During natural disasters or crisis situations, it seems that Facebook is one of the first places people go to check on friends and loved ones. For this reason, Facebook has announced that it will give all users a way to quickly check in with friends and loved ones on the site during a natural disaster or crisis situation with a simple tool called Safety Check.

Safety Check is aimed at allowing users to let friends and family know they are safe and to check on the well being of others in the area. Facebook’s Safety Check auto generates status updates that let users quick communicate to others that they are either safe or not in the area with one click of a button.

Facebook offered in their official Newsroom post how Safety Check will work:
The Safety Check tool is activated when a natural disaster or crisis situation occurs in your area. Facebook will send a notification asking if you are safe. Facebook will determine a user’s location by looking at the last place you checked in, the city listed in your profile, or exact location if the user has opted in to the Nearby Friends Facebook product. If Facebook gets the location wrong, the user can click that they are not in the area. If the user is in the area and is safe, they may click on the “I’m safe” button, a news feed story will generate with the update letting the user’s friends and family know that they are safe. If a user has friends in the affected area, they will receive notifications letting them know that their friends have marked themselves as safe.

Facebook explained in their official blog post that the 2011 Japan earthquake affected 12.5 million people and tsunami and many people relied on social media to stay connected during the crisis. During the Japan crisis, Facebook engineers built a Disaster Message board that received positive feedback so Facebook decided to improve upon it and renamed it Safety Check. It seems that Facebook is making great effort to evolve into more than just a social networking site, but one that truly brings people together. Safety Check will be available for every Facebook user on Android, iOS, feature phones, and desktops.