Re: Facebook as a utility
In instances like this, I would definitely default to Facebook to see whether loved ones are okay. I've already done it when things like earthquakes or wildfires hit wide regions of the country and i'm not quite sure how close friends live to an affected region. (I remember when you posted the "I'm fine" message on FB after the Boston bombing, btw, Joe and it was a big relief.)
It's also a reason I'm mildly upset many family members don't use FB or even Twitter; at least if they had a minimal presence on social media they could use it to check in if something catastrophic happened in their region. If, as I hope never happens, something bad does occur in their regions, I'll have to go back to the old-fashioned route of jammed phone lines and crossed fingers to try to reach them!