Using Social Media to Communicate with the Occupants of Large Residential Buildings During Fire Emergencies [open pdf - 2MB]
"In 2011, the occupants of a residential high-rise building in downtown Austin brought a life-safety concern to the attention of the Austin Fire Department (AFD). The problem was that AFD has limited ability to communicate with the occupants of large residential buildings during fire emergencies. Using the descriptive method of research, a five-month pilot program utilizing Twitter to communicate with the occupants of three large residential buildings during fire emergencies was developed and implemented.The pilot program was designed to answer these research questions concerning the use of social media to communicate with the occupants of large residential buildings during fire emergencies; how effective is it, what difficulties are associated with it and how well do AFD members and the building occupants accept it? In addition, research was also conducted to discover if and how other fire departments utilize social media for communicating with occupants of large residential buildings. The purpose of this research was to determine if social media could be utilized by AFD to effectively communicate with the occupants of large residential buildings during fire emergencies. The results indicated that Twitter can successfully be utilized for this purpose. However, there were several difficulties identified with this form of communication, both human-related and technological.In order to successfully continue the AFD Twitter program, recommendations were made to increase the number of building occupants participating in the program, reassign the responsibility of sending the messages and reduce the number of messages sent during an emergency."
U.S. Fire Administration. National Fire Academy: https://nfa.usfa.fema.gov/