Your twitter stream is probably full of updates from friends, the latest celebrity gossip and tweets from companies promoting their wares.Follow @LBFire however, and you’ll find the updates from Lothian & Borders Fire & Rescue Service add some topical and useful information to your daily feed.
@LBFire is the brainchild of an operational firefighter for the service and the Corporate Comms Manager (“I do the firefighting in the office!”). They spotted an opportunity to use the medium to provide a useful service to people in the area, and submitted a proposal to their senior management.
They were given the green light and now use Twitter in a number of ways. Whilst some of the updates are informational – such as a recent series of updates publicising their free smoke detector fitting service – others are topical and reactive.
The operational tweeter is able to send out updates about incidents and jobs after the event; the account is therefore able to provide timely updates on local emergencies. Together, the pair are also able to scan the account and answer any questions that people may have regarding fire & safety.
They’ve been asked to report back to management after six months with their findings and are both optimistic: in a few short weeks, they’ve built up nearly 200 followers, with many retweets and a lot of positive feedback.
The ‘anonymous’ partnership also seems to work well (something we at Edinburgh Spotlight can relate well with!) with informal coordination between the two ensuring they cover and respond to as much as they can – without stepping on each others’ twitter toes.
If they get approval for their ‘experiment’, they are keen to explore how they can use twitter and other social media channels in even more innovative ways.
For now though, they will continue to use @LBFire to tweet out local fire & rescue related news, information and services – we encourage you to follow them and help this forward-thinking pair show how Twitter can be used as a valuable public service.