Posted on / by Daniel Wagstaff / in News, Technology, Trending

Using Technology to Effectively Respond to Inclement Weather: What Harvey Taught Us About Hurricane Communication

Hurricane season is here, and it is important to be prepared to respond effectively if bad weather hits your area. The forecast for the 2017’s hurricane season has been updated with more active storms predicted; the NOAA now expects 14-19 total named storms in the Atlantic. We’ve already had more than a year’s worth of named storms when you look at the long-term average, and we’re just past the midpoint of the season. Having a crisis communication plan and effective response, complete with the tools available today for instantaneous, consistent and reliable messaging is imperative.

Is your company prepared to respond effectively in the face of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances?

When Hurricane Harvey touched down in South Texas, technology played a key role in ensuring the safety of many affected Houstonians. Quick and effective communication was essential. Business managers and property owners communicated with their communities of employees and tenants to make sure people were safe. Throughout Hurricane Harvey, mass notification systems allowed companies to provide quick, clear, and targeted communication in real-time.

At Pocketstop, our Houston customers used RedFlag to proactively communicate about closures and evacuation orders so their audience could take appropriate precautions. Then, as Houston residents moved forward to rebuild, affected organizations used RedFlag to direct people to important information about insurance, medical and legal care, or other resources. Effective communication allowed affected persons to access resources efficiently.

During Harvey, companies were innovative about how they leveraged mass communication technologies. Our customers didn’t only ensure those affected by the hurricane were safe; they also reached out to the people throughout their company who were unaffected by the hurricane to let them know ways they could help out in the aftermath. Targeted, two-way communication created a forum for genuine connection: they found out who needed help and who could provide help. Then, they mobilized their networks to care for their people. This allowed companies to foster a real sense of community.

Do you have an effective communication plan and system in place?

We can help you achieve effective crisis communications with a simple & easy to use multi-channel mass communication system. Our mass communication technology, RedFlag, can ensure that you’re prepared for upcoming weather, crisis, or informational communication challenges.

  • Real-time crisis communication management
    Multi-channel messaging with just one click allows you to send timely notifications through multiple channels (email, text, voice calls, social posts and more) with a sense of immediacy. You can also easily segment your audience to tailor the message, depending on the circumstance or need.
  • Two-way communication capabilities
    Two-way communication gives you detailed insight into the situation at hand. You can ask specific groups if they are ok or have evacuated safely, for example, and can quickly and effectively solve problems by engaging in conversation with any-sized group that requires more follow up – those that did not acknowledge your first message, for instance.Your recipients can also report in issues, ask questions, or seek help from management via a quick text message from their phones. A notification is then sent to the appropriate personnel who can respond to the request – and blast messages to other recipients if needed.RedFlag’s two-way communication is a great way to get first hand knowledge into a developing situation and can be a building block to a long-term, positive relationship and help maintain loyalty with your recipeints.
  • Quick implementation that can handle a time crunch
    Right before Harvey, we had a number of companies reach out to us specifically due to the impending hurricane. Just prior to the storm, we signed a property owner who had four commercial buildings in Houston – and we were able to get them up all and running in time.We can get you up and running with RedFlag within 24-48 hours. However, we understand that some circumstances require an all-hands-on-deck mentality. If you are facing inclement weather and need quick communication tools, we may be able implement your system within hours.
  • Easy-to-learn, intuitive system
    Get a message out in a matter of minutes with a simple, intuitive user interface. The dashboard is customized and never cluttered – it only includes the tools you actually need and use. And, the system is integrated with Office 365, so multi-channel messages (like text messages and voice calls, along with email) can be sent directly from Outlook. This saves you time and allows you to get the system running fast, even on a tight deadline.

Whether or not RedFlag is right for you, implementing a communication plan complete with the latest technology available today for immediate, real-time communication is crucial. And once you have a system in place, the best hedge you can have against a disaster is not letting your plan collect dust. Use your system. Practice with it. Train your people consistently. Prepare. And prepare often. Don’t worry about a crisis—plan for one so you’re ready and confident you’ll know how to take care of your people if you’re presented with a worst-case scenario.

 

See RedFlag in action by scheduling a 15-minute custom demo here.  

 

 

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About Daniel Wagstaff

Daniel defines the strategic direction of Pocketstop while identifying and managing key business opportunities. Responsible for delivering on the Pocketstop value proposition, he focuses on solving an organization’s largest communications issues by using proven technologies in unique ways. While content may be King, communication is Queen and she wears the pants. Daniel ensures every solution is both simple and efficient and delivers measurable business results. Daniel has 20 years of diverse experience working with clients to ensure their B2B and B2C communication strategy motivates and drives the desired behavior.