Miami-Dade County

Facebook activates its safety check feature after FIU bridge collapse

The Safety Check feature on Facebook allows the social media users to mark themselves safe after a disaster. Facebook activated its page within an hour of the collapse of the Florida International University bridge on Tamiami Trail.
The Safety Check feature on Facebook allows the social media users to mark themselves safe after a disaster. Facebook activated its page within an hour of the collapse of the Florida International University bridge on Tamiami Trail. Facebook

Soon after the Florida International University bridge collapsed across six lanes of Tamiami Trail Thursday afternoon, Facebook activated its Mark Yourself Safe feature.

Many have already visited The Bridge Collapse at Florida International University in Miami, FL page to mark themselves safe.

The feature, which gives the social media users an outlet to let loved ones know they are OK, is usually reserved for natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, school shootings or major fires that can affect hundreds or thousands of people.

But Southwest Eighth Street and 109th Avenue, the bridge intersection, is a heavily traveled roadway. The collapse of the 950-ton bridge crushed a still undetermined number of cars and may have killed at least six people who were stopped for a red light, police said. Eight patients have been transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center.

Though FIU is on spring break, the popular Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition opted to continue with its opening day at 3 p.m., shortly after the bridge fell across the roadway. Southwest Eighth Street serves as a route to nearby Tamiami Park and the FIU grounds where the Fair is held.

“We received several calls from folks up North so I thought I’d post. Sadly there are several fatalities,” read one post. “Just so tragic. Not a lot of information is available at this point.”

Video posted online shows bystanders and police vehicles rushing to the scene moments after the FIU pedestrian bridge collapsed on Southwest Eighth Street in Miami on March 15, 2018.

Facebook’s Help Center defines its Safety Check feature as a means “to allow people to quickly share that they’re safe with friends and family and helps them connect with people they care about.”

Safety Check also lets users tell others about what they know of a friend or a family member’s status who could have been in the affected area.

Facebook sends notifications to its users to give them option to use the service. Facebook determines users’ locations from the city listed in people’s profiles and users’ current location if they have provided the social media platform with their phone numbers.

Follow @HowardCohen

Aerial footage shows the aftermath of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapsing on Southwest Eighth Street in Miami on March 15, 2018.

  Comments