Canadians expect first responders to answer their online pleas for help:poll

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TORONTO - More than a third of Canadians who responded to a new survey believe their calls for help over social media could serve as a stand-in for 911 calls.

The poll of about a thousand Canadians found 35 per cent believe first responders such as firefighters or police would respond to a plea for help that was put out over social media.

Of that group, 74 per cent said they would expect help within an hour.

While the majority of respondents don't expect workers to monitor social media for emergency calls, the survey suggests they'd like to see them do so in the future.

The poll found 63 per cent of those surveyed felt emergency responders should be prepared to swing into action if someone asked for help over social media.

Toronto police say they monitor social media for some non-emergency situations, but say 911 is the only appropriate way to seek urgent help.

The poll — conducted by Ipsos-Reid for the Canadian Red Cross — surveyed 500 people online and 500 people by phone between June 19 and July 4, 2012.

Organizations: Canadian Red Cross

Geographic location: TORONTO

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