Twitter is now being used in a bid to prevent heath fires in Dorset. In a joint venture by the National Trust and Dorset Fire & Rescue, members of the general public are being encouraged to tweet about and irregular goings on or suspicious activities.
Whilst many of the fires that occur up and down the country are the result of prolonged periods of heat and arid conditions, unfortunately the heaths are in constant threat from intentional arson and criminal damage. In June of this year a fire destroyed one sq km (247 acres) and devastated wildlife on Upton Heath, near Poole.
Given the recent people power we have seen with the so-called ‘Twitter Revolution’ in Egypt, it is unsurprising that other organisations are harnessing the capabilities of rapid, mass communication. For the summer months when the danger of heath fires is at its peak, a new @NTPurbeck Twitter account has been created.
As the National Trust’s Laurie Clark explains: “We know more and more of our visitors carry smartphones so we think Twitter could be a useful new tool in the battle against arson”. Sgt Jon McCarthy of Dorset Police added: “We would encourage anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity, either on National Trust land or anywhere else across Dorset, to contact Dorset Police and report it immediately”.
With the rise of ‘pocket journalism’ there is no reason why people with the technological means cannot also be extra eyes and ears for emergency services and law enforcement agencies.