Twitter Alerts texts users to warn them of emergency situations

A new service has been launched by micro-blogging website Twitter, which allows government bodies and organisations to text users when an emergency is taking place.

According to, the service, called Twitter Alerts, came into development as a direct result of the Japanese tsunami in 2011. Twitter was used by many to find information about what was happening and so now a service dedicated to providing updates during a crisis has been rolled out in the UK and Ireland.

Around 57 organisations are expected to sign up to provide the service, including the Environment Agency, the Foreign Office, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service. They will provide users with alerts regarding flooding, terrorists attacks, natural disasters happening abroad and updates relating to major emergency operations.

In addition to receiving a text message, emergency tweets will also be highlighted on the website by an orange bell icon, plus push notifications will be sent to users’ mobile devices.

To subscribe to the service, users will need to visit each individual organisations’ Twitter pages and sign up there.

Commander David Martin, head of emergency planning for the Metropolitan Police Service, said the service could prove to be very important in an urgent situation.

“Getting fast and accurate information to the public in a major incident or terrorist attack really could make a life-saving difference,” he explained. “Using social networking sites, including Twitter, gives us additional ways to talk directly to the public. Twitter Alerts means that our messages will stand out when it most matters,” reports