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Revisiting "Sandy" Communications for Hurricane Preparedness Week


With severe storms already disrupting several parts of the U.S., including the flooding that continues to impact the Houston, Texas area, it is no coincidence that this week also marks the officially designated “Hurricane Preparedness Week.” This is a good time to ask the question: Are you Prepared for Severe Weather Season?


Well, no matter your answer to that question, Everbridge is here to help. This week we will be hosting a webinar with our friends at Weather Decision Technologies, “2015 Severe Weather Predictions: Planning and Preparing for What’s Ahead.” By joining the session, you’ll uncover insights into the long-range weather forecast, real-life severe weather case studies and other weather communication best practices.


If you’re looking for some immediate best practices for communicating during severe weather season, look no further than the below. Your company, community or hospital should focus on these key stategies, and data points, to help you prepare for a busy season. 


Don’t trust a single device

Every organization should have multiple contact paths for each individual to decrease reliance on any one device. Moreover, the demographic of the community should be assessed when determining the optimal contact paths for each group. But, don’t stop there. You should also assess broader demographic shifts in terms of recipient contact preferences. Take a look at the below grid which demonstrates how contact paths have shifted significantly since Sandy. You’ll note that during winter storm Juno, phone broadcasts actually declined and SMS/Email accounted for a much larger share of attempted contacts. This means users increasingly prefer SMS/Email as a primary critical communication contact path, but remember, it’s still important to use a multi-modal approach to ensure message success and confirmation.sandy


Gather information to help your response to meet the current conditions

Social media has dramatically changed the public’s expectations around communications. Twitter, for example, should be monitored for real-time, location-specific impact to individuals and communities to deliver situational intelligence to emergency response teams as quickly as possible. Using Mobile Member, your team can get information and pictures from first responders at key locations. Weather alerts can provide up-to-the-minute information on watch, warning and advisory updates for the weather situation.


Train to succeed, don’t fail to train

Regular system and staff testing and preparation procedures should be followed, including system testing for effectiveness and data accuracy. Staff should be trained to operate the critical communication system from both desktop and mobile devices to achieve an aptitude with the system, ensuring more consistent results during high anxiety situations. Use the training resources you have in Everbridge University and custom training to keep your members sharp. Plan exercises and review the reports to see where your team hit or missed the mark.