the effects of the recent government shutdown, tornado warnings in New Jersey and alerts about abducted children.