What are some of the types of “real-time” information available to communities through new technologies and what is an example of a method of communicating a threat (weather, man-made or terrorist for example) to residents? New technologies such as GPS, satellite telephones, and social networking sites are having a positive impact on emergency management.

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"Real-time" information, today, most often includes the use of social media. This means sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Reddit, and even Instagram. The two most widely used of these examples are of course, Facebook and Twitter. A simple Google search will reveal that Twitter has over five hundred million registered...

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"Real-time" information, today, most often includes the use of social media. This means sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Reddit, and even Instagram. The two most widely used of these examples are of course, Facebook and Twitter. A simple Google search will reveal that Twitter has over five hundred million registered users while the same statistic for Facebook is in the billions.

One of the best examples of a recent technological improvement utilizing real-time information that has had a positive impact on emergency management, is the Amber Alert, now available on Facebook and Twitter. When a child goes missing and an Amber Alert is issued, just a few years ago, such alerts were only heard or viewed via television or radio. Now, information is typically accompanied by a picture, and can be spread to an exponential number of people through a series of clicks.

Another example of technology that utilizes real-time information to communicate threats is the Google Maps App, available for smart phones. This app actually tracks cellphone usage and in combination with GPS technology, has become one of the most accurate indicators of upcoming traffic jams.

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