Infographic: How Americans Use Social Tools in Emergencies

Online news is still just the third most popular resource for obtaining emergency information (after television and the radio), but other statistics show how rapidly the perceived utility of this resource is growing: Nearly one out of every five Americans use Facebook to learn about emergency situation and four out of every five expect emergency responders to be monitoring social media sites.

"The findings [of a survey from the American Red Cross] have repercussions for a business travel community which is grappling with how best to advise on the use of social media as a reliable source of information for travelers," Tnooz points out. "They have wider implications for companies in general and how they can incorporate social media tools into an emergency response strategy."

The American Red Cross, after surveying more than 1,000 people in a telephone poll, put together the infographic embedded below.

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • Online news is the third most popular source for emergency information.
  • Four out of every five people (80 percent) expect emergency responders to monitor social sites.
  • One in five people would try an online channel to get held if unable to reach EMS.
  • More than 1/3 of people expect help to arrive within one hour of posting need to a social site.
  • One in five people who have experienced an emergency posted something about it on a social site.
  • Twenty percent of people in non-metro areas would sign up for alerts. Thirty percent of people in metro areas would sign up for alerts.
  • Twenty-four percent of people would use social tools to tell others they're safe.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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