Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Twitter Could Stop the Next Great Fire of London

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 21 2012

Screengrab of the London Fire Brigade's official Twitter page

London emergency responders are piloting the world’s first Twitter-based fire reporting program, the city’s Fire Brigade announced earlier this week. While officials cautioned this is not a replacement for dialing 999 — that’s British English for 911 — Rita Dexter, the Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, explained that implementing social media-based emergency calls is simply looking forward:

"When it was first set up in 1935, people said that dialing 999 to report emergencies would never work. Today BT handles over 30 million emergency calls each year. It’s time to look at new ways for people to report emergencies quickly and efficiently and social media could provide the answer in the future.”

The Fire Brigade is already reporting incidents to the public on its official Twitter feed. The London initiative follows the FCC’s announcement earlier this month that several major U.S. mobile providers will be implementing text-to-911 services next year. Both agencies’ press releases emphasized the centrality of traditional emergency phone lines, but seemed to concede that, in today’s world, people may be more likely to talk with their thumbs than talk to an operator.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Revisions

Tim Wu says we shouldn't be so pessimistic about lobbying; Obama writes a thank you note to reddit; Ted Cruz wants to be the Uber of politics; Llamas!; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Impossibles

The FCC vote; a proxy Democratic primary battle in Chicago; Gov Andrew Cuomo begins deleting all state employee emails more than 90 days old; men talking about women in tech; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Off the Books

Chicago's "black site"; The New York Times reports "little guys" like Tumblr and Reddit have won the fight for net neutrality but fails to mention Free Press or Demand Progress; Hillary Clinton fan products on Etsy to inspire campaign slogans?; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Challenges

How Silicon Valley donors are thinking about Hillary Clinton 2016; Yahoo's security chief locks horns with the head of the NSA; Instagram location data catches a Congressman with his hand in the till; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Bows

CitizenFour wins best doc; Ken Silverstein resigned from First Look Media and took to Facebook to vent; why we need more Congressional staffers; who profits from the net neutrality debate; banning PowerPoint presentations; and much, much more. GO

More