Social Networking Sites To Give Bushfire Alerts Down Under

by VR Sreeraman on Jul 8 2009 4:34 PM

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will soon be used in Australia to give people early warning of bushfires, which killed 173 people in February.

Residents of towns in Victoria state have said that they had little or no warning of the ferocious blazes that claimed so many lives earlier this year.

The usual advice for homeowners to stay and defend their properties or to seek refuge elsewhere will be revised to put far more emphasis on leaving early.

To help people with the decisions, officials want to speed the flow of information.

According to Victorian state premier John Brumby, social networking sites will help to improve advice to households.

"We'll be providing more information to the community, like Twitter and Facebook - alternative means of communication to get the information out to the public," the BBC quoted Brumby as saying.

"So that they've got better information from a variety of sources and if they need to make a judgement to go early, they will go and they will go early," he added.

Many victims of February's bushfires lost their lives while trying to defend their homes against the devastating blazes.

Others were killed as they tried to flee, tragically ambushed by the sheer speed of the fires' advance.