It has been a decade since the ghastly attacks took place on American soil. On the 11th of September, 2001, terrorists crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and crash landed another plane.
Thousands perished, and the attacks brought to us to a new reality of International terrorism that isn’t localized, and also the use of sophisticated methods to cause maximum loss of life and damage of property. We at Walyou remember all the victims today and share the sorrow of the victims’ family members and loved ones.
We not only remember with great sorrow what happened 10 years ago, but we also want our readers to be prepared for possible strikes and attacks in the future, which could be terrorist in nature, or simply, any kind of emergency. The 9/11 attacks happened at an age when social media was almost nonexistent. There was no Twitter, Facebook or any other sites that could have helped people to communicate with their loved ones in times of disaster.
Especially, Twitter has been used in times of disaster, and has even been encouraged by several governments to be used when natural or man-made disasters and emergencies take place. Official Twitter accounts of law enforcement agencies, health departments, weather and meteorological institutes, police departments and other governmental organizations help people to stay in touch with what is happening around them, how they should be careful about things, and what precautions and safety measures they can take.
Moreover, many emergency and disaster-related organizations’ Twitter accounts let you send a tweet in order to inform them about what is happening. This is particularly useful when you are in a place where there is no network coverage, the telephone lines are jammed or when the officers themselves are inundated by telephone calls that it becomes impossible for you to reach and seek help intermediately. Here is a list of some of the most important official accounts of governmental organizations that may come to your rescue in times of emergency. All of them belong to the United States government, or organizations affiliated to it.
It is quite surprising how social-media savvy the U.S. government really is. In fact, every governmental agency has its Twitter account which is regularly updated with useful information that can help people during emergencies and disasters. The FBI Press Office account @FBIPressOffice helps you to provide tips about suspicious activities, and also has a wealth of information that could help you in times of emergencies. The U.S. Dept. of the Interior can be followed @Interior, the government of USA can be followed @USAgov, the Department of Justice @TheJusticeDept, official U.S. Department of State Twitter @StateDept and you could find many others by searching accounts ‘similar’ to any of these accounts.
Twitter provides a ‘Similar to’ feature, where in you could find Twitter accounts that are similar in content and identity to the ones you search for. Of course, when we are talking about government, we can’t forget FEMA. @fema is the official Twitter account of FEMA and provides a wealth of information, tips, news and updates about emergencies and disasters.
Emergency and Disaster
If you are in emergency and do not know where to go, Safe America is one place where you could get a lot of information. Their official Twitter account @SafeAmerica provides you with tips, information and announcements about emergencies, what to do in case of an emergency and all the latest news. Arizona Emergency Info Network @AzEIN is a source for emergency updates, preparedness information and resources. @PortlandOEM, which is the official account of Portland Office of Emergency Management provides you with emergency news related not just to Portland, but the rest of the country and adjoining regions as well. The last tweet was on the 10th of September, in which they warned about the 6.7 quake near Vancouver Island.
@NYSEMO provides you with valuable information to be prepared, informed and take precautions in times of emergencies. New York State Office of Emergency Management is not only useful for those in the New York state, but the rest of the nation as well.
US Army and Defence
When the moment comes, it is always the army that would come to your rescue, more than anyone else. In times of national emergencies like the one that happened during 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, you would need the help of the US Army, Department of Defense and various other associated organizations. You can official U.S. Army @USArmy and they provide news and updates about soldiers around the world. You could also connect with soldiers who protect you, risking their lives.
@DeptofDefense is the official account of Department of Defense and provides you with information, images and videos about defense related issues. While the U.S. Coast Guard’s official Twitter account @uscoastguard is not an emergency communication channel, but it allows you to stay in touch with the latest news.
United States’ border enforcement and facilitation agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection can be followed @CustomsBorder and provides information, tips and a place to seek help in times of emergencies, even if their job is to curb illegal immigration and smuggling.
Most state police departments have their own Twitter accounts, wherein you could not only gain a wealth of information, but you would also be able to leave tips to the police if they need to know something. You could find the Twitter account of your state’s police department. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Department can be contacted @LAPPL, Seattle Police Department @SeattlePD, and New York City Police Department @NYPDNews. We strongly suggest you to follow the accounts of police departments and offices under whose jurisdiction your place of residence may fall.
While it is difficult to make a list of all the Twitter accounts that provide information about transportation related issues and emergencies, it would be best if you could follow the Twitter account of the Transportation Department in your town, city or state. If you are travelling to a different state, you could make a temporary list of accounts of all the state transportation departments that come under the route you choose. A good example is the Oregon Department of Transportation, @oregondot.
When kids go missing, it can be a traumatic experience. There are several organizations like @missingkidsTX which provide valuable information about kids who are already missing or receive tips about them. A child safety organization which is located close to you should be of great help, especially in times of disaster or emergencies.
During emergencies or otherwise, people usually fall victim to identity thefts. The phenomenon has only increased and will almost certainly continue to grow. @idt911 is a Twitter account that is associated with identity thefts and how 911 deals with it.
When natural disasters occur, they are followed by outbreaks of disease, especially like the ones we saw after hurricane Katrina. @FluGov and @HHSEmergency provide valuable information, news and tips to protect yourself from contagious diseases and outbreaks.
@TWCDrKnabb is the official Twitter account of the famous weatherman, who works for Weather.com. His Twitter account provide information about impending hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones and storms. If you need information about weather conditions in your area, you might want to follow this account.
If there is a fire in your locality, or if you are plagued by forest fires or if you just want to0 know what to do in case of a major or a minor fire, do follow @usfire, which is the official Twitter account of FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration.
In any of these cases, calling 911 is always the best option. If for some reason you can’t reach them or if you want information, updates, tips etc, following any of these official Twitter accounts could in fact save your life. I strongly advice readers to make a Twitter list of accounts that they can follow in times of emergencies, natural disasters, crimes and terrorist activities. Of course, you do not have to follow individual accounts if you make a list and your twitter timeline would not be bombarded by all sorts of emergency-related information. Thus, you can create a list titled ‘Emergency’ in your Twitter account, and add local fire departments, police department, weather services, transportation related departments, missing persons lists, and other accounts that may be relevant. In the end it all boils down to where you live. Do remember to ask your friends to follow your emergency Twitter list, and you follow theirs as well and keep the list updated with newer accounts, and delete the ones that are not very useful.
If you do not live in the U.S.A, most countries’ governments have begun to operate official Twitter accounts to disseminate information and tips useful during emergencies and disasters as well. Thus, you can feel safer, more informed and better prepared when there is an emergency. If you do not have a Twitter account, it is time you created one! Remember to show gratitude to all the soldiers, fighters, non-military personnel and nameless individuals who sacrificed their lives to protect you from the aftermath of 9/11. Do remember the victims who lost their lives for no fault of theirs, this September 11, 2011. It has been a decade now, and that vicious incident on September 11th, 2001 marked the end of the world as we knew it.