Wednesday, November 04, 2009

This Is Facebook. What Is Your Emergency?

If there were ever any need to prove that social networking and similar online tools are changing the way we think and act, especially for the children who grow up with them, this story should provide ample evidence.

Two young girls (age 10 and 12), lost and trapped in a storm drain in Adelaide, Australia, updated their Facebook status rather than dialing 000 (the Australian equivalent of 911) for help. One of their friends, who had been online and saw that they were trapped, contacted firefighters directly.

According to EMSResponder.com via Mashable, this was not the first time Web 2.0 was used in lieu of 911.

Earlier this year, Atlanta Councilman Kwanza Hall spotted someone in need of medical assistance. Concerned that his cell-phone battery would die before his emergency call could be connected, Hall tweeted: “Need a paramedic on corner of John Wesley Dobbs and Jackson st. Woman on the ground unconscious. Pls ReTweet”.

Within seconds, dozens of his Twitter followers relayed the message to their followers and several people called 911 to report the emergency.