Twitter’s emergency alert service went live on Tuesday.
The new service from Twitter allows governments at the local, national and international levels to post alerts during crises. Also included in the list of organizations that can post these type of alerts are the World Health Organization and the American Red Cross. Users can sign up to receive alerts, which will be forwarded to their mobile devices. The alerts will look different than a normal Tweet and are designed to warn people about natural disasters, severe weather, explosions, food or agricultural incidents and terrorism. Organizations can only post a limited number of alerts within an hour, but can continue to post normal Tweets, reports The Washington Post.
“When news breaks about a weather or safety emergency, government agencies and emergency responders jump into action on the ground and on Twitter, delivering critical and timely information and engaging with constituents,” Bridget Coyne, who handles government and politics at Twitter, wrote on a blog. “We saw this following Superstorm Sandy, the tsunami in Japan, and the manhunt in Boston.”