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Medical emergencies for fans during sports events can quickly turn into life-or-death situations. Purdue University researchers have developed a technology to help police monitor emergency and public safety information during the event.

“This is a giant leap for social media analytics tools,” said David Ebert, from Purdue. “Police departments and first responders can use the social media posts to reach people in need of assistance, including medical emergencies, disaster emergencies or criminal activity. During the start of football season, it can be used to find fans having heat-related medical issues.”

The platform also has applications for monitoring traffic, finding victims when hurricanes make landfall, analyzing school threats and helping with security at major speeches or visits by people of note, according to purdue.edu.

“We use the technology during special events to build word clouds based on the type of event,” said John Cox, Purdue’s police chief. “We use it during dignitary protection details where there could be a threat of violence or there is a history surrounding the subject of the dignitary’s visit.”

Ebert and his research team created an online platform, called the Social Media Analytics and Reporting Toolkit, to help first responders better monitor areas of natural or human-made disasters.

First responders can select keywords and themes, such as various types of medical incidents or crimes, which are then visually displayed and highlighted on a map as they are talked about on social media within a specific geographic area.

Users can also set up customizable email alerts for relevant keywords within a specified time frame.