It is little wonder that emergency services are looking for alternative ways to ensure the public remains safe. From bonfires to fireworks to sparklers to parties, the holiday season is ripe with potential incidents.

Yet can social media really offer them the opportunities they are looking for? It would appear so…

According to reports, a number of Fire Services harnessed Twitter to help keep their local communities aware of their call outs and activities as well as offer the public advice on how to safely handle fireworks.

And it worked!

With over 6400 Twitter Followers, West Midlands Fire Services was able to take advantage of Twitter’s ‘real time’ features and send regular updates to their followers describing their activities.

In addition, they also did live video streams of incidents they dealt with to show the reality of fireworks and the dangers they can present when used incorrectly as the image below shows which highlights more recent public dangers.

 

Can social media be used to improve public safety?

Used correctly, yes it can!

Not only can social media enable you to interact with a larger audience base; its potential for live video streams means emergency services can also show the public how to safely handle bonfires, warn of the dangers of frozen ponds and prevent any unnecessary accidents.

Similarly, by making themselves more accessible through Twitter this can enable the public to get their questions answered as well as allow them to gain a greater understanding of the risks our emergency services take to ensure our safety.

Can anyone use social media?

Yes. Whether you are attracted by the real time features on Twitter or want to establish a community on Facebook; used correctly social media can create a number of opportunities for emergency services and businesses alike.

It is all a matter of making sure you are sending out the right message…

Step One: What are you trying to achieve? What is your ultimate goal from setting up a Twitter or Facebook account? Are you seeking to keep people informed? Are you trying to establish a relationship? Or is your aim to improve your business and reputation?

Step Two: Have you got time to manage it? Creating an account is not enough, you need to regularly add new content to keep your followers engaged and interested. Have you got someone who can do this? If not, it may be wise to employ an agency who can manage your accounts; keep them up-to-date and help you to increase your following.

Step Three: What kind of posts/statuses do you want to do? Is your goal solely to keep your followers abreast of your activities or do you want your posts to teach, inform and enlighten their experience?

As you can see, there is more to using social media than creating account. You need to take into consideration your audience and what you are hoping to achieve.

However, as the actions of the West Midlands Fire Service clearly proves: use this medium correctly and Twitter can help you to keep your followers safe and informed.

For more information on how to use social media to improve your business, contact NuSocial

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