PLANNING: What to do when the emergency is over?
So you’ve received the notice of an emergency and complied with what you were asked to do. Now what? Is it safe to return to home, to campus or to work? Typically whatever method was used to notify you of the emergency itself will also be used to notify you that the emergency has passed.
In the case of natural disasters this may not be possible. What if phone lines are taken down by a hurricane or the internet is knocked out in an earthquake? How will you get the information you need to know then?
Perhaps town-wide alerts exist? Checking with your town prior to any such emergencies is a good idea. Years ago we had air raid sirens to alert us to an impending air raid. We had drills in schools for nuclear attacks. To this day we have fire drills, lock down drills and shelter in place drills as well as evacuation drills. Are these announced? Are they announced by a specific alert from the PA system?
Growing up I distinctly remember hearing the fire alarm for the North side of town and then listening for the fire engines to come rolling down the street. Everyone knew the sound and stopped to look around no matter where they were in town. If it was bad, there were multiple alarms. We no longer hear that sound in town. I can’t even remember the last time I heard it. Now everything is done electronically. Notices of anything of a serious nature are sent electronically. If you live or work in town, there is an alert system you can sign up for and you will receive text messages telling you the nature of the emergency, what to do and when. After the emergency is cleared you receive notification in the same manner.
Amber Alerts for missing children use social media, text messaging and any radio or news broadcasts they can to get the alert out to the widest number of people. I see people posting notices on town groups in facebook all the time about missing dogs, missing friends, items they lost in town, etc.
Social media has become a huge way to check in and let people know you are ok in the event of an emergency. You just have to be in a place where the internet is not down and you can access your account. If your phone is in working order and you can get to a place with reception or wifi, you can communicate across the internet to anyone in the world. Technology has made information much more accessible. Gone are the days when you wore a beeper, received a phone number and called the number back to get your message. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.
Let’s think about nationalizing some of our messaging systems. Why just recently FEMA sent a Presidential Alert utilizing the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) via text message to everyone in the nation with a cell phone. There was no opt out option available. Texting is on the forefront of our communication systems. We see that about 90% of text message recipients open a text within three minutes of receiving it. I can tell you that in my house it is much faster than that!
Think about the businesses that currently utilize text messaging to communicate with all of us. Doctors and dentists now send alerts to remind us of appointments, saving themselves money and time because there are less no shows for booked time. Banks and credit card companies use text messaging as a means of account/ID authentication. They text you a code that you type into your account web site and voila! You’ve used their key to open the door to further information. Looking further, drug stores let us know when it’s time to refill a prescription or time to pick up that refill.
What should be abundantly clear by now is that any system or combination of systems is only as good as the people that make use of it. It is only as good as the equipment used to support it. So without access to continually updated technology, both hardware and software, in the end we may still go door to door to notify people. But for now, it’s a safe bet that texting or alert systems such as the Active Defender App are here to stay and will make saving time and saving lives just that much easier now and in the future. A few seconds can make all the difference in saving a life or losing one. Don’t wait. If your child attends school, public or private in the United States of America let their administrators know that you want them to look at the Active Defender System for their school. If your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, Aunt or Uncle works for a school or university, tell them to look at Active Defender. You could be the link that saves their life.
As always we welcome you to join in the conversation. Share with us and others! Together we make a difference!