5 Government Social Media Accounts That Can Actually Help You

Is there a lobster in your luggage? Are you considering boarding a plane with a live duck? Before you fly, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s photo stream and you may see what happened the last time someone tried to fly with a peculiar carry-on like this.

You might think that U.S. government social media accounts would feature bureaucratic-sounding updates accompanied by bland photos. If so, you’re in for a surprise. Some agencies have found unique and even amusing ways to share information that most everyone will find interesting and helpful—and even potentially lifesaving.

So, what can these government social media accounts help you do?

Save Time at the Airport

The TSA’s photo stream showcases some of the stranger things they’ve had to confiscate from travelers. But there’s also a font of knowledge about what’s acceptable to bring on the plane. One traveler asked if it was okay to check a bag with a camping stove inside. (The answer: Yes—if it’s been completely scrubbed of any trace of gasoline.) And in case you’re wondering, you can bring a live lobster on a plane, as long as you check with your airline first for any packing guidelines. “As you can imagine,” the TSA comments, “they’re a popular item at New England airports.”

Follow the TSA here.

Stay Healthy

On its popular social media page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers friendly advice on everything from screening newborns for hearing loss to protecting child athletes from concussions. The information is presented in an accessible way that makes it easy to remember and share.

Follow the CDC here.

Ride Out the Storm

From tornadoes to flooding to earthquakes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has seen it all. The agency’s blog looks at the work that FEMA does and includes profiles of the FEMA employees on the front lines of disaster response, as well as heartfelt recollections from people who have lived through some worst-case weather scenarios.

Follow FEMA here.

Childproof Your Home

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission delivers vital information about staying safe in your home—whether it’s protecting your family with information about recalled products, keeping children away from dangerous cleaning supplies, or reminding kids to play safely with their favorite toys. Although the updates revolve around saving lives, the USCPSC has a playful sense of humor, demonstrated in a recent message about ATV safety that featured a pair of fire-breathing dragons.

Follow the USCPSC here.

Marvel at the Cosmos

With more than 26 million followers, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration brings images of the solar system to a global audience through @NASA. They pair beautiful photos with useful information about weather events, upcoming launches and space-age technology.

Follow NASA here.

Follow @GEICO for some more cool social media content, and while you’re at it, get a free quote for homeowners insurance today.

Read More: Can’t get enough of @NASA? Check out this great story from astronaut Scott Kelly about what it’s really like to live in space.

By Sam Rosenthal