Twitter has today launched the "Twitter Alerts" service in Australia in Partnership with a number of emergency services nationally including the NSW RFS. This service allows a user to subscribe to a particular channel who can then push messages as special alerts either as notifications or text messages. Alert messages are also specially highlighted in the users feed to ensure they stand out. 

During the October 2013 Fires in NSW the RFS Website went down on a number of occasions due to overwhelming traffic. This alert service will allow the service to continue the flow of information should something similar occur in the future. 

As Rob Rogers, Deputy Commissioner for the NSW Rural Fire Service says:

“The NSW RFS uses Twitter not only to push out information and warnings to the community during major bushfire emergencies, but also as an intelligence tool, pulling information in which can assist with the firefighting effort.

During the October bushfires, we saw more than 20 million impressions and 18,300 retweets of NSW RFS messages, and an incredible 470 million impressions of#nswfires on Twitter. Twitter Alerts gives us another way of delivering important safety information, directly to people when they need it most.”

The initial Australian launch agencies are:

To subscribe just click the subscribe link above, login to Twitter and follow the prompts through.