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

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    The Importance of Proactive Security Measures: 4 Stories of Regret

    We all want to believe that crime won’t happen to us. So, some business owners hope for the best and put proactive security measures on the back burner, because other things like growth, attracting new customers, and meeting deadlines all seem more pressing. Read Now

  • Security Questions Persist After Attempted Assassination Attempt of Donald Trump

  • March Networks Expands Partnership with American Dairy Queen Corp.

    March Networks recently announced its selection as an American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) approved supplier of video surveillance solutions for the DQ® system. This partnership marks a significant milestone in March Networks’ ongoing collaboration with DQ franchise owners since 2017, serving more than two hundred DQ restaurants across 13 U.S. states. Read Now

  • SIA Opens Nominations for 2024 “25 on the RISE Awards”

    The Security Industry Association (SIA) has opened the call for nominations for the second annual 25 on the RISE Awards– a program presented by SIA’s RISE community for emerging security leaders. Each year, this initiative honors 25 security leaders of today and tomorrow for their impactful contributions to advancing the security industry. Read Now

    • Industry Events

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems, an industry-leading manufacturer of pedestrian and vehicle secure entrance control access systems, is pleased to announce the release of its groundbreaking V07 software. The V07 software update is designed specifically to address cybersecurity concerns and will ensure the integrity and confidentiality of Automatic Systems applications. With the new V07 software, updates will be delivered by means of an encrypted file. 3

  • Unified VMS

    AxxonSoft introduces version 2.0 of the Axxon One VMS. The new release features integrations with various physical security systems, making Axxon One a unified VMS. Other enhancements include new AI video analytics and intelligent search functions, hardened cybersecurity, usability and performance improvements, and expanded cloud capabilities 3

  • PE80 Series

    PE80 Series by SARGENT / ED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin

    ASSA ABLOY, a global leader in access solutions, has announced the launch of two next generation exit devices from long-standing leaders in the premium exit device market: the PE80 Series by SARGENT and the PED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin. These new exit devices boast industry-first features that are specifically designed to provide enhanced safety, security and convenience, setting new standards for exit solutions. The SARGENT PE80 and Corbin Russwin PED4000/PED5000 Series exit devices are engineered to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern buildings. Featuring the high strength, security and durability that ASSA ABLOY is known for, the new exit devices deliver several innovative, industry-first features in addition to elegant design finishes for every opening. 3