How Facebook’s ‘Safety Check’ feature helped a local San Diegan let his family know he was safe
COLUMBUS, Ohio (KUSI) — As tragedy unfolded at Ohio State University Monday morning, a social media feature helped those affected by the attack let their friends and family know if they were safe. Facebook’s "Safety Check" feature, which uses a users location to determine if they are near a disaster, was activated to provide assistance to those nearby.
If you’ve given Facebook access to your phone’s location, or have listed the city where a disaster happened in your profile, a notification will be sent to your profile asking if you are safe. Once you are marked safe, only your friends will see your status. It also allows you to see whether your friends have marked their status as safe if they are in an affected area.
Facebook has rolled out the feature over 20 times, first using it during Typhoon Ruby in the Philippines in 2014. The first time it was used for a disaster in the United States was during the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting earlier this year. It was also used during the Chelsea bombing in New York City, the Hoboken train crash in New Jersey and the police shootings in Dallas.
Mark Detrow, a Senior at Ohio State University, San Diego native and son of Jeff from the "Jeff and Ger Radio Show," used the feature Monday morning to let his friends and family know he was safe. He also spoke with KUSI to describe his experience as he was getting ready to go to class before receiving the startling alert that an emergency was ongoing on campus.