The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released this week its forecast for the year’s Atlantic hurricane season, predicting the possibility of an “above normal” season.
The forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms this year. An average hurricane season brings 12 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those named storms, as many as nine could become hurricanes, including up to four major ones, according to the researchers.
While hurricanes can occur year-round, hurricane season typically stretches from June 1 to November 30, and peaks in September. Already, in Florida, local emergency management officials in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties are monitoring Invest 90L, a storm system that could develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As we head into the latest hurricane season, it’s a good time to check in with Everbridge’s Customer Success Practice Managers Kerry McDonough and Jeremiah Kunze on recommendations to ensure you are well-equipped to use your Everbridge Mass Notification system under any circumstance. Below is a list of things that you can do in preparation for any event or exercise.
- Prepare for the “What-ifs” – Save contact info for Everbridge Tech Support/Live Operator and download the ManageBridge App
- Confirm System Access – Make sure that all Users can log into Everbridge and that they have the right access
- Review your Contact Data – Make sure that data was recently refreshed and ask your portal contacts to login and update their info
- Evaluate your Notification, Message, or Incident Templates – Make sure to have both Hazard-specific and Hazard-agnostic templates saved
- Compare your Settings to Everbridge Best Practices and Adjust as Needed – View the Everbridge Notification Best Practices to ensure that you’re set to succeed
- Check your SMARTWeather Settings – Make sure that you’ve updated your Templates, are using a Quiet Period and GeoFence and that you’ve enabled the new Storm Surge alerts
- Perform Testing and Training – Host a hands-on training for all system Users
- Perform a Test (or Tests) – Use this as an opportunity to provide your Contacts with preparedness information, similar to information found at https://ready.gov
- Share the URL for the Local Emergency Alert Opt-in Page – Use the news, radio, social media and printed materials to campaign your system to the public
The Everbridge Mass Notification platform has been battle-tested through several major hurricanes, including hurricanes Sandy in 2012, Matthew in 2016, and Irma, Harvey and Maria in 2017.
During Irma, Everbridge clients sent more than 20 million storm-related alerts to their communities, including evacuation and flood warnings, storm surge notices, traffic information, generator safety guidelines, shelter recommendations, and special needs assistance. During the same period, 50 million other notifications were sent that were unrelated to Irma – a showcase of the Everbridge platform’s scalability and reliability. And, thanks to Everbridge’s mobile keyword opt-in, the State of Florida added more than 700,000 registrations in just five days.
And, of course, our customers are already actively preparing for this year’s season. In the Naples, Florida area, for example, Dan Summers, the head of Collier’s emergency management response team, stated: “The county’s communications system is being revamped, too. Everbridge, a new emergency alert notification system contracted by the state, sends important storm communications to residents.” According to Summers, the setup for Collier is about 85 percent completed and that it should be ready as “a new instant communication tool in the coming hurricane season.”
We look forward to helping other communities and organizations prepare and respond throughout the course of this year’s season. We will continue to provide additional critical messaging and event management best practices, and other Everbridge-specific tips and tricks throughout the year, so that you can keep your people safe and informed at all times.
Customer Note: To view past recordings, log into https://manager.everbridge.net and navigate to the Everbridge University. You can also register for upcoming webinars on the Everbridge Excellence Series website.