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Hall fire services joins Twitter
Fire staff use Facebook page and RSS feeds, too
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While Hall County residents are checking updates from their friends, they can also track emergency, traffic and weather alerts in their area.

Hall County Fire Services joined Twitter as HallCoFire to send out real-time alerts, help followers steer clear of major traffic incidents and tell residents how to prepare for severe weather.

Fire Chief David Kimbrell and Fire Marshal Scott Cagle, who will tweet updates, plan to send out fire safety tips as well.

"This is a quick, free way for us to let people know important information to keep their families safe and maybe save them some time fighting traffic," Kimbrell said. "Twitter is gaining popularity, so we hope to develop a strong following and make our county safer."

Hall County staff started using social media in October 2010 to reach out to residents, including a Facebook page and RSS feed.

"So far it's been a good tool to be more interactive with the public. The Facebook page was especially useful during the winter weather we had this year," said Nikki Young, Hall County's public information officer.

"People appreciated receiving updates about road conditions and office closings, and I appreciated their feedback about areas that needed attention and pats on the back for our public works and public safety staff," she said. "That two-way communication is what makes social media such a great tool."

The Hall County Sheriff's Office also uses Nixle to send alerts about crimes in a certain area, and Vimeo allows the Hall County Board of Commissioners to post videos online.

"People communicate and consume information so differently than they did even a few years ago," Young said.

"Every service provider, including the government, has to change how they communicate with the public. For Hall County government, it's our responsibility to inform people about what public services we provide and about public safety issues."