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If your local government communication goals involve leveraging the latest tools and technology to keep up with current trends, then we have everything you need to start planning for 2017. The past decade has seen a significant paradigm shift in the ways that local governments communicate with citizens thanks to the proliferation of mobile technology and the widespread adoption of social media. You can expect mobile and social to continue to be hot topics in 2017 but you should also prepare for 2017 to be all about live video, transparency, security, and emergency preparedness.
Communities across the nation are under, what often feels like, the constant potential for danger from a variety of threats. In 2015 alone the United States saw:
It's 3 a.m. and the tornado siren goes off in your community. How do you react? How do your neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens react? Do they immediately know, without hesitation, what to do and where to go? Do they know the location of the nearest shelter? Do they know how to access local emergency information?
When an emergency happens in your community, the local government is likely the first to know, and your citizens will expect you to keep them informed with instructions, safety plans, and recovery updates. Using a mass notification solution is one of the best ways to keep citizens safe, but first you need your citizens to subscribe to receive alerts.
If your community is in a climate that will be seeing dipping temperatures this winter, then it’s time to start planning your citizen communications. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, winter cold results in more than twice as many annual deaths as does summer heat. Cold weather also accounts for more deaths than floods, severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightening combined. Of the approximate 2,000 U.S. lives lost between 2006 and 2010 due to extreme weather conditions, 63 percent of those deaths are attributed to exposure to excessive natural cold and/or hypothermia. This winter, when extreme cold temperatures inflict dangerous conditions upon your community, be prepared with a communication strategy that will keep citizens warm and safe.
Across the country, a growing number of local governments are implementing notification systems in order to keep their citizens informed and safe.
Arguably the most important role that local governments play is during a potential, imminent or occurring emergency because the property, health and possibly even the lives of citizens may be at risk.
Given this priority, many local governments across the country have implemented an emergency notification system.
Harnessing the Power of Citizen Mass Communication Systems During Active Shooter Events
One of the most vital responsibilities of civic leadership is to offer citizen protection. The rising threat of active shooters in our nation has placed a spotlight on the need for greater resources to help protect citizens from the dangers of community violence. While no municipality can fully protect its citizens from dangerous situations, all are empowered to put systems in place to notify citizens when active shooters and other community threats have been identified, helping to reduce the risk of citizen exposure to life-threatening situations.
For many states across the country, spring means tornado season. These devastating storms can strike at any time, but generally tornado season in the United States tends to shift from the south to the north from late winter to mid-summer. Southern states, including the Gulf Coast, are most at risk from March to May, while the southern plains face the greatest threat from May through early June. Regardless of when peak tornado season typically occurs in your region, take the time now to start ensuring your local government is prepared with the tools and resources necessary to disseminate life-saving information if or when a tornado strikes.
One of the challenges of developing a community that’s prepared for emergencies is getting citizens to sign up for alert notifications.
In fact, getting residents to sign up for any number of emergency services can be difficult for a multitude of reasons. Some people are reluctant to share personal information for privacy and security reasons. Others might tune out when it comes to the unpleasant thought of preparing for a disaster, or be put off by messages that include scare tactics.
But there are strategies available to maximize the buy-in from residents for mass notification opt-in. Ana-Marie Jones, executive director of the nonprofit agency, Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD), shared her favorite ways for getting buy-in from the public:
In addition to automated weather warnings, CivicReady offers several other vital emergency alerts, making it one of the most comprehensive solutions available. Now your citizens can stay informed of life-threatening emergency events via text or email, and have extra time to prepare.
How It Works:
CivicReady | Automated Alerts automatically sends to either all constituents, or predefined groups via phone, email, or SMS providing you with: