When emergencies strike, local agencies use different mediums to get the message out. The Lubbock Fire Department demonstrated this Wednesday and Thursday as emergency crews responded to a chemical leak was discovered at Bayer Crop Science in North Lubbock. LFD took to Facebook to keep the public informed and spread the word about evacuations and road closures.
When the evacuation orders were issued early Thursday morning, police made reverse 911 calls to spread the word but not everyone has land lines these days. However, many of those people are connected 24/7 through Facebook.
"Facebook beeps at you and says, 'Hey there's something new and that's the great part in a situation like this,'" Assistant Fire Marshal Elliot Eldredge said.
Shortly after the news broke, LFD established an isolation zone and got the word out almost instantly on Facebook.
"When your house and your family is affected, the more information you have, the better you can respond," Eldredge said.
However, it didn't stop there. Over the next 24 hours, LFD posted nearly 30 updates on the situation and photos of the cleanup.
"The citizens don't realize what these guys are trying to do. It's good to get it out there," Eldredge said.
Numerous officials posted to the page as the situation developed and changed.
"It's probably the first time it's been used to this magnitude - we're talking quite a few hours and quite a few updates," Eldredge said.
And Eldredge states that he believes this public interaction is necessary.
"I think they get to see what they're paying for. Any way to reach citizens, the better," Eldredge said.
He added that the page has also given the Fire Department great feedback.
"Thanks for letting us know. We had encouragement and prayers for the people in the hazmat suits going into the danger," Eldredge said.
Hopefully Lubbock won't see another emergency like this anytime soon, but if we do, LFD is ready to spread the word.
"After seeing how well it worked, I'm sure we'll implement it more," Eldredge said.
To view the Lubbock Fire Department Facebook page, click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/LubbockFireDepartment
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