Twitter has launched its Twitter Alerts service in the UK and Ireland after a successful period in the US, bringing the emergency and crisis service to British and Irish users.

It allows participating emergency services in both countries to mark tweets sent via official accounts as "Alerts". It means that they can distribute critical information to the right people as efficiently as possible. The affected tweets will be marked with an orange bell to make them stand out.

In addition, as well as be able to see the tweets, Twitter users who sign up for an account's Twitter Alerts will receive a notification to their phones via SMS. And Android smartphone and iPhone owners will also received a push notification.

Participating organisations include all of the UK's 47 police forces, An Garda Síochána, the London Fire Brigade, the Mayor of London's office, the Foreign Office, Ceop and the Environment Agency. Currently, 57 services have signed up in total.

To subscribe to the notifications, you can go directly to an account's alert set-up page at[username]/alerts. The Metropolitan Police's alerts page, for example, can be found at