Stop Using Social Media To Report Emergencies, Fire Department Pleads

Matt Bigler
September 11, 2019 - 1:28 pm
Steam rising at the Embarcadero Station was wrongly reported by social media users as a smoking fire on Sept. 10, 2019.

Kirsten Sze


If you see something, you shouldn't necessarily say something on social media, according to the San Francisco Fire Department

The city's firefighters received erroneous reports on Twitter that smoke was escaping from the Embarcadero train station on Tuesday.

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The smoke was actually steam rising from grates, but that didn't stop the incorrect messages from ricocheting around smartphones.

No one bothered to call 911 about it, the fire department said. 

Information about possible fires and other emergencies should should get funneled to the fire department through 911, spokesman Jonathan Baxter said.

The department's Twitter account is not monitored around the clock whereas the 911 call center is always staffed, Baxter said.

Relaying information from Twitter to dispatchers takes time and is likely less accurate than speaking directly to a witness.