The London Fire Brigade reveals it could allow people to tweet emergencies instead of dialling 999

The deputy commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Rita Dexter, has revealed that it is considering allowing people to tweet their emergencies instead of using 999.

The service currently advises against using social media to report fires as it is not monitored 24 hours a day.

But Dexter has said with more and more people using smartphones the London Fire Brigade needs to "improve how it communicates with the public".

"With over a billion people now using Facebook and half a billion using Twitter, it's quite clear that social media is here to stay," said Dexter

"The London Fire Brigade is the biggest fire service in the country and we think it's important to look into ways to improve how we communicate with the public and how they can get in touch with us."

London Fire Brigade has used Twitter for information on fires in the past. At the beginning of the year London Fire Brigade was faced with a lack of information when a police helicopter was unavailable to reach a large fire in west London. It asked its Twitter followers to take pictures and describe the scene. This allowed for a more detailed assessment of the situation and the subsequent dispatch of around 75 fire fighters. London Fire Brigade states without Twitter it would have taken longer to control the fire.

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