Sep 11, 2009

Can FaceBook Be Used in an Emergency?

Can Facebook Be Used in an Emergency?

According to a recent report out of Australia covered by two young girls, ages 10 and 12 years old, used their FaceBook status updates to alert friends that they were stuck in an underground sewer in Adelaide, Australia. Their FaceBook friends did contact emergency services for them, and they were rescued, but the emergency services personnel who did the rescue were upset the two girls hadn’t called them directly.

Though those heroic firefighters did manage to rescue the girls, some of them are upset that the two didn’t call them directly, and opted to contact friends instead. While the author would certainly agree that calling emergency services is usually the best answer, it’s also noteworthy that the two young girls might’ve been smarter to have used the update system of FaceBook and Twitter.

Here in the US, and especially in the larger cities, our 911 system can get busy. Being put on hold with a dying cell phone battery could have resulted in tragedy for the two un-named Australian girls. Information shared via social networking sites like FaceBook can get information around faster since most people are contacting friends and family with a status update.

But what about other life-threatening situations, such as home invasion, for example? Do you want the burglar to overhear you whispering to the 911 operator? Would it be good if the criminal heard the 911 operator answering you? While such a scenario might realistically scare an invader off, it’s not a bet many of us would like our loved ones to make. A FaceBook status update could serve well under such circumstances.

With the technology of today, it seems that 911 emergency services should

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