AUSTIN, Texas - Many eyes are looking towards the Atlantic as the 2020 hurricane season has already produced two named storms, and now social media giant Facebook is looking to assist Texas communities before what could be a busy storm season.
On May 28, Facebook announced they'll be providing Texas governments and residents with additional tools and resources to prepare and manage an active hurricane season.
"Texas communities depend on localized, timely communication during these storms, including information on evacuations, changing storm paths, and damage to area infrastructure," the company said in a press release.
Facebook will provide tools for law enforcement and emergency services to share critical information to those who may be in the path of an oncoming storm. The company says Texans rely on localized communications during the storms including information on evacuations, changing storm paths, and damages to area infrastructure such as roads.
“Facebook knows the devastation that hurricanes can cause in local Texas communities, and we’re focused on providing new tools and resources to support Texas residents when they need it the most," said Facebook Vice President, State Policy Will Castleberry. "With many in Texas continuing to stay home due to coronavirus, we hope these tools help them get timely information into the hands of Texans while helping them let their loved ones know they’re safe and get help with things like shelter, food, and supplies."
Here are the ways in which Facebook users can use the platform to stay connected during hurricanes:
- Follow city, town, county, and state first responders on Facebook to get Local Alerts for critical information such as road closures, weather alerts, and evacuations.
- Download Messenger to connect with loved ones to let them know you’re okay, share information about your situation, and reliably coordinate rescue or relief efforts.
- Create or find a Facebook Group in the wake of a storm to share information and get help and support from those in the community and surrounding area.
- Create or donate to a fundraiser on Facebook to help or get help with recovery and relief efforts. You can create or donate to a fundraiser for yourself, a loved one or an emergency response nonprofit.
Following Hurrican Harvey in 2017, the Facebook community rallied in a number of ways to help Texas who were affected, including raising more than $20 million. The largest fundraising effort for a natural disaster in 2017 on the platform, the company states.
Additionally, a number of Facebook groups were formed during Hurricane Harvey that helped provide material support to those affected by the storm. One group, Harvey Hurricane 1027, helped with the formation of a civilian rescue team that assisted in the rescue of more than 8,000 people.