Where Do You Go For Info During an Emergency?

It's an emergency! What's the first thing you look for?

You spend most of your day online, so it's no surprise that your mobile phone is the first thing you'd go to. You could search online for an update, or perhaps call for some help!

Turns out, Canadians would also like to know about an emergency with a notification.

Across Canada, as the number of disasters and emergencies increase, more and more Canadians turn to their digital device for alerts and accurate information and services.

According to Information in Disasters, a study conducted by the Canadian Red Cross, emergency situations have caused nearly a third of Canadians to sign up to get information during or after an incident.

Sixty-one per cent preferred Facebook as a platform to get this information, 57 per cent prefer email and 34 per cent would like a text alert.

A similar survey was conducted in 2012 by the Canadian Red Cross - Social Media in Emergencies.

It threw a light on the changing digital behaviour of Canadians.

Today, two-thirds of Canadians would be more likely to sign up to receive information about the location of medical services, shelters through emails, text alerts, or apps during or after an emergency. This number was just half in 2012.

Canadians who have experienced an emergency are more likely to sign up for alerts (66 per cent), compared to those who have not (55 per cent). Which means, those who have experienced disasters, such as wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia, value such services.

Social media clearly has a place in spreading information. And during emergencies, this helps.

The top preferred channels continue to be television (23 per cent) and local radio stations (22 per cent).

However, fewer Canadians turn to television and radio for information during emergencies since 2012 (was at 39 per cent and 26 per cent respectively).

Apart from information, Canadians are also expecting access to online services in a disaster situation. This includes ways to find information about their family, access to financial assistance, and updates on their property and potential damage.

"From providing answers and real-time updates through our social media channels, to distributing funds rapidly through e-transfer, we’re continuously working towards ways to help Canadians as quickly and efficiently as possible. Along with our partners, and with the support of governments, we cannot be afraid to try new things and take new approaches because that is ultimately how we will reach more vulnerable Canadians," said Sara Falconer, Director, Digital Communications, Canadian Red Cross.

It's fascinating how digital age is changing how we react during any situation, no?

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