Facebook: New feature helps you notify your friends that you're safe in times of crisis

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In times of disaster or crisis, people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates. It's in these moments that communication is most critical both for people in the affected areas ans for their friends and family members anxious for news.

With that in mind, Facebook has created a tool that people can use when major disasters strike. It's called "Safety Check," and during a major disaster, it will help you to let family members and friends know you're safe, check on others in the affected area and mark your friends as safe.

Facebook officials say only your friends will see your safety status and the comments you share.

The "Safety Check" feature will be available on Android, iOS, feature phones and desktop.

Here's how it works:

When the tool is activated after a natural disaster and if you’re in the affected area, you’ll receive a Facebook notification asking if you’re safe.

Facebook will determine your location by looking at the city you have listed in your profile, your last location if you’ve opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where you are using the internet.

If Facebook gets your location wrong, you can mark that you're outside the affected area.

If you’re safe, you can select “I’m Safe” and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update. Your friends can also mark you as safe.

If you have friends in the area of a natural disaster and the tool has been activated, you will receive a notification about those friends that have marked themselves as safe. Clicking on this notification will take you to the Safety Check bookmark that will show you a list of their updates.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Facebook's "Safety Check."