Share best practices, tips & tricks and discuss digital communication as it applies to your daily government lives.
Reach more people and get those people to take action.
Improving Emergency Management Communications
March 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm #177524
Social media tools and smartphones have made communication easier and our lives simpler in many ways- from staying up to date on the latest news to keeping up with friends and old colleagues. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits is better emergency management and the ability for governments to effectively inform constituents in real-time of storms or other natural disasters.
A great example of this comes from Ocean City, Maryland. After the 2011 Hurricane Season, Ocean City residents complained that they didn’t receive timely and accurate information from local officials about the storms. Although the city could send email alerts to residents, they couldn’t send text message alerts and didn’t have the flexibility to do this quickly in critical situations. Obviously, they needed a more effective communication system to better prepare their constituents. Using GovDelivery’s Digital Communication Management (DCM) solution, Ocean City officials were able to improve communications and register more than 6,000 subscribers to receive emergency email and text alerts in fewer than two months!
Some of the cool things Ocean City did with DCM include:
- Created 19 different topics residents could receive alerts on including jobs and city wide alerts.
- Connected the newly created topics to their website so when the website was updated interested stakeholders received alerts about the new features
- Segmented messages based on location
- Encouraged all media outlets in the area to sign up for up-to-the-minute alerts about local conditions
What makes the communications so powerful is the timeliness and the number of people subscribed to the alerts. Ocean City now has 97,000 people registered, many of which signed up through a public awareness campaign during FEMA’s National Preparedness Month and days before Superstorm Sandy.With improved communications, residents are better informed, more engaged in the community and most importantly, safer.
I encourage you to check out the full case study here and for more information on emergency management check out GovDelivery’s white paper, “Breaking Down Barriers to Effective Emergency Notifications.“
Want more information on communications and citizen engagement? Check out our resources page.
March 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm #177530
I am going to slightly repurpose a response from another article on the same topic as I try to spread the word as often as I can! This is a great case study and there are MANY, MANY more! Fairfax county has a blog they use along with other social media that is a great example as well: http://fairfaxcountyemergency.wordpress.com/
An entire world wide group of professionals has been attemping to get their arms around this use of social media and tech for quite a while now. Usually refered to as the #SMEM (Social Media in Emergency Management) this group has multiple sub groups and folks working issues in this space from all walks of life. They even hold weekly twitter conversations, usually held on fridays where they cover a range of topics on the discussion. (http://www.sm4em.org/ is a great place to start as well, though a google search will yield MANY results on the topic as it is becoming a large community of interest.)
I have written a few times on the topics as well here on GovLoop:
There is a huge community around this topic, dive in, participate and share!
March 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm #177528
Hi Chris, thanks for sharing these resources!
March 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm #177526
Amy – Great summary of the digital comms approach in OC, MD – I’ve been there a few times when storms were approaching or blowing through, so good to know they’re preparing and information citizens (and guests!).
Poirier! Great to hear from you, my friend. Thanks for sharing that Fairfax example.
Hope to see more blogs from you soon.
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