London Fire Brigade considers Twitter for 999 emergencies
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) say they are looking into launching the world’s first 999 Twitter feed.
The London Fire Brigade started using Twitter and Facebook just two years ago. Their Twitter feed relays real-time information about incidents occurring across the city; @LondonFire has over 30,000 followers. Their Facebook account engages with the public about fire safety issues and the work of the brigade.
The success of their social media campaign has prompted the LFB to, this morning, tweet: “Could Twitter be used to report emergencies in the future?” adding that people ought to still call 999, “for now”.
They also stressed that @LondonFire is not currently continuously manned, so people should not use it to report emergencies.
Responses to the news highlighted concerns about confidentiality and an increase in hoax callers. One user, Mark Waddington, replied “…I wouldn’t want my 999 emergency made public”.
The LFB are the UK’s first emergency service to explore the use of social media in reporting emergencies, but are working with the government, the Met Police and London Ambulance Service to establish the possibility of its application.
Rita Dexter, deputy commissioner of London Fire Brigade, said: “When it was first set up in 1935, people said that dialling 999 to report emergencies would never work. Today BT handles over 30 million emergency calls each year. It’s time to look at new ways for people to report emergencies quickly and efficiently and social media could provide the answer in the future.”