In case of a crisis, you'll be able to connect with your neighbors through Facebook for help through a new Community Help update for Safety Check, the company introduced Wednesday.
Community Help will allow users to aid those in need or find help such as food, water and supplies.
Safety Check, is a way to tell family and friends you are safe through Facebook during a disaster. The feature has been activated hundreds of times since it launched in 2014.
The new update is based on what Facebook has seen users do in a community during a crisis, the company said. For example, users in a community used their own groups or posts to reach out or ask for help, in crisis events, like the Chennai, India flooding in December 2015.
For the Community Help update, Facebook took advice from experts, humanitarian relief groups and the company’s own in-the-field researchers.
These are screenshots of the new Community Help update:
How Facebook Safety Check Is Activated
In order to use Community Help, Safety Check must first be activated. Safety Check is activated when global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert Facebook that an incident has happened and give it a title. Facebook then starts monitoring posts about the disaster event in the area. The second thing that needs to happen for Safety Check to activate is a high number of people talking about the incident, which may lead them to mark themselves safe and invite other users to do so as well.
How To Use Facebook’s Community Help
Starting Wednesday, users will be able to see Community Help if there is an incident or accidental disaster. With the update, users can reach out for help or give help to others. Community Help also lets users directly message each other to connect during a disaster.
In the Community Help feature, posts related to the disaster can be viewed by category and location. You can search for the type of help you need from categories including food, transportation, baby supplies, pet supplies, shelter and water. Through posts in the categories, you’ll then find people in the area who are offering the type of assistance you need. You can message the person directly to connect.
Here’s a video on how it works:
Community Help Launch
Community Help will first be available for natural and accidental events, such as an earthquake or fire. The update will launch in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia for the first couple of weeks, and will expand to other countries and additional types of crisis incidents when Facebook learns more about how people interact with the feature.