The current emergency situation in Tasmania has showed just how useful Facebook can be.
My sister's friend Janet lived outside one of the towns that was under threat from bushfire. Though my sister had had a text from Janet on Friday night, fire flared up in Bicheno again yesterday and we became concerned about Janet. My sister who didn't know how to use Facebook (she had only joined up a couple of days before), telephone me to tell me she couldn't reach Janet by phone. and ask if I could find Janet on Facebook. Janet has a common surname and there many women with her name on Facebook but none giving there place of residence as Bicheno. So then I had to look through the feeds of those Janets who didn't list their place name. My sister had told me that our Janet had a saluki and I found one feed with a picture of a saluki. Looking through other photos I found one that look it could be a beach near Bicheno so I sent a link to my sister. She confirmed it was Janet and we kept watching the feed. We found out she , and her three dogs, had made it to muster point at Cranbrook but then the police told everyone to leave there and drive to Swansea. Janet ended up on the wharf at Swansea but later, after being told that her house had survived the fires, she sneaked back and informed her Facebook friends that her house, horses and chickens were all OK.
Many other people have discovered the whereabouts of loved ones in similar ways to ours.
A page Tassie Fires - We Can Help
has worked wonders. Through it people have gotten information out of what is needed and what they could give. Such as
Farmers in the north of the state started a Hay Drive and were able to arrange a delivery point in the south and arrangement to get it out to southern farms using volunteers is being arranged.
Vets in Hobart have offered free boarding to cats if their owners are going into emergency accommodation that won't accept their cats.
Bororong Wildlife Park has offered to take in injured wildlife and also has a field in which homeless farm animals can be placed.
The Hobart Showgrounds have also offered camping sites for people with animals and also to set up some boarding facilities for animals whose owners cannot stay with them.
An owner of a dog begged for it to be rescued. As the fires approached Eaglehawk Neck the owners had taken the dog to the relative safety of the jetty and tied it up and then gone off to fight the fires. The owners ended up being evacuated and couldn't get back to the dog. After a post on Facebook the dog was rescued and reunited with its owners.
On Facebook people were told were the could drop off bottled water and food for the firefighters.
this are only some of the ways that people have been using Facebook to help during the emergency.