On January 16, 2014, a massive fire started just outside the quiet city of Azusa, California. Named for the wilderness trail near its ignition point, the Colby Fire spread rapidly. As the crisis escalated, 1,500 firefighters and law enforcement officers fought for the homes, businesses, and lives of the 46,000-person community. To keep the area’s citizens safe, calm and well informed, the Azusa Police Department turned to social media.

Social media was integral to the team’s communication during emergency response. It helped:

  • Disseminate official information to the public and media
  • Reduce calls to overloaded 911 dispatchers by answering non-emergency concerns on social media
  • Create a direct line of communication between the public and police department
  • Strengthen Azusa Police Department’s relationship with the community
Everyone looked to us for information. Local and national news sources referenced our social feeds for fire updates. Citizens turned to us for trusted information and support. We didn’t disappoint.

— Officer Mike Bires, Azusa Police Department