Tech Talk: Canadian survey on social media in emergencies

The Canadian Red Cross commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a survey to find out what Canadians think about social media use in emergencies. We’re eager to share the results, as it’s the first survey of its kind in Canada and it can help us better understand perceptions and expectations.

A majority of Canadians (64%) use social media, but it’s interesting to note that they also expect emergency responders to use these tools. According to the survey, 63% of Canadians think emergency services such as fire and police should be prepared to respond to a call for help posted on a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter. One third of respondents believe help would arrive if such a call was posted through social media. The Red Cross advocates that anyone in an emergency should call 9-1-1 rather than posting a call for help in social media.

There are many other ways social media can be used in emergencies. Fifty four percent of Canadians indicate they would use these tools to let friends and family know they are safe in an emergency. About half of respondents (49%) say they would sign up for electronic alerts in times of official warnings. Although television (39%) and radio (26%) are popular ways of accessing news during an emergency, 31% of Canadians would turn to electronic means such as websites, social media or cell phones.

Throughout the week, we'll also be sharing some case studies on this blog to illustrate how social media is being used by emergency responders and officials across Canada.

We also want to know what you think? Would you turn to social media in an emergency?

If you enjoy using social media, you can help out during emergencies by joining the Canadian Red Cross Social Team as a digital volunteer.

Check out this infographic that illustrates survey results.

Infographic Social Media During Emergencies

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