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Evacuation Notice on Google Public Alerts Keeps Community Informed for the Oroville Dam Crisis

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Another Way to Keep Residents Safe and Informed

As you probably saw over the weekend, the nation’s largest dam – the Oroville Dam in Butte County, CA – had a catastrophic event. Erosion uncovered last week continued to get worse – causing the auxiliary spillway to be used. As conditions deteriorated, local law enforcement, with the desire to keep people safe and informed, was prompted to issue an evacuation notice to the surrounding communities, as the belief was that the auxiliary spillway would fail, potentially releasing 100,000 cubic feet of water per second into the area. To date, some 188,000 people have been evacuated.

Our thoughts are with the people and families who evacuated from the area in a moment’s notice. It’s not an easy situation at all, but thankfully there was enough time to get people safe before a tragedy occurred.

This situation exemplifies the need to use multiple channels for real-time emergency alerting to be in place to notify residents as soon as an emergency event occurs.

Posting evacuation notices to social media and pushing them to radio or TV stations is important – but they only reach those residents paying attention to those channels at that particular time. Emergencies demand a multi-channel approach that includes connecting with folks on their personal devices. Especially when there is no time to waste.

This situation also served to highlight another benefit of working with Everbridge – the ability for approved public officials to share alerts via Google Public Alerts. This creates yet another channel to connect with a resident and let them know vital instructions or actions to take during a critical event.

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Imagine a resident who didn’t believe the evacuation order or didn’t hear it/understand it fully. What would he/she do? What any of us would do? We’d Google it. If you searched for “evacuation” from the affected area on Sunday, you’d see a Google Public Alert notification – as sent out by the Sutter, CA Office of Emergency Management – reinforcing that it was time to go.

Everbridge makes it easy to share critical event information when time is of the essence, but it also makes it easy to get the residents of your community signed up to receive the alerts – they simply opt in via a message to 888-777. Does that sound like something your community could benefit from? If so, drop us a line at any time.