Thanks to a federal grant, FirstToSee gives emergency agencies and partners new tools for gathering real-time information during an emergency. The free FirstToSee app allows responders and volunteers to send photos, videos and detailed reports from the scene. Reports are sent to a central database where federal, state, and local officials can view and respond to incidents. Meanwhile, the FirstToSee support system allows agencies to filter and organize thousands of social media posts and news reports.
In the last five years, social media have played an increasing role in emergencies and disasters. Popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube now rank as the fourth most popular source for getting emergency information. The public has used social media to warn others of unsafe situations, stay in touch with friends and family, and raise funds for disaster relief. The FirstToSee system gives responders powerful tools for organizing and reviewing social media posts in real time.
The FirstToSee project development team is comprised of several agencies dedicated to public awareness and experienced with state-of-the-art technologies. Project partners include the Pacific Northwest Economic Region and Pierce County.