September is National Preparedness Month, observed annually to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that can happen anywhere at any time. Organizations across the globe will be impacted by natural disasters and emergencies and should have a clear plan in place to help staff and residents safely navigate any situation that may arise.
Is your organization prepared and ready to help residents in case of an emergency? Do your residents know how and where to access emergency information? The tips below will help your community be prepared for emergency situations.
Emergency Readiness Checklist
Educate residents and visitors about where to discover emergency information
Does your community know where to find the most updated emergency information? Is your website the best source? Social media? Email? Clearly communicate with your residents and visitors to make sure they know the best place to access information and updates before an emergency hits.
Build a permanent emergency information page on the website
Feature an emergency response page on your website and market it frequently so residents and visitors know where to find it. This page can be updated during emergency situations with links to additional resources, information, and notifications. Make sure it’s easy to navigate to from your homepage, preferably with an icon or image to grab the attention of website visitors.
Useful information for the page could include emergency shelter locations, what to pack in an emergency go-kit, evacuation levels/zones, and tips for reunification plans, as well as links to your organization’s 311 system and email notification sign-ups.
Create a website redirect that is easy to remember
Build a redirect to your emergency information page that is easy to remember. This will allow website visitors to type in a short URL to take them directly to the emergency page without having to navigate through your site when seconds matter.
Including a QR code that directs users to the emergency page on newsletters, flyers, posters, or other community notifications will also provide easy access and help drive awareness.
Provide email sign-up lists, including one for emergencies
Have an email notification list sign-up available on your website for residents, including one for emergency updates. Ahead of an emergency, be sure to frequently publicize the email notification sign-up within your community to build awareness and drive adoption.
Activate an emergency website homepage banner to provide updates
Have an emergency banner ready to activate on your website in case disaster strikes. And be sure you can remotely access and update your website should government facilities be inaccessible for any reason.
Be prepared for power outages
Have a backup plan in place for residents to access emergency information and services should your website become inaccessible due to power outages or cell signal issues and publicize the plan to your community.
Reach diverse populations
Be sure to consider all of the different populations within your community and how to best share information with them. A varied communications approach to emergency preparation is the most effective for ensuring those you serve are ready and stay safe.
Following a 25-year career in local government communications, Elise Penington joined Granicus in 2022 as the Product Marketing Manager for Granicus Website Solutions. Elise is excited to be on the Granicus team and to play a part in helping government entities elevate their communication resources and efforts.