The tragic forest fires in Fort McMurray have now been classified as “too large and too fierce to be stopped without rain”. Families are being forced to leave their homes and possessions. Parents are leaving without photo albums, children are without their favourite toys and babies have just enough bare necessities to live.
At a time when fellow Canadians need support, many feel helpless. However, we feel social media is helping bring the country together and there are many ways you can help and keep updated.
Here are four ways you can use social media to assist and stay up to date on the Fort McMurray fires.
Go online here to donate on behalf of yourself or an organization or Text FIRES to 45678 to donate $10 or Text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $5. Donations to @RedCrossAB will be matched by the Alberta government. Evacuee’s are also being asked to register via phone and online here so that concerned friends and family can inquire about their safety.
Over 60,000 people are looking for homes or somewhere to stay as shelters and aid centers are quickly filling up. If you are in the area, use the hashtag #YMMHELPS to tweet about how much space you have and how many people you can accommodate. These offers also include couches to stay on, bottles of water, cash and pet/livestock space. Users can also check the #YMMFire hashtag and follow @AB_EmergAlert and @YourAlberta for other updates.
Facebook has created a FACEBOOK SAFETY CHECK titled The Wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. This safety check enables you to “quickly find and connect with friends in the area”, you also have the ability to “mark them safe if you know that they’re OK”. Another feature of this safety check is users can let their friends know if they are in the affected area and update their friends as they go with their location and wellness.
There is a YouTube channel dedicated to live updates on the Fort McMurray fire. It is updated and streamed live regularly and is hosted by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency. To watch these updates, click here. Minister Danielle Larivee speaks about the situation, areas effected and assistance efforts.