Safety Check is now a permanent feature on Facebook. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Facebook’s Safety Check is now a permanent feature on the social networking site. It has also gotten its own dedicated tab within the Facebook app, making it easier for users to alert their friends and family about their safety during times of calamity.

“Safety Check helps our community let loved ones know they are safe during a crisis, find and give help, as well as learn more about a crisis,” Facebook said on its Disaster Response page. “There's now a single place to go to see where Safety Check has recently been activated, get the information you need and potentially be able to help affected areas.”

Facebook says that Safety Check will gradually be rolled out to all Android and iOS users in the “upcoming weeks” as part of an app update. The company also shared a photo of how the new Safety Check feature will work, and it looks like a new version of the News Feed.

The Safety Check section will show a feed listing recent interactions of users and their friends. The section will also contain a list of recent catastrophes along with people who’ve already marked themselves as safe. There’s also an “around the world” section, where users can view where Safety Check has been activated in other countries.

When users tap on an event, it will show a description of what happened, along with information on fundraisers and the number of people offering help via the Community Help feature.

To access Safety Check, users will have to go to the the right-most part of the Facebook app. Safety Check is listed on this page along with other features. Although Safety Check is now a permanent part of Facebook, it still feels like it’s buried inside the app, as pointed out by The Verge.

Even if it’s tucked away within the Facebook app, at least it’s permanently there. What Facebook needs to do now is to effectively inform all of its users that Safety Check is now more accessible than ever.

Safety Check was first introduced by Facebook back in 2014, but this is the first time that the feature has been made permanent. Previously, Safety Check would only appear on the users’ News Feed if they needed to mark themselves as safe when they are staying in an area affected by a disaster. The feature identifies a user’s location based on the city that’s listed on their profile, their last known location on Nearby Friends and the location of their internet connection.

Adding the Safety Check as a permanent feature on Facebook not only makes it easier for people to know their friends and family are safe, but it also helps in spreading better information and not cause panic. The previous implementation of Safety Check was problematic since Facebook would often alert a whole city when a situation was only affecting one specific area.

“We want to make sure that Safety Check continues to be useful and relevant to people during a crisis and does not create panic or false alarm,” Safety Check software engineer Peter Cottle said.