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Last fall here in San Diego I smelled the all-too familiar smell of wildfire smoke. I went outside and looked around and didn't see anything pressing, but the smell worried me. I went inside and turned on the radio and TV and didn't see or hear anything about currently burning fires. I went on a couple of news websites including CalFire, but still nothing.

Then something made me remember Twitter. Remember the Miracle on the Hudson that was famously first reported by a bystander on Twitter? I went to my twitter account, did a search for "San Diego Fire" and immediately found that it was a fire in Tijuana. Someone had even posted a picture of the fire.

Then we had the region wide blackout. Again, twitter on my smart phone was the first source of information, although having that battery/solar/crank powered radio helped once the radio broadcasters caught on and cell towers ran out of batteries. 

My point here is that everyone should have a Twitter account in case of emergency. During an evacuation is not the time to create an account and try to install the app on your cell phone. Install it, follow a few people and be familiar with how to search for information in case of an emergency.

Of course there is always the caveat to beware of this type of information based on the source. In fact this article states the following about news from Twitter:

"There is valuable information being tweeted. The constant flow of information over Twitter and Facebook makes professional news sites pale in their ability to break important news. You aren’t necessarily looking for trusted sources when you rely on Twitter for information, you are looking for speed." 

To help you get started we have created a few lists that might be helpful. You can follow the lists directly and if we find new sources of information to follow you will also be immediately updated. Be aware that we are planning on adding other Southern California areas, but take a look at the lists we currently have here:

https://twitter.com/#!/CAReHelpInc/lists 

And if you know an entity on Twitter who has great, disaster relevant updates, let us know!

Inspirational Quotes

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.

Albert Einstein

Testimonials

We lost our home in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire in Poway CA. As was the case with most (if not all) of my neighbors, we were drastically under insured through no fault of our own. I don’t believe that anyone is prepared for such a catastrophic emotional and financial loss. The task of completely rebuilding your life is monumental. Fortunately, the city of Poway co-operated with CARe and allowed them to hold bi-weekly insurance meetings in the City Chambers. After attending 2 of the group meetings we then scheduled several one-on-one meetings with CARe and were able to start to piece together the puzzle that is a catastrophic insurance claim. The resources which CARe was able to put us in touch with were incredible, and after they showed us the basics of handling an insurance claim we felt that we had knowledge to work through the once daunting task of negotiating with our insurance company. We could not have made it through the process without the information, help and encouragement that we received from CARe

Witch Creek Fire Survivor, 2007