Twitter Boosts EMS Disaster Response - News - @ JEMS.com


Twitter Boosts EMS Disaster Response

It enables off-duty paramedics to broadcast their willingness to help in nearby emergencies

 

 
 
 

John von Radowitz, Press Association Mediapoint | | Thursday, July 28, 2011


Facebook and Twitter are helping to improve and speed up responses to natural disasters and health emergencies by involving members of the public, it has been claimed.

Social media allowed an unprecedented two-way exchange of information between the public and those given the task of preparing for and responding to major events such as earthquakes, floods and infection pandemics, said researchers.

"By sharing images, texting and tweeting, the public is already becoming part of a large response network, rather than remaining mere bystanders or casualties,'' said the U.S. team led by Dr Raina Merchant, an emergency medicine expert from the University of Pennsylvania.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors say harnessing social media could help emergencies to be handled in a "quicker, more co-ordinated, effective way."

The technology allowed officials to "push'' information to the public while at the same time "pulling'' in valuable data from bystanders.

An example of social media in action was seen during the 2009 swine flu epidemic.

The US Department of Health's "Mommycast'' over YouTube and iTunes helped to keep one million viewers up to date about the disease, said the researchers.

At the same time, regional health departments drew people to vaccination sites within minutes of texting and tweeting about shot availability. Within a year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's @CDCemergency Twitter following grew 20-fold.

More recently, texted photos of oil-covered birds from community residents assisted the clean-up operation after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Future social media strategies that could aid disaster preparedness and response included the use of GPS-linked mobile phone apps, such as Foursquare and Loopt, said the researchers.

They could enable off-duty nurses or paramedics to broadcast their willingness to help in nearby emergencies.

Another idea was the creation of web-based "buddy'' systems allowing friends and neighbours to keep track of at-risk people during heat waves or cold snaps and connect them with social services and medical care.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) news feeds and mobile apps could also help public health planners gauge the strain on healthcare systems and divert patients to the best resourced facilities during a disaster, said the authors.



Related Links:


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >