Those of us who grew up during the cold war, within range of American TV signals, will remember this traumatizing sound:
Here's what one version of the "Emergency Broadcasting System" looks like in the 21st century:
Twitter Alerts: A new way to get accurate, important information when you need it most. Learn more: https://t.co/ygFxyE04AO
— Twitter (@twitter) September 25, 2013
Hell, we all get our emergency news from Twitter already. But this is a great opportunity to ensure you get the most "official" news as it happens.
According to the Twitter blog:
If you sign up to receive an account’s Twitter Alerts, you will receive a notification directly to your phone whenever that account marks a Tweet as an alert. Notifications are delivered via SMS, and if you use Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android, you’ll also receive a push notification*. Alerts also appear differently on your home timeline from regular Tweets; they will be indicated with an orange bell.
It looks like you have to subscribe to individual organizations' Twitter Alerts. Here is FEMA https://twitter.com/fema/alertsRight now, Twitter alerts are limited to public safety organizations in the U.S., Japan and Korea, with plans to include more public institutions and NGOs around the world.
Having done emergency preparedness (and actual emergency) campaigns for clients like Public Safety Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, I can see this being pretty essential.
And I'm glad Twitter Alerts don't use that awful noise...