CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The City of Charlotte is now one of 350 local governments from across the country using Facebook to help communicate with residents during emergencies and times of crisis.
The Facebook tool is called Local Alerts and allows the city to send alerts to anyone within a certain geographic location.
“Communications is about getting the right information to the right person at the right time and this is one of our methods for doing that,” said Ken Brown, the Strategic Digital Communications Manager for the City of Charlotte.
Brown said the city communicates with residents through a number of platforms, but that Facebook’s new local alert system allows them to reach a greater number of people, and faster.
“So typically one of our posts would maybe reach a few thousand folks, once it’s tagged as an alert it can reach tens of thousands of people,” he said.
Brown says the messages pertain to a range of emergencies including mandatory evacuations, bomb threats, and even active shooters. During the UNC Charlotte shooting, Brown says the city used the alert system to help share information being released by CMPD.
In addition to emergencies, Brown says the system will also be used to communicate extreme temperature warnings, missing people reports and to announce major changes in service to public transportation, similar to what the city experienced during the NBA All-star game held Uptown.
To receive the alerts, Brown said you just have to be within city limits and have location services enabled on your phone
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