In September alone, there was a major hurricane that threatened the east coast of the United States, the effects of which are still being felt, as well as other manmade threats of violence and active shooters. On a daily basis, we are reminded of the need for clear communication that will help your residents know how to react when your community faces a threat.
One way you can prepare for community emergencies is to pre-create message templates. These messages should contain blueprints for various scenarios that you know could be a possible threat to your community. In addition, you can use these messages to send out training calls and event notices to internal and external publics as a training exercise.
Audiences need to know where emergency alerts and updates will be coming from, so getting them comfortable with receiving these alerts now will pay off in the long run. Here are several examples of templates that can be helpful as you create your own messaging.
When responding to emergency events, a necessary first step is deciding which communication channels you will use. Often, the best answer is to use all available communication methods to get the best chance of reaching as many people as possible. During recent large-scale events, we have also seen agencies use social media to post updates quickly. While Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms are successful for sharing information online, these platforms should not be used as the main source of information.
The optimal solution is to choose a dedicated emergency notification platform that can handle a wide range of communication methods. This way you can communicate via email, text message, voice message and mobile alerts, while tracking your acceptance and response rates in real time. This data can be collected after the event, and then used to analyze and teste the emergency plan for effectiveness in future emergencies.
An emergency communication plan is only as good as the database you have available. As National Preparedness Month comes to a close, evaluate how many contacts you have, connection rates, and other information that will indicate the health of your database. Promoting your emergency notification system with instructions on how to opt-in will help boost your numbers and provide you with better connection rates and calling records if a crisis were to actually occur.
Start with community events, such as fair booths and information tables, where you can connect face to face with community members. This one on one contact is the ideal way to get your message across, but it is a timely process.
You will also want to implement social media platforms, local signage, radio ads, television commercials, and digital advertising. The more people that hear about the plan and notification system, the greater a success that your plan can become.
Preparedness is a year-round exercise. Be sure you use all the tools at your disposal to implement a successful crisis communication plan you can rely on.
You’ve put in the groundwork, done your research and are finally ready to purchase a mass notification system. So, now what? Without the attention and understanding from your residents, your emergency alerts may not be as effective as you hope.Download The Article