Letter: The use of twitter as an early warning system for terrestrial search and rescue

Ian Greatbatch PhD FRGS MEPS School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, Kingston University. United Kingdom

Email I.Greatbatch@kingston.ac.uk



Recently I was informed about an automated email alert system, set up for a local Lowland Search and Rescue team. The team carries out searches for lost and missing people in the British countryside, at the request of the police, local government or fire brigade. To put this into context, the team of about 100 volunteers uses dogs and foot teams and has some specialist water and height access ability. The team operates (including supporting neighbouring teams) over an area of roughly 5-8,000 square miles. The team is alerted by a ‘hotphone’ number, available to police and fire services, which rings the mobile phone numbers of a small group of senior team members, who then assess the type of search required and (assuming they accept the job) stand up the team with whatever specialism is required. The callout and operation management is handled through the software D4H ([D4H] Technologies, 2014), which enables texts and emails to be sent to groups and subgroups within the larger team.

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