People affected by California wildfires get and send firsthand information using micro-blogging service Twitter. Usually during emergencies, all telecommunications networks get overloaded due to huge communication flow increase in all affected areas.
2004 Tsunami taught us that when telephone landlines do not work anymore, mobile network is overloaded, short-messages (SMS) were still going through, but often with up to a hour delivery delay (better than no communication).
One of the most critical problem to solve during emergencies is how to spread information on both directions (from affected people to emergency services and from helpers to victims). In addition, affected people and their relatives are in need to get in touch.
In California, the American Red Cross, among others, have open 2 Twitters threads. One is made to push information out (e.g evacuation routes) and the 2nd one is "Safe and Well" which provides a way for affected people to register as “safe and well.” using a list of standard messages.
Concerned relatives can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well.” directly on American Red Cross website.2007, 24, american red cross, arc, blog, california, cellular, ces, communication, delay, emergency, how to, ia, ict, im, lan, list, live, micro-blogging, mobile, Mobile Communications, network, nomadcom.net, phone, red cross, safe, search, services, sms, sun, telecom, Telecommunications, touch, twit, Twitter, user, web, website, wildfire, wp, www