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Recap: Why Emergency Communication Matters
August 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm #179726
Communications are never more important than when a crisis hits. Superstorm Sandy, the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma , the Boston Marathon bombings, and others have shown us how essential it is for our government and community leaders to quickly communicate with the public during an emergency.
At the same time, communication channels have changed. Technologies such as mobile were not as prevalent a decade ago. Like never before, organizations must strategically create comprehensive communications strategies that integrate channels during a crisis. Agencies must be able to quickly get their messages out across all communication channels – text, email, social media, television, and radio – in order to keep citizens safe.
Recently GovLoop hosted an online chat with GovDelivery, a leader in government-to-citizen communications with the mission of bringing meaningful information to the public. They serve over 1,000 government clients, facilitate 55 million subscribers worldwide and deliver over 10,000 messages every hour. We heard from Joe Bloom, Product Manager, and Jennifer Kaplan, Product Marketing Manager at GovDelivery. You can view the 30-minute training session below:
Jennifer outlined 3 key strategies in conducting government communications shown below.
The speakers then delved into the example of Ocean City, Maryland’s emergency notifications during Superstorm Sandy. By responding to feedback from citizens and implementing a communications platform, the city was able to build an audience of 97,000 subscribers across 19 topics. City officials took lessons learned and citizen feedback from the August 2011 Hurricane Irene.
The Ocean City case study demonstrated the value of building an audience.
Communications between government and the public are certainly not limited to emergencies. Agencies must grow their audiences through regular engagement and continual effort, so that when a crisis does hit, they have the broadest outlets to disseminate life-saving information.
Ocean City grew their audience base by planning initiatives in concert with National Preparedness Month, established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). By October of 2012, the city began proactively pushing out information advising citizens on how to prepare, and prior to Sandy hitting land, issued press releases to update residents on regarding the storm. Through these varied and timely approaches, the city obtained 6,000 new subscribers to its push notifications system.
And, take a look at these valuable resources:
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