From the first very first smoke signals created by prehistoric men to the 9-1-1 phone system, the emergency communication industry has vastly matured throughout the ages. Now, in 2017, we're at the peak of the information age. You can access nearly any news, from virtually anywhere in the world, any time. Amber alerts, text message notifications, and phone recordings can inform the masses, instantly, of any crisis. Whether it's to let us know about a school cancellation or a natural disaster, this is the current state of emergency alerts.
How Do Emergency Mass Notification Systems Work?
The need for the ability to send out crisis alerts is steadily increasing. One of the latest trends emerging is the high-volume use of mass notification systems (MNS) across multiple industries. So, how does this kind of system work?
In a nutshell, an MNS sends a one-way message to employees, subscribers, or the public regardingan emergency in real-time by way of telephone, text message, email, television, or radio. These systems make it easy for municipalities, companies, and individuals to let their people know that something is outside of the norm. Where the average response time for the police is 11 minutes, a mass notification system can be sent instantly in a safe, discreet way.
Emergency alerts are still sent out via broadcast television and radio, and phone calls are still used. Today, though, when 77% of people own a smartphone, the trends in technology tell us that it's time to start taking a closer look at email and text message alerts.
Why Are Mass Notifications a Critical Part of Society Today?
When you look at what's going on in the world, it's no wonder legislation is mandating mass notifications and emergency alerts for more than just natural disasters. Take a look at these industry facts and statistics about emergency alerts:[click to continue...]
The winds and rains produced in a hurricane have the potential to do massive destruction in just a few hours. Even though we typically have a couple days' notice on their impending arrival, the force can still take us by surprise. Cities, towns, college campuses, schools, homeowners, and anyone else living at risk of a hurricane need to have a decisive plan in place for dealing with this type of storm.
Hurricane Facts and Information
Your first step in preparing for hurricane season lies in knowing what you are dealing with. Forecasters may be talking about an approaching storm for days, but you won't be able to properly prepare yourself, school, or town unless you know what they are referring to.[click to continue...]
If you live in the United States, spring has sprung, and summer is well on its way. And if you live on the east coast of the United States, that means hurricane season is almost here. Typically recognized as running from June 1 - November 30 in the United States, the peak of Atlantic hurricane season is usually around September 10th of each year.
Approximately 10 storms develop into "named storms" each year - these storms are seen as being significant enough to merit naming by the NOAA. Of these storms, around 6 become hurricanes each year, and around 2.5 become “major” hurricanes of category 3 or greater. Most of these hurricanes are relatively harmless and end up dispersing before doing significant damage.
But every once in awhile, weather conditions are perfect for creating devastating storms that swell in size, intensity, and speed. These storms represent a serious danger to both people and property, and usually require emergency evacuation procedures.
In order to give you an idea of the size, intensity, and damage caused by these storms, we'll take a look at the top 11 most powerful Atlantic hurricanes of all time, and how they have affected the United States over the years.
NOTE: As per NOAA guidelines, these storms have been arranged by pressure - from lowest to highest. While storms are often ranked by wind speed alone, the NOAA prefers to rank storms by pressure.
11. Hurricane Ivan (2004)
Hurricane Ivan was the ninth named storm and the sixth hurricane to occur during the relatively active 2004 hurricane season. The storm system began forming in early September, around the peak of oceanic activity for the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season.
Hurricane Ivan began to form September 2, 2004, southwest of Cape Verde. The system began moving west, and began to strengthen gradually. It became classified as a tropical storm by September 3, 2004, and by September 5, it had reached hurricane status.
By September 9, winds in the hurricane had intensified to 160 mph, as it passed around Jamaica and headed westward towards the United States. Peak strength was reached on September 12, 2004, when the hurricane passed through the Yucatán Channel.
The storm then began to weaken slightly to category 4 strength before making landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States. In Louisiana and Mississippi, thousands of Americans were evacuated. In Florida, thousands of homes were destroyed, and multiple bridges were heavily damaged by the high winds of Hurricane Ivan.
According to the NOAA, Hurricane Ivan is the 6th costliest hurricane to make landfall in the United States, with damages at $22.8 billion, adjusted for inflation.
10. Hurricane "Cuba" (1924)
Measured before the NOAA began naming storms, Hurricane Cuba is the earliest hurricane to be classified as a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and its low pressure of 910 hPa places it at tenth on our list of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes.
This hurricane formed on October 141924 in the Caribbean, and began picking up steam as it moved in a northwesterly direction. By October 16, it had officially attained hurricane status.
By October 18, the hurricane had peaked at an intensity of 910 hPa, and sustained winds of over 165 mph. Almost immediately after the hurricane hit peak strength, it made contact with Cuba. To this day, it is the most powerful hurricane to have ever hit the country.
After moving past Cuba, the hurricane weakened quite a bit, reaching Florida with peak winds of around 90mph. Despite the catastrophic damage done to Cuba, Florida was relatively unaffected. There were no reported fatalities, though heavy rainfall occurred all throughout the state.[click to continue...]
Voice broadcasting is an effective method of communicating with multitudes of people at one time. This is a must-have system for a business, especially one that regularly needs to send messages to their customers, leads, employees, and various vendors. Once you have this system in place, you will wonder how you ever functioned without it.
Voice messaging enables a higher response rate than using direct mail, yet it is as fast and inexpensive as sending emails. Additionally, it can be used to serve various purposes inside of your business by creating a new bridge of communication.
The benefits of voice broadcasting are vast, they cover all aspects of your business needs, from enticing new customers to maintaining a sufficient stock of goods. You will find this is an innovative method of growing your business.
1) Easy to Implement
There is nothing complicated about initiating a voice broadcasting system for your business. Choose a provider that operates online and you will not be obligated to add any software or hardware to your existing computer. Once you have created your account you will only need to add your contacts. After it has been set up, sending a message is as easy as logging in, recording your message and choosing the recipients.[click to continue...]
Emergency notification systems - or an emergency alert system - in one form or another have been in practice for decades. Older individuals may remember that familiar buzz on the TV or radio, informing you that this was "just a test" to make sure that if an emergency did arise, the American people would be the first to know.
As we have evolved technologically, those systems have lost their effectiveness. MP3's and Music downloads have replaced the radio, and providers like Netflix have made local TV stations practically obsolete. While there are still certain government programs that help to bring emergency notifications to the masses, smaller institutions have found it more effective to instill their own emergency notification system.
There are multiple reasons and benefits for why you should have your own emergency notification system in place before the next disaster strikes:
1) Provide Impending Disaster Preparation Tips and Advice
Emergency notification systems can be used before a crisis to help a community, business, school or church get ready. If you are aware of an impending storm you could use automated emergency notifications to alert people how to stay safe and the location of services that could help them ride it out.[click to continue...]
Cities are made up of diverse groups with various interests and preferences for how they obtain information. With busy schedules, community members have a greater appreciation for comfortable and convenient means of receiving news about what is going on in your city. They also desire being able to have their own views heard.
With modern technology you have more opportunities for fast and cost-effective ways to communicate with your citizens. Whether you are just attempting to reach out and provide information about an upcoming event, or have to share details about major road closures coming up, there are ways to stay in touch and keep people informed that are more reliable than methods of the past.
The Problems with the Community Wide Public Meeting
The community wide public meeting is still utilized by cities and towns across the United States. While effective in some areas it is important to make them comfortable for everyone. Some citizens are intimidated by the formality, because some meetings are being dominated by the same few who have grown comfortable with speaking publicly. Consider the format and make more room in the agenda for discussion, and consider a smaller, casual setting. You can learn a lot about what is happening in the community while standing around a dessert table and sipping on coffee.[click to continue...]
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