Tech Talk: Canadian survey on social media in emergencies

The Canadian Red Cross commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a survey to find out what Canadians think about social media use in emergencies. We’re eager to share the results, as it’s the first survey of its kind in Canada and it can help us better understand perceptions and expectations.

A majority of Canadians (64%) use social media, but it’s interesting to note that they also expect emergency responders to use these tools. According to the survey, 63% of Canadians think emergency services such as fire and police should be prepared to respond to a call for help posted on a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter. One third of respondents believe help would arrive if such a call was posted through social media. The Red Cross advocates that anyone in an emergency should call 9-1-1 rather than posting a call for help in social media.

There are many other ways social media can be used in emergencies. Fifty four percent of Canadians indicate they would use these tools to let friends and family know they are safe in an emergency. About half of respondents (49%) say they would sign up for electronic alerts in times of official warnings. Although television (39%) and radio (26%) are popular ways of accessing news during an emergency, 31% of Canadians would turn to electronic means such as websites, social media or cell phones.

These are some of the key findings, but you’ll find more survey results here. Throughout the week, we’ll also be sharing some case studies on this blog to illustrate how social media is being used by emergency responders and officials across Canada.

We also want to know what you think? Would you turn to social media in an emergency?

If you enjoy using social media, you can help out during emergencies by joining the Canadian Red Cross Social Team as a digital volunteer.

Check out this infographic that illustrates survey results.

Infographic Social Media During Emergencies

25 Responses

  1. There’s one thing more precious to us than sauve the human be life.

  2. We are equally affected by the human tragedy brought about by HIV/AIDS to our people, our communities, our country. That is why we have made a commitment to facing this challenge head-on with courage. Providing ongoing funding, social and health programmes, information,support ,and care for our people,their families and communities. Trained counsellors are there for those in need. Caring about all wellness. Providing guidance and promoting a healthier life-style. We know that to ensure sustainable prosperity for our country our world and our people, we have to have a healthly business and healthy communities. That is why we will continue to fight against AIDS. Fight against discrimination. Fight for the right to protec ourselves and our children. Talk about it. Learn about it. Together we can beat it.

  3. We care.we celebrate life. We affirm there is life after HIV invection. The national society of South africa Red Cross (JHB),supports and cares for all who are infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

  4. As we all celebrate life, let’s not forget lives lost due to AIDS.

  5. POLICY AND CHANGE (NGOs) around the world are becomining forces for change,and are increasingly important in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Perspective looks at how two very different organisations have risen to the challenge.

  6. I am so so greateful for that, I can do more,to help to spends my time,energy my force for helping hands. Thanks

  7. I don’t expect emergency services too notice social media for emergency calls for help but I would expect that to be one of the fastest ways to disseminate information in a general emergency like earthquake, fire, flooding or invasion. I would certainly look to Twitter for fast info assuming networks were working. I think it’s not feasible economically to expect emergency networks to have staff to monitor SM and there’s too much potential for mischief as well, not to mention privacy concerns. Let’s be reasonable and realistic folks! On the other hand people will connect and disseminate info and help among their own networks. That’s a bonus we didn’t have in the past.

    • Hi Laurel – we completely agree with you. Best bet is to always call 911 in an emergency because there’s no guarantee anyone will see a call for help in social media. Already, Canadian Red Cross and many other agencies are using social media to disseminate information in times of emergencies.
      Thanks for your comments!

  8. This proves that the general population is unrealistic about emergency response and so is the Red Cross about people having time and space to prepare for a disaster.

  9. Reblogged this on Sarah de Boer and commented:
    Fascinating findings by the Canadian Red Cross about people’s perception of social media and emergency support.

  10. […] Canadian Red Cross Share this:DiggShare on Tumblr Pin ItPrintEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  11. […] interaction with medical professionals via social media. A recent report released this week by the Canadian Red Cross indicated that “63% of Canadians think emergency services such as fire and police should be […]

  12. […] week we released the results of a survey on the use of social media in emergencies. The survey showed that 63% of Canadians think emergency services such as fire and police should […]

  13. […] Canadian Red Cross also recently released the results of a survey on social media in emergencies. The results show that most Canadians think that emergency responders are monitoring social media […]

  14. […] according to our recent survey, two-thirds of Canadians are not ready for more commonplace disasters like house fires, floods, […]

  15. […] year in social media in regards to emergency response. The Canadian Red Cross released the results of a national survey that looked at the perceptions and expectations of social media in an e…. The results showed that 63% of Canadians think that emergency responders such as police and fire […]

  16. […] 2012, our own Canadian Red Cross survey about social media use in disasters demonstrated that it’s a space emergency officials cannot afford to ignore. The […]

  17. […] Not long after I started working as a social media consultant for the Canadian Red Cross, the organization released a survey on the use of social media in emergencies. […]

  18. […] to the north, the Canadian Red Cross (CRC), conducted a similar survey of Canadians and their attitudes toward social media and emergencies.  The CRC study found that 64 percent of Canadians use social media (No surprise there, right?)  […]

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  20. Good article. I am experiencing many of these issues as well.
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