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Protection of lives and property via social media
More activity on the fireground over summer generates more social media activity for CFA.
Emergency service agencies use social media to both share the most up-to-date information and engage in a two-way conversation with the public.
Recent disasters in Australia such as floods in Queensland demonstrated that accurate information is spread widely during emergencies and misinformation can quickly be corrected if emergency services are actively monitoring and engaging with the online community.
Traditional media channels remain important sources of emergency information but they require listeners or viewers to be switched on at the relevant times. During emergencies, many people are unable to constantly monitor radio or television to ensure they get the critical information that's relevant to them.
It's vital that the public uses a range of sources to gather their information. This includes social media, the new Vic Emergency website at emergency.vic.gov.au and agency websites such as cfa.vic.gov.au
Social media is delivered directly to people's mobile phones. Even people on the move can check the most up-to-date information when it suits them, not when the media chooses to broadcast it.
The new FireReady app was released in December by the Fire Services Commissioner, supported by the Department of Justice and emergency service organisations. CFA lent a great deal of support to ensure the best possible product with about 117,000 people now registered users.
The FireReady app is complex given all the data it must gather and deliver. Take time to get to know the new app: set up your watch zones so you can get direct alerts.
At the heart of social media is basic communication. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook build a connection to the community, but conversations you have online don't have to be any harder than a chat with someone who wanders into the station.
Well done to the many CFA brigades now engaging in these online chats and taking the protection of lives and property online. Brigades from Narre Warren to Mt Hotham-Dinner Plain are active on Twitter. A number of our regional directors are also regularly tweeting.
CFA has almost 27,000 Twitter followers with numbers tripling in the past year. A tweet sent on New Year's Eve warning of penalties for illegal fireworks reached a potential 325,000 Twitter accounts through retweets and fireworks-related hashtags.
CFA's Facebook page has doubled the number of followers in the past year to 208,000. Last October this post reached more than two million people through forwarding, sharing and liking: Join us in wishing our Victorian crew a safe journey as they join firefighting efforts in NSW. Hundreds of messages of support and gratitude poured in.
The Template Toolkit also includes helpful information: ‘Facebook for Brigades' and ‘Twitter 101'.
CFA Facebook: www.facebook.com/cfavic
CFA Twitter: twitter.com/cfa_updates