Effective Notification Practices Maintain Public Health and Safety During Severe Heat Spells
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 11, 2011)—With summer in full swing and record-breaking temperatures across the U.S., MIR3, Inc.—the innovator of real-time Intelligent Notification and response technology—is urging city and government officials to review community notification processes to ensure residents young and old are kept informed and protected during the sweltering summer months ahead.
The elderly, the very young, and people with mental disorders or chronic disease are at the highest risk to suffer heat-related illnesses. With excessive heat waves blanketing a significant portion of the country, excessive heat has already claimed the lives as numerous victims in at least three states. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that during a span of 25 years, excessive heat exposure has caused 8,015 deaths in the United States—an average of 276 deaths a year. Furthermore, the CDC claims that more people in the U.S. have died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined.
“Two-way notification and response technology gives city officials an easy way to reach hundreds of residents or first responders with important information during dangerous temperature spikes,” said Maz Ghroban, vice president of corporate development at MIR3. “Alerts like these can be life-saving, and we urge government officials to assess their communication infrastructure and practices this summer. We work with top organizations each day, such as the CDC and ImpactWeather, to deliver important weather-related messages and warnings across multiple devices, increasing the safety of people across the country.”
In order to minimize heat-related health issues during the summer months, MIR3 experts offer the following recommendations to ensure the health and safety of residents:
- Daily Automated Phone Calls – During days of extreme heat, public officials and government organizations can send an automated phone call or SMS message to any group of citizens who are at a high-heat risk (such as the elderly), to ensure proper precautions are taken to keep cool and hydrated. If there is no answer, another automated call or SMS message can be initiated to the person’s emergency contact so that they can check on the individual’s s safety. Two-way response options can also be incorporated so notification recipients can verify their safety or the need for further assistance.
- Adequate Heat Preparation – In order to prepare for the heat, government organizations should advise citizens on a variety of preventative tips using automated alerts. Communicating the need to stay cool indoors, drink plenty of fluids, and balance electrolytes by replacing necessary salt and minerals is vital to safety. If individuals must engage in outdoor activities, advise them to engage in those activities when the sun is the weakest—before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.—and to wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
- Be Aware of Early Signs of Heat Related Health Issues –With temperatures scorching, heat exhaustion can quickly morph into heat stroke if not treated early. Government officials should also warn citizens to look out for signs of heat exhaustion including extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, headache, heaving sweating, paleness, and dizziness. Officials should advise individuals experiencing these symptoms to seek shaded areas and plenty of liquids and if symptoms worsen to call 911 and seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
- Severe Temperature Alerts & Advice – When excessive heat is forecast for more than 24 hours, officials are urged to send messages via landline, fax, mobile phone, text message, and e-mail, providing up-to-the-minute alerts about regional forecasts and humidity expectations. Messages can also be integrated with links to news stories, tips for staying indoors and hydrated, and directions to designated cooling centers such as libraries and community centers.
- Encouraging Precursor Registration – In anticipation of future heat waves over the late summer and early fall months, city officials should encourage residents to verify or update contact information through an easy-to-use online portal, ensuring effective communication to the appropriate numbers and devices during critical situations. Incentives may include a $5 discount off monthly electricity or water bills, a chance to win a $100 grocery card, and more. Officials can also partner with local news stations to help spread the word about the importance of registering for the regional alert system.
- Energy Conservation Reminders – To avoid rolling blackouts or brownouts—or to alert residents in the case of such incidents—government offices should consider sending automated reminders to residents on how to conserve electricity by limiting the use of major appliances during peak hours, the best times of day to water lawns, and regional updates as to when and where blackouts may occur. Automatic call bridging to information centers can be incorporated if residents have further questions.
MIR3 has notification technology specialists available to speak and expand on the above recommendations for this year’s summer season. Please contact Audrey Sahl at (212) 219-0321 or firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with an executive.
MIR3, Inc. is the leading developer of Intelligent Notification™ and response software, which helps organizations enhance communication abilities, protect assets, and increase operational efficiency. MIR3 technology enables advanced rapid, two-way mass communication for IT, business continuity, and enterprise operations for many of the Global FORTUNE 100 companies, as well as government entities, universities, and companies of all sizes in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit onsolve.com. Follow MIR3 on Twitter: @MIR3.