2013 hurricane season: Disaster awareness is still needed!

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations
Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

By DON HALL

Although this Hurricane season is more than half way over, we should still continue to keep a strong vigilance on the tropics into November. History reminds us that the most prevalent time for strong hurricane development impacting the East and Gulf Coasts is during the months of September and October.

Overcoming citizen complacency is always a challenge when it comes to hurricane season. You all do a very good job of promoting your preparedness messages to your citizens at the start of the season, as they have grown to expect. Because this hurricane season has been relatively mild thus far, citizen complacency will start to creep back up at this point as many will think the odds are diminishing for a hurricane to strike. With this in mind, your hurricane preparedness activities directed to the citizens should be at a second level of concern right now.

As you may have done at the start of the season, we highly recommend that you consider using your CodeRED mass notification system again to alert your coastal citizens that the dangers of a hurricane strike still exists and even more of a percentage is present during the next two months. As with every disaster preparedness and protective action message, you will also want to use any other forms of information delivery that you have at your disposal to heighten the awareness, such as the broadcast news media, print media and social media platforms.

Along with spreading preparedness information, take this opportunity to encourage residents to sign up for your emergency alerts on your CodeRED Community Enrollment website. Remind them that this communication tool will be used to provide life safety messages as well as general information to them before, during and after an incident, event or disaster. Messages delivered could include evacuation details, shelter locations, information for your special needs population, differences between watches and warnings, protective actions, specific storm or event updates, basic preparedness tips and where to obtain additional information.

When severe weather warnings are posted by the National Weather Service (NWS), time is of the essence. If you are not equipped with the completely automated CodeRED Weather Warning System, this might be a good time to contact your sales representative (866-939-0911) about adding that service availability for your citizens. CodeRED Weather Warning will deliver weather warnings within moments of being issued by the NWS. The system will deliver targeted notifications to residents that are in the distinct path of severe weather. Turbulent weather surrounding hurricanes and tropical storm systems poses the strong probability of multiple tornadoes forming in any one jurisdiction. Having a system like this in place to make automated notifications, without any time consuming effort from your staff, will give residents the much needed time to prepare and will prove to save lives.

By using it to your advantage, your CodeRED mass notification system can be one of the most valuable tools you have to deliver timely information in advance of a storm’s arrival. And, citizens will appreciate that your emergency management office took the initiative to inform and prepare them for the impending disaster.

“Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.” — Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center

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Did you know?

ECN opened up the opportunity for you to connect with Don Hall in our “Ask Don” blog. Hall has spent more than 40 years in public safety so his emergency management experience makes him ideal for helping our current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community to interact with regarding the need and use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

This platform was created to make your questions for Hall, heard. If you have anything you would like to ask him please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly, in our “Ask Don” blog.