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Adapting to the storm: Perspectives on hurricane response from county, university, and military leaders

Improve messages with the 3-3-30 rule

With rapidly advancing technology and the mass adoption of mobile devices, employees, citizens and key stakeholders now expect immediate notification of any incident or emergency that may affect them. As such, emergency notification and incident management systems are quickly becoming ubiquitous.

Although it may seem simple to broadcast a notification once you have invested the time to select an appropriate system, a successful broadcast can prove to be much more complicated. Especially in the event of an emergency or critical incident, attention span, reading level and contact path of the recipient are all things that must be taken into consideration for a successful broadcast.

A general guideline to use when crafting your messages is Dr. Chandler’s 3-3-30 recommendation, outlined in Emergency Notification.

  • No more than 3 message points
  • Deliver 3 short sentences
  • Keep the key content in the first 30 words

These guidelines may be hard to hit exactly but realize the first 30 seconds is your best chance to get your audience’s attention.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adds that you should match the speed and frequency of your messages to how quickly and how long you audience needs to know your information.

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