using facebook app on phone

All Facebook Pages For Governments, First Responders Will Now Have Access to Incident Alert Tool

With local alerts, Facebook pages can send notifications to residents about threats, including weather warnings and active shooter situations, and boost the posts in users’ news feeds.

Following a 2018 pilot program in several cities, Facebook is now making its local alerts tool available to anyone running a page associated with city governments, emergency management agencies and first responders. 


That means that all towns and police departments across the country will have the ability to warn residents of imminent threats, particularly active shooter situations, almost instantaneously through Facebook. 


The company announced on Tuesday that any eligible Facebook page should have access to local alerts by the end of the year. The alerts work like this: When local authorities mark a post as a local alert, Facebook takes steps to amplify their reach on users’ social media feeds. 


The social media platform also sends notifications to people living in the affected area, and posts that information on Today In, a new section on Facebook that shows local news, community information and “conversations between neighbors,” Facebook product manager Anthea Watson Strong wrote in a blog post. The alert will also be marked as such so users will be able to identify it as legitimate. 


In the past year, officials from over 350 local governments used the alert system to inform citizens of “everyday emergencies,” including flash flood warnings, mandatory evacuations, missing people reports, active shooters, road closures, bomb threats and more, Strong said. In some cases, the alerts system helped communities find people who had gone missing within hours. 


Austin Ellington, the digital content and social media coordinator for the city government in Round Rock, Texas, said in a statement that the tool has been useful in keeping residents and families safe, particularly because of its wide reach. 


“From distributing information related to emergency weather situations, to engaging the public in active missing persons search efforts, Facebook’s local alerts function has become a key part of our agency’s social strategy,” Ellington said. “Facebook is where our residents are, there’s no questioning that, and local alerts have significantly strengthened our communication efforts via the platform by providing enhanced credibility to our messaging."


The tool has been improved by allowing pages to specifiy what type of alert they are sending and target specific counties, cities, towns or neighborhoods that should receive notifications about a threat. 


And, in a survey of 2,000 people who had seen local alerts posts, Facebook found that 80 percent reported finding the posts at least somewhat valuable. Another 43 percent said they “took an action as a result” of the information they read. 


“This feedback, along with the work we’ve done over the past year to improve local alerts, has given us confidence that we should provide access to eligible local governments and first responders everywhere, so they can have another tool in their toolkit to keep people in their communities safe,” Strong wrote. 


To get access to local alerts, Facebook page administrators can fill out this form and wait to be approved by the social network.

Featured

  • Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 Government Security Awards. The Govies honor outstanding government security products in a variety of categories. For this year’s awards program, participants can choose from 38 different categories to enter their product(s) into. Read Now

  • City Safe Partners Announces Scholarship Program for Dependents of Full-Time Employees

    • Guard Services
  • Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    Security is a continuous evolution of practices and procedures. The developments in technology and advancements in threats make security difficult at times. Although security from one location may look different from another location, there is a common goal applied to security measures. The common goal is protection. Read Now

  • The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    As security technology has become more widely used, the interest in new capabilities and increased security measures has increased. As we head into 2023, these three trends will shape the security landscape. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Hanwha Techwin Wisenet XRN-6410DB4 / mXRN-3210B4

    Hanwha Techwin Wisenet XRN-6410DB4 / mXRN-3210B4

    Hanwha Techwin America, a global supplier of IP and analog video surveillance solutions, unveiled two new Wisenet X series NVRs that support the industry’s first video playback and recording of up to 8K super-high-resolution images. 3

  • LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

    LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

    LiftMaster Transforms the Garage Door Opener Into a Sleek Smart Home Device That Does More Than Open and Close the Garage Door 3

  • PACE® Long Range Ethernet Solutions

    PACE® Long Range Ethernet Solutions

    Altronix introduces the newest addition to its portfolio of PACE® Long Range Ethernet Solutions. 3