Recent years have been memorable for large and increasingly damaging wildfires in California, Washington and other western states and destructive hurricanes in Texas, Puerto Rico, North Carolina and Florida.
It has been over a month since hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas but its impact is still being felt, and will be for some time. The storm set a new rainfall record in North Carolina and left about 1 million people without power. A few weeks later, category 4 hurricane Michael caused 19 deaths in four states as of Tue, Oct. 16. Former National Hurricane Center (NHC) head Rick Knabb said: “Michael could be one of the worst hurricanes to ever strike the Florida Big Bend/Florida Panhandle region”.
Some experts believe that natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes and flooding are likely to become more frequent and severe in the future. Which is all the more reason to do everything we can to prepare for such severe weather events.
As an emergency notification provider, we are aware of the difficulties Emergency Managers deal with during natural disasters. One of the biggest challenges is in notifying the community quickly and effectively about the dangers, and providing citizens with important up-to-date information and instructions.
With a growing number of severe weather events, more and more Emergency Managers rely on their emergency notification systems (ENS) to notify the public, since they can reach thousands of people in just minutes with potentially life-saving information and instructions. But even if you have an ENS in place it’s only half the battle. It’s critical that you get as many of your citizens as possible to sign up for emergency alerts, since the vast majority of people no longer use landlines.
Experience shows that the number of subscribers goes up after a major emergency has already happened and caused big damage or even loss of lives. It’s unfortunate that it takes a catastrophe to get people’s attention, but to some degree that’s just human nature. On the other hand, it is still a great opportunity to raise your community enrollment rate before another emergency strikes.
That’s why it’s so important to use all the means available to you to enroll your community members. It’s important to make sure they have all the options presented to them, and that you don’t give up on getting them enrolled. Let them sign up in a way they’ll feel comfortable with. One of the groups at greatest risk is the elderly, which is why it’s so important to give them options that work for them.
Here are some of the other most common obstacles holding people back from registering with your emergency notification system:
- Ignorance: Some simply are not aware that you have a notification system in place and that they need to register if they want to receive emergency alerts.
- Language barrier: They may not know that alerts are available in their own language.
- Difficulty: The registration link is hard to find.
- Time restraints: The registration process is too lengthy or complicated.
- Fear of too many notifications: They don’t want irrelevant or unnecessary notifications and don’t want to be awakened during late night hours
Hyper-Reach offers a number of enrollment methods to help its clients to develop a successful outreach campaign. When all the options are utilized effectively, we find our clients can greatly increase their enrollment rates.
Hyper-Reach is also seamlessly integrated with FEMA’s IPAWS technology, allowing authorized clients to use IPAWS WEA messages to fill in the gaps so they can reach just about all the residents and visitors in an affected area, even if they haven’t registered for emergency alerts or are just passing through the affected community.
Find out more about how Hyper-Reach goes above and beyond in helping you enroll your community. Request a demo now.