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#ALERT! There'll be EMERGENCIES on TWITTER for UK, Ireland

OMG the orange bell's appeared in my feed, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE #GovBods

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Twitter has brought its emergency alert system to the UK and Ireland after it kicked off in the US, Japan and South Korea in September.

The microblogging site has signed up Blighty's coppers, firefighters and other government agencies so they can tweet urgent messages at the country in times of crisis, or at least the small percentage of the country that's on Twitter.

To ensure that users can dig out these important missives from the reams of "information" in their Twitter feeds, alerts will get an orange bell and a hashtag for #alert.

"Getting fast and accurate information to the public in a major incident or terrorist attack really could make a life-saving difference," said Commander David Martin, who's in charge of emergency planning for the Metropolitan Police.

“Using social networking sites, including Twitter, gives us additional ways to talk directly to the public."

In case users reckon that a wee orange bell won't be enough to make the alerts stand out from the sea of inane rubbish that washes around social networks, they can also sign up to get a notification directly to their phone using texts or push notifications.

Twitter has been used to get information out during natural disasters like the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The firm has been working on official emergency services for the same purpose.

Twitter Alerts has been used by US, Japanese and Korean government services since September this year and has sent out messages about everything from bad weather to a report of gunshots on Capitol Hill by the US Senate's Sergeant at Arms. ®

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