Safety Check – The Facebook Feature You Need To Like

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Predict.Plan.Perform.®, it’s nice to see others using our methodology. Predicting threats and crises, planning for how to deal with a crisis and lastly, performing as flawlessly as possible during and after a crisis. It’s what we do here at Firestorm.

When we see others following our steps, it ensures that we are performing best industry practices. The most recent validation has become prominent in the world of social media. More specifically, Facebook.

Recently, a new Facebook feature caught my eye. It’s not a new design or way to block all of the advertisements from the side panel. No, this new feature is called Safety Check. Safety check

Safety Check is a way to notify friends and family if you’re safe after a natural disaster in your area.


This feature was created after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. During the natural disaster, over 12.5 million people were affected and more than 400,000 were evacuated. The damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami were upwards of $300 billion. Several nuclear reactors were damaged during the storms.

The people in the damaged areas relied heavily on social media to stay connected to friends and family. “Unfortunately, these kinds of disasters happen all too frequently. Each time, we see people, relief organizations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster,” said Facebook in a blog post.



Facebook engineers in Japan were the first to design the product. The first prototype was called the Disaster Message Board and it was completed a year after the disaster. They saw a need, so a product was created. According to Facebook, the response was overwhelming. Soon after, the designed developed into Safety Check, which will be available on IOS and Android phones and desktops.

Facebook will send users in a natural disaster affected area a notification asking if they’re safe. Locations are determined by the cities listed in profiles, last “checked in” locations and the city where a user is accessing the Internet.

After receiving the notification, click the “I’m Safe” button to update friends. Friends can also mark if another friend is safe. Additionally, users can check a list of others affected by the disaster to check if they are safe as well.

While this feature is new to Facebook, it has previously been brushed upon by others. In 2012, Google created “Public Alerts” on Maps and Search after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Google’s product aims to show “relevant weather, public safety and earthquake alerts” from the U.S. National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. According to a blog on Google, “They [alerts] appear based on targeted Google Searches, such as [Superstorm Sandy], or with location-based the booksearch quires like [New York]. In addition to the alert, you’ll also see relevant response information, such as evacuation routes, crisis maps or shelter locations.” 


Both Facebook and Google have joined the effort to prepare for when disasters strike. They have completed the Predict phase, and with the addition of the alerts are in the Plan phase. The final phase, Perform, will be tested when the next natural disaster strikes. It is not about if a crisis will occur, but rather when.

Regardless of if it is a school or business, every organization must be prepared for disaster. Firestorm can help. Contact us to learn more about Predict.Plan.Perform and download our free book, Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America.

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