Fire Department Tweets during blaze: Going too far?

Twitter is being used more-and-more extensively by public departments these days who are seeing the benefit of social media for communicating with the public and keeping people updated on a situation. Only recently with the Boulder Fire in Colorado for example the Boulder Sheriff’s Department used Twitter and Facebook for keeping the public informed on the situation and also in the recent New Zealand earthquake social media was used extensively for communication purposes.

Now it seems that a fire department in Seattle is not only reporting on fire incidents after the event, but also during the actual blaze. Corey Bergman over on Lost Remote reports that at a large fire on Monday attended by the Seattle Fire Department, its public information officers actually used Twitter while the blaze was going on including providing photographs and also tweeting the news that a firefighter had been injured.

After the blaze the fire chief did the usual reports for the media while public information officers gave details of the fire on the department’s blog. Although at first this sounds like a progressive move by this fire department and also of course saves the media bothering the information officers for news while a blaze is in progress, it does raise the question of whether the public have the automatic right to hear about everything that happens, as it happens. Obviously when its a question of keeping people in the surrounding area from harm that’s one thing, but is this using Twitter just to feed people’s curiosity?

For more on this go to People are always intrigued to find out any possible information when certain events take place but in a time of cutbacks is this the best possible use of resources? We’ be interested to know how you feel about this so would welcome your comments.