The purpose of the National Hurricane Preparedness Week is for us all to ask ourselves “Are we Ready?” For those of us in the public safety field, it means we have to be personally ready, and most importantly, our community has to be ready for the upcoming hurricane season. Although residents receive plenty of notice about the season beforehand, locals feel responsible protecting their own, and we want to ensure we are doing our part to help.
It is usually the practice of local emergency management and public safety agencies to be actively engaged in awareness campaigns during this time, as well as actively partnering with local TV meteorologists to help spread the preparedness message. If you are not participating with your local media sources, we strongly encourage you to explore that option.
They usually air specially developed programming for this purpose and attract a large number of viewers in your community. Such involvement will provide you the opportunity as a responsible public official to endorse the message and represent the concern from local government, and assist in building the much needed professional relationship with your local media. Making them a part of the team provides the relevance to what they do every day and it will also give you more of a voice in the content that gets aired.
We encourage using your CodeRED mass notification system as another solution to provide preparedness tips to your community. In fact, there are many benefits to using your CodeRED system during hurricane preparedness week. The CodeRED system provides many comprehensive notification modes for reaching the public, and builds a better sense of trust and rapport with residents towards your agency.
Many of our clients choose to use this hurricane preparedness campaign initiative to also make residents aware of their emergency notification plans, and the system that they will use in times of disasters to provide the outreach. At the same time, our clients also encourage the residents to visit their websites to opt-in any of their notification devices in the CodeRED system to ensure that they receive the notification messages delivered by the local government.
It is also a good time to update your internal notification lists or build new ones based on previous experiences or new plan procedures. Remember to also upload any helpful GIS mapping overlays or shape files that portray your flood zones and hurricane evacuation zones. Doing as much pre-arranging within your CodeRED System in the beginning will obviously enhance your systems capability, as well as save you a lot of critical safety time when the winds start to blow.
Finally, we also encourage you to conduct refresher trainings or exercises with your CodeRED system end users to create and launch your emergency calls. The more comfortable they are with the system, the quicker they will be dispatching emergency messages on your behalf. Our technical support staff can assist you with this or any of the topics we have discussed above. Please feel free to reach out to us for guidance and assistance as needed. After all, we are your partner in the emergency mass notification efforts for your community.
Don Hall is ECN’s Director of Government Relations and is a regular contributor on our blog. Hall’s public safety career experience includes 20 years as an Emergency Manager in Calvert County, Md., Jacksonville, FL and Washington, D.C. He also spent 10 years in law enforcement and 911 emergency communications and has 42 years of active duty experience in the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service in Maryland. He has managed and directed more than 30 Presidential Disaster Declarations during his emergency management career and received numerous public safety- related awards and citations.