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  • Red Cross Survey Reveals That Canadians Expect First Responders To Use Social Media

9th October 2012

Red Cross Survey Reveals That Canadians Expect First Responders To Use Social Media

Red CrossAccording to new data collected by Ipsos on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, the majority of Canadians are using social media regularly and expect emergency responders to also be using popular social networking tools. The survey, Social Media in Emergencies, is the first of its kind in Canada to look at habits and trends around the use of social media in disasters. Key findings include:

  • 64 per cent of Canadians use social media sites, 62 per cent of whom participate nearly every day
  • 63 per cent think disaster and emergency response agencies, including fire and police, should be prepared to respond to calls for help that are posted on social media networks
  • About one third of respondents (35 per cent) think emergency services would respond to a request for help posted on social media, 74 per cent of whom believe help would arrive within one hour
  • 54 per cent of Canadians say they would use social media to let loved ones know they are safe in an emergency
  • Although television (39 per cent) and radio (26 per cent) are the preferred ways of receiving news about an emergency, one third (31 per cent) of Canadians say they would prefer various electronic methods, such as web sites, social media or cell phones
  • While the majority of Canadians say they have personally experienced disasters, 66 per cent have not taken steps to prepare themselves for an emergency
  • The main reasons cited for not taking steps to prepare include: perception that a disaster is unlikely to occur in their area (27 per cent); never thought about it (21 per cent); and no time/never got around to it (12 per cent)

“Information is key to keeping people safe in an emergency,” says Conrad Sauvé, secretary general of the Canadian Red Cross. “With the majority of Canadians already engaged on social networking sites, these platforms can be used to get more information on local emergencies and inform people how they can give or receive help.”

In emergencies, the Canadian Red Cross uses social networks to share important updates, provide preparedness information and respond to questions from affected communities. Across Canada, there have been many disasters in the last year, including wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes. In addition, the Red Cross helps thousands of families each year affected by house fires. With so many Canadians reporting they are unprepared for emergencies, the Canadian Red Cross is stressing that families prepare for disasters by having enough food, water and provisions to sustain themselves for 72 hours.

Alert Type Information Would Wouldn’t Might/Might
Not
Emergency Location of medical services 60% 25% 15%
Emergency How to keep yourself safe
during and after an
emergency
58% 25% 17%
Emergency Shelter Locations 55% 27% 18%
Emergency Preparedness information
such as how to know the
risks in your area, make a
plan, and build a
preparedness kit
51% 28% 21%
Emergency Location of Red Cross
reception centres
51% 28% 20%
Official
Warning
Information about disaster
preparedness when there
are official warnings of
disaster
49% 31% 19%

While many indicate that disaster and emergency responders already ‘currently’ monitor social media websites, more indicate that responders ‘should’ monitor social media for any signs of emergency.  Not only do many Canadians think that these responders should monitor social media, many also believe that they should be prepared to respond to calls for help that are posted in social media networks.

The table below outlines the extent to which Canadians agree or disagree that different responders currently monitor, should monitor, and should be prepared to respond to social media websites for emergencies:

Responders and Social Media Agree Disagree
Disaster response agencies like the Canadian Red
Cross should be prepared to respond to calls for help
that are posted in social media networks
68% 30%
Disaster response agencies like the Canadian Red
Cross should monitor social media websites
67% 25%
Emergency responders like firefighters and the police
should monitor social media websites
66% 27%
Emergency responders like fire fighters and the police
should be prepared to respond to calls for help that
are posted in social media networks
63% 24%
Emergency responders like firefighters and the police
currently monitor social media websites
55% 21%
Disaster response agencies like the Canadian Red
Cross currently monitor social media websites
54% 18%

While many are unprepared, some Canadians take precautions by having provisions available in the event of an emergency.  Six in ten (62%) Canadians say that they have ‘food and water to last them/them and their family 72 hours in the event of an emergency in which there was no electricity at their home’.  Three in ten (30%) say that they have ‘a disaster preparedness kit in their home’, while one-quarter (26%) of Canadians have a ‘disaster kit in their car.  That said, three in ten (28%) Canadians indicate having none of these. The following table shows the full list of reasons provided by Canadians for not taking steps to prepare themselves in the event of a disaster:

Reason for Not Taking Emergency Preparation Steps %
This type of disaster rarely occurs/unlikely to occur in my area 27%
Never thought about it 21%
No time/never got around to it 12%
Unnecessary/no need 11%
Already prepared/know what to do 8%
Not concerned/don’t care 7%
Should consider/begin to be prepared 3%
Feel safe/secure 3%
Preparations are (partially) underway/still being implemented 2%
No plan in place/don’t know what to do 2%
No reason 3%
Other mention 9%
Don’t know 8%

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 at 8:11 am and is filed under National News, Research Studies, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  1. Tami Quiring (@VillageGamer)
    1:12 am on October 9th, 2012

    ,@redcrosscanada Survey Finds That We Expect First Responders To Use Social Media http://t.co/3YmUQMQh

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