Village: Wellington, FL

Population: 65,000

Product: CivicReady

Keys to Project

Ease of use, service, functionality

Wellington, FL Relies on CivicReady® for Hurricane Readiness Communications

The Village of Wellington, Florida, has earned its reputation as a premier community in South Florida. Known for its abundant parks, quality schools, attractive neighborhoods, and as the winter equestrian capital of the world, Wellington is home to a population of residents who want to protect and preserve their way of life.

“Wellington represents a small piece of Americana in the middle of South Florida,” said Liz Nunez, Wellington Public Information Officer. “It’s a great hometown.”

Nunez is responsible for managing a wide variety of public communications for Wellington, which is the fifth-largest municipality in Palm Beach County, with over 65,000 residents. Her ability to communicate critical news and instructions quickly is particularly crucial during South Florida’s annual Hurricane season. To help keep her citizens informed, Nunez needs effective tools and technology to ensure her critical messages reach as many citizens and staff members as possible. When Wellington realized it needed a more reliable solution, it chose the CivicReady mass notification solution from CivicPlus®.

“We saw what CivicPlus was able to do for us with our website redesign, so we thought, why not work with CivicPlus on a refresh of our alert system too?”

— Liz Nunez, Wellington Public Information Officer

Wellington, FL Relies on CivicReady® for Hurricane Readiness Communications

Before CivicReady

Before switching to CivicReady, Nunez used the CodeRED Alert System.

“Our previous system was very antiquated,” said Nunez. “It was difficult to use. In an emergency, we needed something that would allow us to get a message out quickly and in a coherent fashion. We also didn’t have control over our list of residents, which made managing our communications very difficult.”

After the Village of Wellington completed a redesign of its website with CivicPlus, Nunez was inspired to transition from CodeRED to CivicReady.

“We saw what CivicPlus was able to do for us with our website redesign, so we thought, why not work with CivicPlus on a refresh of our alert system too?”

 

Switching from CodeRED to CivicReady

Every technology transition requires a thorough strategy. For Nunez, the switch to CivicReady was comfortingly streamlined.

“The transition was so simple and easy,” said Nunez. “Since we didn’t own our data with our previous software, I worried it would be difficult to, essentially, start over with a new system with no contacts, but CivicReady was able to provide us with a contact list for our community’s residents. It was helpful not to start from scratch.”

In cases such as Wellington’s, where a municipality needs to begin building a resident database, CivicReady leverages community utility databases, including billing and 911/MSAG lists, and purchased residential lists. With its foundation of new resident contact information, Wellington has been continually adding voluntary subscriptions.

“With CivicReady, it’s simple and easy to get residents to subscribe, especially with the text to sign up feature.”

 

Confident Hurricane and Disaster Preparedness with CivicReady

To ensure its residents and administrative staff are prepared for hurricane season, the Village of Wellington holds an annual community-wide town hall meeting at the start of the season to provide educational reminders, evacuation instructions, and safety best practices.

“I encourage residents to sign up for alerts from CivicReady to stay informed during hurricane season. Social media is important when communicating information publicly, but we have many residents who are not on social media, especially our seniors. What is valuable to us about CivicReady is that it allows users to choose their communication preferences. Residents can choose text message alerts, messaging through the AlertMe app, or automated phone messages. The phone message functionality has been very well received and appreciated by residents, and particularly our seniors who want to ensure that they receive alerts even if they are in an area without Internet access.”

Wellington put CivicReady to its first crucial test in November 2019 when Hurricane Dorian attacked South Florida.

“Fortunately, we were not directly affected by Hurricane Dorian,” said Nunez. “Disaster preparedness and communications are always our top priorities. We are committed to ensuring our residents feel prepared and ready to weather any storm. We want to always be proactive in our warnings, which is why we rely on CivicReady to help us get people prepared.”

Routine and Internal Staff Communications

Much more than an emergency alert system, CivicReady includes internal staff collaboration functionality as well, such as conference bridge capabilities and real-time, two-way group messaging. The Village of Wellington is looking to fully leverage CivicReady’s capabilities to help their departments collaborate and communicate effectively in both times of routine citizen services and disaster response.

“We’re looking at how our Community Services and Parks and Recreation departments can use CivicReady,” said Nunez. “After seeing what the tool is doing for us during emergencies and how it’s helping us reach residents, we’re excited to look for ways these departments can use CivicReady to set up unique contact lists and help facilitate day-to-day communications with staff and community volunteers.”

The Village of Wellington’s Human Resources Department is also looking to leverage CivicReady to communicate with staff during emergency events.

“CivicReady is a wonderful internal communication tool. It could help our HR team during a local disaster to send urgent messages to employees, for example, if staff need to report to work after an event, or not report to work if there are closures or damage to buildings.”

 

The Need for Reliable Mass Communications in Local Government

For Nunez, in her critical role as a public communicator, there is extreme value in CivicReady’s ability to issue one-to-many, multiple channel communications managed from a single interface.

“We live in a world where, unfortunately, it’s not a question of if an emergency will happen, but when. Communities need to prepare, just like we tell our residents to prepare well before the storm. It’s critical to have a system you can rely on that will help you reach as many citizens as possible through as many channels as possible. Every municipality should have such a system.”

For Nunez, she feels confident knowing she has a reliable partner with CivicPlus.

“With CivicPlus and CivicReady, we know they have a long-standing track record of success with municipalities. We knew we could rely on them and trust them because they know what public organizations need, and they know how to deliver.”

 

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