Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has turned to Twitter and Facebook to help keep the public up-to-date with fire safety advice and the latest news on major incidents.
Facebook users and Twitterers across the service area can now get the latest news, fire and road safety advice and updates on fire safety campaigns, as well as being able to communicate directly with the service.
Area Manager for Community Safety John Baines, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We recognise the increasing popularity of social networking among a growing number of people in Tyne and Wear and feel our use of Facebook and Twitter complements the traditional communication channels ."
Since creating a presence on the social networking sites, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has increased its number of followers to over 1,100 on Twitter and the same number on Facebook.
Whilst the service has used social networking for some time, it really came into its own during the large scale fire at a scrap yard in Byker, Newcastle during May. The incident sparked a huge amount of interest and officers were able to regularly post updated information, respond immediately to queries and comments from the local community and correct any misinformation in real time. This resulted in a 23% increase in the number of followers on Twitter and a 121% increase in Facebook followers.
John Baines added: "We want our local communities to be able to engage with us in a way that is both convenient and accessible to them. Social networking offers us that opportunity and allows us to post the information people want in the places they want it. We also believe that using Facebook and Twitter is a good way for us to talk to some people that we have historically found it more difficult to reach, as well as engaging with people about specific local issues that are important to them."
Posted: 11.18am, 22.06.11, firstname.lastname@example.org