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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!

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Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

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Thanks for the knowledge and the encouragement.

Witch Creek Fire Survivor, 2007