Mass notification system: earthquake preparedness

mass notification systemIn the wake of recent earthquakes in India and Nepal, emergency managers should take the time to review their community’s preparedness. Earthquakes can strike suddenly, at any time of the year. According to the America Red Cross, 45 states and territories in the United States are at risk of earthquakes, and they can occur in every region of the country.

Following a major earthquake, communication is a critical step in recovery efforts. The main priorities of a community are to restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage and rebuilding. Emergency management agencies can help their communities achieve these goals through the implementation of the CodeRED mass notification system.

Immediately following an earthquake disaster, your mass notification system can let residents know where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing and financial assistance. You can also begin providing residents with cautionary messages so they know what to expect in the days and weeks of recovery ahead.

Aftershocks

It is important to warn residents aftershocks will continue to happen for several weeks after major earthquakes, which may cause additional damage. Remind residents to be ready to drop, cover and hold on. Following an aftershock, use your mass notification system to ask residents to continue to check for gas leaks, chemical spills, damaged electrical wiring and broken water pipes.

Gas Leaks and Water Lines

Use your mass notification system to issue messages that caution residents not to re-enter their homes until they are sure there are no gas leaks. Advise them not to use open flames or operate any device that can create spark. The CodeRED mass notification system can put out safety advisories regarding broken water lines and water contamination.

Structural Damages

Earthquakes may result in extensive structural damage, including collapsed schools, homes, bridges, dams, highways and buildings. Messages can be issued through your CodeRED mass notification system regarding the re-routing of traffic in coordination with road damages, in addition to school and office closures.

Planning and Practice

During an earthquake, most deaths and injuries are caused by collapsing building materials and heavy falling objects. The real key to surviving an earthquake and reducing the risk of injury lies in planning, preparing and practicing what to do if it happens. Emergency management agencies should consider participating in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. This is an annual opportunity for communities to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.