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Using Social Media to Capture Breaking News

As employers continue to crack down on what’s acceptable to post on social media sites, incidents like the one in Kentucky this weekend illustrate the value fire fighters bring to the community.

March Madness took over University of Kentucky fans this past weekend when the men’s team defeated its arch state rival, the University of Louisville in a Final Four showdown.

When basketball fans began to set fire and overturn cars, Lexington, KY Local 526 chronicled it all on Twitter, sending photos and updates in real time.

The Lexington Herald-Journal and the local NBC television affiliate reposted information that the fire fighters posted.

Here are some of the tweets:

Scanner: Police can use pepperball spray if students on State Street keep throwing bottles.

?@HLpublicsafety: About 9:45 p.m., cops started sweeping state street by walking in formation. Revelers are dispersing. #bbn?

?@HLpublicsafety: Crowd has flipped another car in 100 block of State Street. About two dozen students are on top of it.?

IAFF Local 526 president Christopher Bartley says the union re-tweeted information when runs were completed. Local 526 uses its Twitter to help promote what fire fighters do. Saturday was no different he says. Fire fighters received between some 36 to 40 calls in regards to fires set to furniture on Saturday and to a vehicle being overturned.

Bartley says the main message he wants to get out to the public is how public safety resources are strained during events like what happened on Saturday.

IAFF Local 526 is raising awareness and getting attention. USA Today took notice  and asked the union for their take on what happened on Saturday.

"For the most part, the students were cordial and they got out of our way and even clapped for us when we came through," Bartley says. "But you got your few who wanted to vandalize and cause problems."

Comments (2) -

  • Andrew Doyle (Baltimore)

    4/4/2012 4:14:44 PM |

    L734 has been doing this for over a year now.  We consistently send information on what our members are doing AS IT HAPPENS.  Additionally, we provide pictures, video and even fire ground audio.  If any local would like help setting this up, please contact me and we can talk. Take a look at our services.

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/baltimorefirefighters
    Twitter: @BCFDL734
    Website: www.baltimorefirefighters.net

  • Local 122 in Jacksonville Florida has effectively used Social Media now for almost three years.  With over 7,500 followers on our Facebook page, we can have our side of an issue out there in a flash.  

    We have integrated our social media feeds into our website, which is geared more for public consumption then it is member usage.  Our Twitter feed automatically integrates with our Facebook page, and in turn provides instant updates to our website. Just one picture from an incident in the field allows me to show followers the job we do every day.

    We are even at the point to where our local media outlets pull pictures from our Facebook page to create VOPS (Voice Over Photos) to fill their newscasts.  This strengthens our relationship with the media and makes us a "Go to" on slow news days and "Sweeps" period.

    I have assisted many locals with establishing their own social media campaigns free of charge.  If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.

      Mark Treglio
      VP/Director of Public Relations
      Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters Local 122
      Director of Communications- Florida Professional Fire Fighters
      (904) 219-8657

    Local 122 on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Jacksonville-Association-of-Fire-Fighters/232355851855

    FPF on Facebook: www.facebook.com/.../109129175771577

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