Mark Twain had it right when he said, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” All of this extreme weather comes with a hefty price tag. In 2017, the spring season cost the US an estimated $19.2 billion according to the US National Centers for Environmental Information. Your organization cannot prevent severe spring weather, but you can find ways to prepare for the storms and save lives.
As an emergency official, it is your mission to provide applicable services and resources for your community in the case of severe storms this spring. Start by implementing the best mass notification system available to your organization.
Understand how to utilize this system and set up training programs for all applicable parties. Create an emergency notification plan and run plan testing routinely. By the time a tornado touches down, your community should be well acquainted with how to receive important emergency information.
In order to reach the most individuals, households, and businesses in a fraction of the time, prepare your emergency notification system for mass communications. This involves landlines and mobile phones, as well as text messages and emails. Social media including Facebook and Twitter are equally as effective in spreading emergency alerts fast. Getting your community to opt-in to these types of solutions will give you the most up-to-date information directly from the source. Information is key and your residents need to know what methods of communication you will use in an emergency.
Keep in mind internet access may be limited so retain some of the old-school methods of alerts. Include a widespread radio broadcast and television alerts. Also, have several emergency managers in a communication chain network. This ensures that one person is not responsible for providing and implementing all communications in case they are unavailable for support. Have designated teams run drills on a monthly or quarterly basis so everyone understands their roles. This is crucial to avoiding confusion and disorganization during an actual emergency.
Communication is only the first step in preparing for severe weather in the spring months. This is the season that gets people out of their winter hibernation. As a result, individuals are less likely to be on lockdown in case severe weather strikes. Lightning storms, hail, and flooding can all be disastrous for people stuck outdoors and unprepared for what lies ahead.
Provide proper safety and prevention training for your community in a variety of forms. Offer safety training videos online that are easily shareable on social media. Include direct mail inserts discussing safety tips to protect individuals against storms, extreme weather changes, and regional threats. Remember to add social media handles along with phone numbers and email addresses to any emergency managers who are readily available to provide information.
After severe weather hits your community the real test for an emergency notification system begins. Now is the time when individuals have processed their situation and better understand their emergency issues. Don’t let your guard down. Be ready to handle the influx of phone calls and emergency communications post-storm.
Provide ongoing updates at regular intervals, and broadcast the interval times along with the alerts. This offers structure during a time of chaos and helps those individuals find out the latest news even when they are dealing with sporadic electricity or internet access. Following a spring storm, your team’s new mission is to offer a controlled community resource that helps emergency service teams save lives, which is the ultimate goal for your emergency notification system.
Want to be on the right track to protect your community from the pending severe weather this spring? Download our latest white paper to help your agency get on the right track!
Knowing common mistakes made in communication and alerting will help you prepare for and mitigate these risks in the future.Download The White Paper