Mass notification solutions critical to hurricane preparedness

When a major hurricane made landfall in the southern US, this large petroleum company discovered that legacy emergency notification systems are not always up to the task

Areas of violent weather need reliable mass notification

Hurricane Rita was the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and one of the most powerful ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage in and around the Gulf Coast in September 2005, leaving residents homeless and businesses devastated. Virtually every emergency action plan for every home, company and institution were sorely tested, and many were shown to be insufficient to adequately warn and instruct the populace.

The Problem: How to alert and instruct staff in times of disaster

Like many organizations located on the Gulf Coast, this Fortune 500 petroleum company had an emergency action plan in place to alert all parties in case of hurricane or other disruption. The system was a classic call cascade, needing human interaction all along the way to deliver messages.

The system seemed adequate until, in 2005, Hurricane Rita prompted its activation to warn staff of impending danger and to instruct them to work from contingency sites or their homes. Unfortunately, the emergency call-cascade suffered branch-point failures due to human factors, leaving some employees without notice or direction, putting them at risk and greatly impacting productivity.

The Solution: MIR3

The executives at the petroleum company were dismayed with the failure of their emergency plan and agreed that this was a risk they could not afford to take again. In reviewing the options, they quickly decided to replace the old manual call-cascade with the MIR3 solution from OnSolve and still leverage the system as part of their emergency management plans today.

The system was up and running quickly and, through field testing, verified that 100% of notifications were delivered with 90% confirmed responses from 1,100 telecommuters and contingency site workers. Because of the success of the program, additional rollouts are planned, with a total of 1,700 employees to be trained and prepared for future emergency situations.

With MIR3, this large petroleum company can:

  • Quickly launch mass notifications through the Web interface, sending an email or making a phone call to launch a notification—using existing message templates or easily creating new ones in seconds
  • Initiate instant conference calls in order to gather critical personnel and decision makers to share information, make urgent decisions and further instruct their teams
  • Track and report all alerts in order to allow for post crisis process review and identify areas for improvement if appropriate