From LAVA to LANE, Residents and Visitors of Hawaii Benefit from Everbridge Critical Alerts
As Kilauea eruption subsides, text alerts kept Hawaiians informed while they braced for Hurricane Lane BURLINGTON, Mass. – August 27, 2018 – As Hurricane Lane approached the Hawaiian Islands, becoming the first major hurricane to threaten landfall in the state in a quarter century, residents and visitors depended on the latest information on the storm’s impact. Much of that information was provided by Everbridge (NASDAQ: EVBG), the global leader in critical event management software designed to help keep people safe and businesses running. The Hawaii Police Department relied on Everbridge text alerts to keep islanders apprised of the latest on Hurricane Lane, having urged locals and tourists to text LANE to 888777 for storm alerts. The Maui Emergency Management Agency is also leveraging Everbridge, having instructed residents to text MAUI to 888777 to receive emergency notifications. “Hurricane Lane has already dumped over a foot of rain on the Big Island,” explained Alan Richmond, Public Relations Liaison with the Hawaii Police Department, as the storm approached last week. “With up to 30 inches expected, landslides and flooding are a major concern. We want to make sure everyone is up to date on the latest conditions around the island, and text alerts are the most direct way of reaching people quickly and reliably.” Prior to Hurricane Lane, Hawaii was faced with another natural disaster – the eruption of the Kilauea volcano, which opened cracks on the Island and spewed lava and toxic gas into the air. For months, the Hawaii Police Department had sent alerts regarding evacuations, traffic advisories, and other emergency information by using keyword LAVA to alert residents and visitors via the Everbridge platform. “When a critical event such as a hurricane or wildfire strikes, communication between emergency managers, emergency responders, search and rescue teams, security professionals and the general population is vital to saving lives,” said Jaime Ellertson, CEO, Everbridge. “Our team of critical event management experts is dedicated to providing our customers with the right tools, best practices and functionality to ensure preparedness, and to always maximize response and safety efforts.” As Hawaii took action to keep people on the island informed, thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean firefighters in California were battling the Ferguson and Mendocino-Complex fires and also relied on Everbridge to keep residents safe. Everbridge’s scalable, easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy platform provides the speed and reliability for organizations to accurately reach desired end users. Last year’s hurricane season, for example, broke numerous records for rainfall, cost, and number of powerful storms. Click here to watch a webinar on lessons learned, response plan improvements, and technological advancements for 2018 and beyond. The Everbridge Customer Success team has also released the following critical event management and emergency messaging recommendations, guidelines and tips that organizations should incorporate into their hurricane readiness and preparedness plans:
- Confirm System Access: Make sure that all users can log into your critical communications system, and that they have the right access to send notifications. Also, ensure that former employees are removed from your system and that access for users on leave is disabled.
- Message Construction: In an emergency, messages should be clear and concise. It is recommended that you adhere to the 3-3-30 guideline (a message should contain no more than 3 main points, in 3 short sentences, using fewer than 30 words).
- Contact Data Quality: The start of hurricane season is the right time to remind citizens to sign up for your community messages. When a resident subscribes, it supports a more complete and accurate profile of that person, including home phone, mobile phone, SMS, email, and locations that are important to them.
- Perform Testing and Training: To support adoption for recipients and ease of access for message senders, you will want to send test messages to maintain familiarity with the system and to practice message building. Use a severe weather event as an opportunity to provide your contacts (residents and/or employees, customers, and other stakeholders) with preparedness information, similar to information found at https://ready.gov.
- FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS): During a severe weather emergency, it’s extremely helpful to have access to IPAWS, so if infrastructure fails and land lines are not an option, you know you can at least get a one-way message to residents’ mobile devices, or anyone near the event.
- Share the URL for the Local Emergency Alert Opt-in Page: Use the news, radio, social media and printed materials to actively promote your system to the public.
- Tracking the Safety of Care-Dependent Residents: During a hurricane, your care-dependent citizens are at an elevated risk. They may not be able to evacuate and may need to stay close to treatment. Coordinate regularly with your health department to understand where your at-risk population is located, how they can be reached and what their special needs may be.