LFBMembers of the public are now able to share critical information with emergency services and government organisations faster thanks to the launch of Twitter Alerts in the UK and Ireland.

57 accounts have signed up for the programme, including the UK’s 47 police forces, An Garda Síochána, the London Fire Brigade, the Mayor of London’s office, the Foreign Office, CEOP and the Environment Agency.

From today, these organisations will now be able to highlight critical information to their Twitter followers by marking Tweets as alerts,

Twitter users who sign up for an account’s Twitter Alerts will receive a notification directly to their phone via SMS highlighted with an orange bell for added visibility. Users of Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android will also receive a push notification direct to their mobile.

To subscribe to these notifications, Twitter users can go directly to an account’s alert setup page at twitter.com/[username]/alerts e.g. www.twitter.com/londonfire/alerts

While participating organisations choose what information merits a Twitter Alerts designation, this feature is intended for crisis, disaster and emergency communications.

Twitter Alerts originally launched with a number of participating organisations in the U.S., Japan and Korea in September 2013. Since launching, the service has been used by international organisations to disseminate information during emergencies involving public safety, accessibility and bad weather.

Rita Dexter, Deputy Commissioner for the London Fire Brigade, said: “People act on information shared on social media. During a major incident accurate, verified and frequent updates are essential. Twitter Alerts will help us communicate quickly during a significant emergency.”