'Need help': Harvey victims use social media when 911 fails - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

'Need help': Harvey victims use social media when 911 fails

Posted: Updated:

Desperate for help and unsure whether traditional rescue efforts will come through, Harvey victims are using social media to share maps of their location and photos of themselves trapped on rooftops and inside buildings.

"Need help in NE Houston! Baby here and sick elderly!" one user posted on Twitter along with her address late Sunday.

Another woman, Alondra Molina, posted Monday on Facebook that her sister was desperate for a rescue for herself and her four children, including a 1-year-old.

"Please if someone could at least get them out of the city me and my mom will come get them," Molina wrote. "The roads are just all blocked and we can't get in."

Annette Fuller took a video when she began fearing for her life on Sunday. She was on the second floor of a neighbor's home along with the residents of three other houses, including five children, as water rose and hit waist level on the first floor.

"We called 911 and it rang and rang and rang and rang," Fuller said Monday after the water receded and she managed to return safely to her single-story home.

"There's just no agency in the world that could handle Harvey," she said. "However, none of us were warned that 911 might not work. It was very frightening."

Fuller's two daughters, who live in Austin and Dallas, posted her video to Facebook after their mother texted it to them, and the post went viral.

"Social media, in some ways, is more powerful than the government agencies," Fuller said.

A nursing home in Dickinson, a low-lying city 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston, quickly became the face of the crisis after its owner took a photo of residents , some in wheelchairs, up to their chests in water.

The nursing home owner, Trudy Lampson, sent the photo to her daughter, whose husband posted it Sunday to Twitter, where it's been retweeted about 4,500 times.

The photo was so dramatic that many users denounced it as fake. The nursing home residents were saved the same day.

"Thanks to all the true believers that re-tweeted and got the news organizations involved," Lampson's son-in-law, Timothy McIntosh, posted later in the day. "It pushed La Vita Bella to #1 on the priority list."

McIntosh told The Associated Press on Monday that his post gained traction after a local newspaper reported it.

"We are in Tampa, Florida," he said. "The only way we could have an impact was by trying to reach out to emergency services and trying to do social media to gain attention to the cause."

Not only are the people who need rescuing relying on social media for help, volunteers and police departments alike are posting their phone numbers and instructions on Twitter and Facebook so people can get more immediate help.

An unofficial battalion of volunteers called the Cajun Navy who brought small boats to Houston posted on Facebook that people who need rescuing should download the Zello cellphone app to find rescuers close to their area.

"This will connect you with officials on the ground there that can navigate help your way. PLEASE SHARE!" said the post, which has been shared more than 12,000 times since Sunday night.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted early Sunday that a woman was going into labor and shared the address. An hour later he updated his followers that the woman had been taken away in an ambulance.

More than any other natural disaster, Harvey has made it clear that social media has revolutionized the search-and-rescue process, said Karen North, a professor of social media at the University of Southern California.

"And what's really fascinating is that this is not emergency services experts creating strategic systems to rescue people," North said. "This is evolving organically ... Not only can people reach out to 911 but to friends and family elsewhere who can not only reach out to 911 but directly to rescuers in the location where the person needs help.

"It's really just the idea of taking technology designed for one purpose and applying them to a disaster situation," North said.

Fuller said if the water rises again at her home, she won't bother calling 911 and will post directly to social media.

"If I was desperate, I'd put it in a public Facebook site and say, 'Somebody please help,' and hope that somebody was looking,'" she said.

___

Associated Press writers Regina Garcia Cano in Las Vegas, Alina Hartounian in Phoenix and Bob Eller in Chicago contributed to this report. Myers reported from Los Angeles.

Follow Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • TrendingMore>>

  • Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

    Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

    Thursday, June 21 2018 6:49 PM EDT2018-06-21 22:49:11 GMT

    The conservative writer and pundit Charles Krauthammer has died. Krauthammer had announced a year ago he was being treated for a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and in early June revealed that he likely had just weeks to live. 

    The conservative writer and pundit Charles Krauthammer has died. Krauthammer had announced a year ago he was being treated for a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and in early June revealed that he likely had just weeks to live. 

  • Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

    Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

    Thursday, June 21 2018 5:03 PM EDT2018-06-21 21:03:44 GMT

    Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died. The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation's preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.

    Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died. The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation's preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.

  • Trump ends migrant family separations

    Trump ends migrant family separations

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 7:52 PM EDT2018-06-20 23:52:37 GMT

    President Trump announced today that he has ended his administration's policy of separating families detained at the U.S. border.

    President Trump announced today that he has ended his administration's policy of separating families detained at the U.S. border.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two injured in Montana after swerving to avoid a kangaroo or wallaby

    Two injured in Montana after swerving to avoid a kangaroo or wallaby

    Thursday, June 21 2018 7:02 PM EDT2018-06-21 23:02:48 GMT
    kangaroo (Wikimedia Commons)kangaroo (Wikimedia Commons)

    UPDATE: Sources now indicate that the animal may actually have been an escaped wallaby from a petting zoo on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

    UPDATE: Sources now indicate that the animal may actually have been an escaped wallaby from a petting zoo on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

  • No charges filed in Lodge Grass triple murder

    No charges filed in Lodge Grass triple murder

    Friday, June 22 2018 6:08 PM EDT2018-06-22 22:08:16 GMT

    After a careful review of the evidence and witness testimony, prosecutors concluded the investigation could not conclusively determine who shot whom, or in what order the shots were fired.  Thus, there is no way to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, who actually fired the shot(s) that killed any of the decedents. 

    After a careful review of the evidence and witness testimony, prosecutors concluded the investigation could not conclusively determine who shot whom, or in what order the shots were fired.  Thus, there is no way to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, who actually fired the shot(s) that killed any of the decedents. 

  • Could Montana and Wyoming be saying goodbye to Daylight Saving Time?

    Could Montana and Wyoming be saying goodbye to Daylight Saving Time?

    Friday, June 22 2018 12:35 AM EDT2018-06-22 04:35:25 GMT

    Powell – On the longest day of the year, you may not be thinking about saving daylight. But, a Wyoming lawmaker in Powell is. He wants to save daylight in the winter, and stop changing the clock.

    Powell – On the longest day of the year, you may not be thinking about saving daylight. But, a Wyoming lawmaker in Powell is. He wants to save daylight in the winter, and stop changing the clock.

  • Big Horn County man charged in death of 5-year-old girl

    Big Horn County man charged in death of 5-year-old girl

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 6:57 PM EDT2018-06-19 22:57:58 GMT

    Bridger Franklin Boyd, a 34-year old Big Horn County resident, was arrested Tuesday in Billings by the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force on recently filed felony charges in connection with the June 18, 2018 death of a 5-year-old girl. 

    Bridger Franklin Boyd, a 34-year old Big Horn County resident, was arrested Tuesday in Billings by the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force on recently filed felony charges in connection with the June 18, 2018 death of a 5-year-old girl. 

  • Man charged in meth deaths of pregnant wife, daughter

    Man charged in meth deaths of pregnant wife, daughter

    Kayla Taylor OlsonKayla Taylor Olson

    A 25-year-old Great Falls man is charged with two counts of negligent homicide in the January overdose death of his pregnant wife and his daughter, who was born prematurely.

    A 25-year-old Great Falls man is charged with two counts of negligent homicide in the January overdose death of his pregnant wife and his daughter, who was born prematurely.

  • Great Falls Flooding Update

    Great Falls Flooding Update

    Friday, June 22 2018 10:24 AM EDT2018-06-22 14:24:06 GMT
    Great Falls, as well as the Sun and Dearborn River in Northern Cascade County, are going to be under a flood warning until further notice. Family, friends, and even strangers have worked together to fill hundreds of sandbags to protect themselves against this raging force of Mother Nature. "I came home last night and it’s flooding. The land’s flooding and there’s a low spot coming from my neighbors so it’s coming in and I think my building’s g...
    Great Falls, as well as the Sun and Dearborn River in Northern Cascade County, are going to be under a flood warning until further notice. Family, friends, and even strangers have worked together to fill hundreds of sandbags to protect themselves against this raging force of Mother Nature. "I came home last night and it’s flooding. The land’s flooding and there’s a low spot coming from my neighbors so it’s coming in and I think my building’s g...
  • Internet sales tax decision to impact Montanans

    Internet sales tax decision to impact Montanans

    Thursday, June 21 2018 11:49 AM EDT2018-06-21 15:49:02 GMT

    Attorney General Tim Fox issued a statement on how an internet sales tax ruling will impact Montanans. 

    Attorney General Tim Fox issued a statement on how an internet sales tax ruling will impact Montanans. 

  • No charges for teens who taunted drowning disabled man

    No charges for teens who taunted drowning disabled man

    Friday, June 22 2018 5:06 PM EDT2018-06-22 21:06:56 GMT

    COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Florida prosecutors say they aren't charging a group of teens who taunted a drowning disabled man and recorded his death.    State Attorney Phil Archer released a statement Friday announcing his office's decision not to criminally charge four juveniles and one adult for failing to help 31-year-old Jamel Dunn at a Cocoa retention pond last July.

    COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Florida prosecutors say they aren't charging a group of teens who taunted a drowning disabled man and recorded his death.    State Attorney Phil Archer released a statement Friday announcing his office's decision not to criminally charge four juveniles and one adult for failing to help 31-year-old Jamel Dunn at a Cocoa retention pond last July.