The county plans to use Facebook and Twitter to send real-time updates during an emergency.
Harris County hopes social networking sites can help emergency responders send information more quickly during a disaster. The county aims to roll out the program by the beginning of the next hurricane season.
"One of the benefits of the new technology that's out there is the ability to have two-way communication," says the Office of Emergency Management's Francisco Sanchez. "One of the things that gives us is a real-time analysis of what's going out."
The OEM plans to use Twitter and Facebook to send out information to residents' cellular phones. He says similar programs in other regions have helped governments release information more quickly.
"If you look at the San Diego earthquake last fall, 90 percent of the people under 30 years old who were surveyed found out within three minutes on Twitter the estimates on injuries and implications like that," Sanchez adds.
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