London firefighters start safety campaign using selfies

london firefighters use selfies as fire safety education tools alarm

Seeing people in uniform take selfies is generally amusing because the pictures provide a glimpse at the person underneath the authority. And that humanizing element is why police departments are starting to ban cop selfies — they don’t want to undermine the seriousness of the office. 

But the London Fire Brigade is taking a more positive approach to selfies, and instead of banning them, they’re using them to spread fire safety awareness leading up to a firefighter’s strike on September 25. The strike will last for four hours and there is a contingency plan, so it’s highly unlikely that there will be an uptick in fires without firefighters, but the department is using this opportunity to remind people about fire safety.  

The brigade is asking people on social media to tag photos of themselves taking steps to prevent fires. In a press release, the brigade encouraged photos of users testing their smoke alarms, keeping an eye on their cooking, properly disposing of cigarettes, and taking other preventative measures. Users who take these pictures are asked to tag them #safetyselfie. Hundreds have been posted to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, some by members of the fire brigade, and others from people who like the campaign. 

 

And the idea of using social media to launch public safety awareness campaigns appears to have caught on across the pond. A police department in North Carolina also urged residents to get on social media and showcase safety tips:

The North Carolina campaign is focused on child safety, so the pictures don’t have anything to do with fire, which might confuse people looking at the hashtag and expecting to see the London campaign — but is generally a positive indication that this idea is spreading, and other departments and institutions will start to think more creatively when it comes to using selfies as educational tools instead of for humble/totally-not-humblebragging.

Emerging Tech

This exosuit can turn humans into strong lifting machines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Gaming

Mount up: Latest ‘Fortnite’ update adds powerful turret weapon, Food Fight LTM

The latest update for Fortnite added a Mounted Turret weapon to the battle royale mode. The weapon features unlimited ammunition, but it can overheat if fired too long without interruption.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Computing

Urban legends for the digital age: The best scary stories from the internet

In need of some simple scares this Halloween? We've combed the internet for the best creepypastas, urban legends, and scary stories. From found footage YouTube videos to a deceptively scary wiki, these stories are sure to spook.
Mobile

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.
Mobile

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.