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IrmaSOS: Emergency Response on Social Media

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AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
Key West, FL

Hurricane Irma returned to Category 4 on Sunday morning. Emergency response officials are watching social media as a back-up for 911 phone systems. During Hurricane Harvey, 911 systems became overwhelmed with calls for service prompting social media calls for help. Officials learned a valuable lesson from Harvey and are being proactive with new methods of emergency situation reporting.

Officials stress that those in life-threatening situations call 911 first and stay on the line. Back-up systems are being monitored by volunteers and other emergency management officials. The Twitter hashtag #IrmaSOS appears to be one way for people to get information and ask for help.

A volunteer group set up an Irma Rescue Request Form where a person trapped by the storm or someone who knows of a person trapped can make a report online. The form will be relayed to emergency management officials, the form states.

As the Category 4 Hurricane Irma approached the Florida Keys, prayer requests also popped up on the #IrmaSOS tag.

The #IrmaSOS tag is also being used to report abandoned pets.

News 12 NBC 26 Tweeted a list of important phone numbers as a reference for people needing assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

At 5 a.m. AST Hurricane Irma prepared to storm across the Florida Keys. Winds increased to 130 mph and the storm is moving to the northwest (325 degrees) at 8 mph. Hurricane force winds extend 80 miles from the storm’s eye wall.

The storm is expected to take a track parallel to the Florida Gulf Coast. The track makes it difficult to predict where the storm will make landfall. It also places much of the western side of Florida on the “dirty side” of the storm where the heaviest winds and strongest rains occur. Storm surges of up to 15 feet are predicted by the National Hurricane Center. The weather service also predicts up to 25 inches of rain in isolated areas.

Follow complete coverage of Hurricane Irma on Breitbart News.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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