A combination of melting snow and rainstorms led to breaches in levees along the Missouri River and other bodies of water.
According to FEMA flood map data, 40 million people in the continental U.S. are at risk for a 100-year flood event; that’s three times more than previously estimated. Additionally, the amount of property in harm’s way is twice the current estimate.
With communities underwater and many more at risk, officials are asking themselves how response plans can be improved.
Start by putting together a communications plan to implement in the event of a flooding disaster. Questions that need answers at this point include:
Once you have started asking the right questions and gathering this information, your emergency preparation plan will begin to take shape. Now determine who is involved directly and indirectly in receiving and transmitting emergency notifications via your organization. Here are some examples of roles that you may need to fill:
Establishing Emergency Notifications
Next, decide what kind of system you will have in place to communicate before, during, and following a flood emergency. OnSolve offers cloud-based communications systems including the CodeRED Weather Warning system. This is an ideal system for flood preparedness and notification because it enables your organization to automatically send out alerts based on the National Weather Service information.
In addition, the system communicates through several methods including email, voice calling, and texting. Whichever solution your organization chooses to use, your team will need to know how to use it properly. This involves routine testing to ensure that the system will work in any flood emergency whether it is a flash flood, 100-year flood, or flood warning.
Getting Community to Opt-In
In order to notify your community of a flood, your agency will be responsible for getting individuals to opt into your notifications system. To do this across a large area or diverse population can be tricky. For starters, not everyone watches cable news or reads the local newspaper anymore. At the same time, if your community is not opting in to receive your emergency alerts, then your agency is not going to be effective in providing flood emergency services.
Some best practices for promoting notification tools to residents to increase opt-in rates include:
In addition, branch out to residents and visitors alike using nontraditional communications methods. Thanks to modern technology you can reach far more individuals online than ever before. Here are some ideas of ways to do this:
Engaging With Mass Communication
When the community opts in to receive information from your notification system, you need to provide them with the most flexibility in how they receive information. This falls in line with how you get individuals to opt into your system. Have a method of tracking in place so your organization can determine which method of communication worked best for the opt-in. Then focus more resources on providing ongoing notifications with this communications method.
At the same time, note that during a flood emergency services including the internet and power may be out or limited. That’s why you want to offer a multi-focal approach to mass communications as part of your flood preparedness. If you are interested in CodeRED or more information about emergency notification technology, contact OnSolve. We are here to help you determine which resources and systems will best suit your community in a flood-prone or flood danger zone.
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