Twitter has rolled out its Alerts emergency notification service in Australia, with more than a dozen fire services, various state police and community organisations signing up. How does a "Twitter alert" differ from a regular tweet from one of those organisations, and how might that help during a bushfire or other natural disaster?
Alerts are distinguished from standard messages by displaying a large orange bell next to the message. If you have a mobile number associated with your account, you'll also receive a text message, and if you use the official Twitter apps for iOS or Android, you'll receive a push notification. Helpfully, You can choose to sign up purely for alerts from an account, rather than seeing every message from it.
Organisations choose when to designate a message as an alert; typically, that will be for crucial, time-sensitive information (such as a warning of a fire in an area). While many Australian states already have systems to send text messages to all phones in an area during a bushfire crisis, it never hurts to have additional channels open.
These are the services currently signed up, with links to their alerts sign-up pages:
- The NSW Rural Fire Service (@NSWRFS)
- NSW Police (@nswpolice)
- Victorian Police (@VictoriaPolice)
- Queensland Police (@QPSmedia)
- Western Australia Police (@WA_Police)
- South Australian Police (@SAPoliceNews)
- Australian Government's travel advisory (@smartraveller)
- The Department of Health (@healthgovau)
- Fire & Rescue NSW (@FRNSW)
- Country Fire Service South Australia (@CFSAlerts)
- The City of Brisbane (@brisbanecityqld)
- The City of Sydney (@CityofSydney)
- The Australian Red Cross (@RedCrossAU)