Officials at the Atlanta Public School system reportedly used Twitter to alert parents to an emergency situation at Finch Elementary School this morning. Some students and staff were overcome by carbon monoxide in the school. (See the AJC front page for updates on this story.)
“Just after 9 a..m., the school system tweeted the following: “Parents of students @APSFinch – We will provide more information regarding next steps at Finch Elementary as soon as possible.” A later tweet advised parents that students were being relocated to Brown Middle School on Peeples Street “due to potential hazmat concern.”
More from the story:
“At least 31 people were taken to local hospitals Monday after apparently being overcome by carbon monoxide at a southwest Atlanta elementary school.
The incident began about 8:30 a.m. at Finch Elementary School in the 1100 block of Avon Avenue near Lee Street.
“We received reports of five or six people unconscious,” Atlanta fire Capt. Marian McDaniel told the AJC. “Crews arriving on the scene did not encounter anyone that was unconscious, but there were several students and teachers feeling ill.”
McDaniel said 29 students were taken to Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding, while two adults — a teacher and a cafeteria worker — were also taken to local hospitals.
Fire and medical personnel were still evaluating the rest of the students at 10:30 a.m. Those who checked out okay were being transported to Brown Middle School….”
So my question is: Is your school using social media to alert parents to emergency situations?
I am really surprised the school system used Twitter and not a Facebook page for the school to alert parents. The percentage of people on Twitter is considerably smaller than the percentage on Facebook. Also Twitter is broad swath communicator that hits all people where as a Facebook page would only hit those parents interested in news about APS or Finch Elementary School. (If they used FB, we haven’t heard that from officials.)
Our school’s PTO has a Facebook page that they use very effectively for school events. They might post there as a secondary means of communication in an emergency but our school system usually uses robo calls for emergencies. For example, I get robo calls to my cell phone when children in the district have been approached by weirdos at bus stops or while going to school.
Now the university I work for has a text and email system that is constantly alerting users to robberies or fires or gas leaks. (I don’t know what in the heck is going on in their science buildings. There are constantly things leaking.) But you have to sign up to get the alerts.
How does your school communicate with parents in an emergency? Do they have a social media plan for emergencies? Are you following your school system or school on Twitter? How about on Facebook?