A Cleveland woman helped save the lives of a stranded Texas couple, she’s never met. From thousands of miles away, Chelsea was able to connect the couple to rescue crews...through a single tweet.
It all started with a Facebook post. A cry for help buried deep in the comment section.
“I was reading a CNN news thread and saw some woman posted a help message for her brother," said Chelsea.
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The woman, a complete stranger, wrote that her brother and his girlfriend were trapped inside their Texas home. They were unable to get out as the flood waters kept rising. “So I told her to tweet it because I know the rescue teams are on Twitter. She said she didn’t have a Twitter so I said I would do it for her,” said Chelsea.
Chelsea sent out the tweet with the man’s name and location.
“Within 10 minutes I had three rescue crews responding to me,” said Chelsea
#houston #harvey #rescue HELP! William Eric Devon Lacey unable to evacuate due to high water. 8714 cockburn st. Houston, Tx 77078.
— petty labelle (@OMGitsCMoody) August 29, 2017
Chelsea provided them with more information and a few hours late rescue crews were able to reach the couple. “She was very thankful that I was able to do that for her,” said Chelsea.
In the week since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, 911 centers have been inundated with thousands of calls, so many have turned to social media to ask for help. Mary Williams with the American Red Cross says volunteers are monitoring social media, to ensure those calls don’t fall on deaf ears.
“If key words like ‘Hurricane', 'Harvey' or 'Help’ pop up through the social media sphere, we know about it and we can push that back down to the boots on the ground,” said Williams.
But Williams says the information flows both ways. The Red Cross is also tapping into the power of social media. “It is extremely helpful to the red cross to have another voice out there, where we can push out messaging like safety tips or information on our shelters,” said Williams.
Williams notes that social media is not meant as a substitute for 911, just as a backup option.