Facebook Safety Check is a new tool from the social media giant that promises to ease the minds of your friends after a disaster.

Citing the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Facebook product managers and software engineers explain that in times of disaster, people turn to the internet to check on long-distance friends and relatives. The new tool should make it easier to assure loved ones that all is well with a single click.

After a natural disaster, the Facebook Safety Check tool will attempt to determine if you’re in the affected area. To do so, it will check your location (as listed in your profile), locations you’ve ‘checked in,’ and the location from which you are currently using the internet.

If the app determines you may be in an affected area, you’ll see a notification pop up, asking if you’re safe. You’ll be able to respond, choosing “I’m safe” or “I’m not in the area.”

Meanwhile, your friends will get notifications saying that they have friends in the area affected, and letting them know which friends have verified that they are safe.

There is, as yet, no word on whether users will be able to opt-out of Safety Check altogether. However, on mobile devices one can turn off apps’ access to location if concerned about privacy.

The creators say that after disasters, they always see people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones who may be affected, and that they were inspired to make ensuring that process easier on both ends, allowing concerned friends to check on all potentially affected loved ones at once, and allowing the affected to quickly reassure loved ones with a single touch — which may be especially appreciated when battery life is at a premium, during a storm-induced power outage, for instance.

Can you see Facebook Safety Check reassuring you about loved ones after a disaster?

Image Credit: Facebook