DORAL, FL – Facebook launches Local Alerts tool to serve as a life-saving information platform during emergencies.
How will it work? According to The Verge, this new feature will allow local governments and first responders to send messages during an emergency, through their Facebook accounts, by marking their posts as a ‘local alert’.
As a result, Facebook followers of such pages will receive amplified information in their news feeds and will even get notifications.
According to a website powered By News Republic, Local Alerts has been tested since last year in 300 cities such as Charlotte, St. Louis and Miami.
The good news is that Local Alerts now will be offered across the United States by the end of this year.
“Since early 2018, we’ve partnered with local authorities across the country to test this new free tool designed to help them communicate urgent, need-to-know information when it directly affects people in their communities or requires them to take action,” Facebook Product Manager Anthea Watson Strong wrote in an announcement, as reported by Geek.com
The main benefit of Local Alerts is that people caught up in any kind of emergency will receive reliable information that could potentially save their lives.
According to Geek.co, posts marked as a local alert “indicate anything from flash flood warnings, mandatory evacuations, missing people reports, and water main breaks to active shooters, road closures, winter storms, extreme temperature warnings, and bomb threats”.
“I grew up in Kansas and this is the time of year when we get a lot of tornadoes (…). This tool would have given us a lot of peace of mind if it was around back then,” said Jimmy O’Keefe, Facebook’s head of Product Marketing for News Publishing.
It should be noted that this tool is meant to be used as a supplement and not a replacement for other emergency alert systems.
In fact, Facebook already offers users other compatible tools such as Safety Check, which has the ability to let friends know when someone is safe during an emergency.