Tech Watch: Emergency Resources To Follow During A Disaster

Brian Cooley, CNET Editor At Large
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Emergency personnel take postion at the finish line after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Emergency personnel take postion at the finish line after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – When the Boston Marathon bombing happened we all craved the latest, unfiltered information. The web is a solid way to get that, as long as you remember much of it is unfiltered and unchecked. Here are some places to start.

- Local emergency service radio frequencies are hopping when a disaster strikes, and sites like Broadcastify put those streams online so you don’t have to buy and program a complicated police scanner.

- Live webcams can be a really interesting, unvarnished view of the event. They are a little hard to search, but here in California, one good place to start is the lengthy page of CalTrans live traffic cams. Also, go to the local TV news station web sites like KPIX 5 that likely have live cams, feeds from their remote trucks and helicopters online that they don’t put a lot of on the air.

- Let loved ones know you are OK or look for a loved one at either Google Person Finder or the Red Cross check in site, both of which go into high gear when a major disaster or attack takes place. Its like a web-based bulletin board for announcements of people trying to find each other.

- Finally, Twitter has become a really important breaking news tool in its own unmanaged way. One key way to follow news on Twitter as opposed to accounts is to follow relevant hastags. For example you can see how the hashtag #boston spiked right after the marathon bombing from this chart at Hashtags.org, which is also a good place to find the latest trending hashtags.

 

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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