Crisis communication: saving time and lives in disasters through smarter social media

Bushfire image courtesy bertknot, Flickr

Bushfire image courtesy bertknot, Flickr

Joint article by Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology and Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology

As the worst bushfires seen for generations in New South Wales raged across the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and the Central Coast two years ago, people urgently needed fast, reliable information – and many turned to their phones to get it.

The NSW Rural Fire Service was prepared with a smartphone app, Fires Near Me, which was downloaded almost 200,000 times. At the height of the fires, its Facebook page was recording more than a million views an hour.
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