Cities Use Everbridge Platform to Fight Pandemic, Natural Disasters
Monday, August 24, 2020 | Comments

Everbridge announced a number of major U.S. cities relying on the company’s platform to coordinate emergency response and safeguard the public from the combined threats posed by COVID-19, as well as wildfires in the western part of the country and hurricanes along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts.

State and local governments need to be proactive in their response and recovery to events impacting the public that range from severe weather, active shooter and hazmat situations to occurrences such as heat advisories, rolling blackouts, large-scale gatherings, protests and construction projects. These events require information to be shared with residents, visitors and emergency personnel, over any device, providing the confidence that critical information like evacuation routes, lockdowns or road closures reach recipients immediately.

“A critical part of any emergency response is the ability to disseminate accurate information in a timely manner,” said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell. “Our dedication to public messaging is at the forefront of our mission to connect with every individual we serve, providing them life-saving information before, during, and after an emergency.”

The city’s partnership with Everbridge allows it to communicate effectively with New Yorkers during difficult times. During COVID-19, the city’s Notify NYC team developed a text alert short code in both English and Spanish to provide individuals with a streamlined method of receiving critical information about the pandemic.

“This crucial messaging continued through heat emergencies and Tropical Storm Isaias,” said Criswell. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Everbridge’s first-class team and remain committed to providing New Yorkers with the essential information they need no matter the challenge or emergency.”

In Hoboken, New Jersey, Isaias’s heavy winds downed trees and power lines, leaving more than one million people statewide without power.

“Preparing for the summer hurricane season is challenging under normal conditions, but during a pandemic, it calls for unique measures,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have reminded our residents of our commitment to sharing potentially life-saving information.

“With an unusually active hurricane season ahead of us, we’ve renewed that commitment,” said Bhalla. “Our number one priority is keeping our people safe by providing them access to real-time public information when they need it most. Our partnership with Everbridge allows Hoboken to disseminate this information quickly and accurately, ensuring residents have access to vital data, whether it be about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, impending storms or other threats to the city.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact how municipalities navigate the public’s return to work, return to school and return to public spaces, many cities now face the impact of an extremely active hurricane and wildfire season.

Current wildfires in areas grappling with the COVID-19 virus present unprecedented threats for firefighters, emergency managers and the public, particularly when it comes to evacuations. Cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, and counties including Sonoma and Lake, turned to the Everbridge Platform to warn residents of fire dangers and poor air quality. In Napa County, where the Hennessy Fire continues to threaten residents, the Office of Emergency Services relies on Everbridge to alert at-risk residents to evacuate their homes and take shelter, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“As we head into wildfire season, we are focused on prepping the public to create an emergency plan and listen to authorities,” said Soraya Sutherlin, joint information center manager for Alert SouthBay, an Everbridge customer and regional communications system shared by 13 California cities including Inglewood, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. “People are reluctant to leave their homes to go to a shelter because of COVID-19 concerns, which are likely to increase. We encourage residents to find a trusted source for information, plan where they will go if they are afraid of staying in a shelter, and identify at least two ways to get out of their neighborhood and leave when they feel unsafe. Finally, ensure masks are part of any emergency kit, including hand sanitizers, wipes and first aid supplies.”

As hurricane season continues, dozens of cities from Florida to Massachusetts rely on Everbridge to keep citizens informed and their employees updated on internal preparations, response, and recovery activities. Among the cities deploying Everbridge are Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, DC; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hoboken, New Jersey; and New York City, New York.

“Emergency management and public health officials are working tirelessly around the clock since this pandemic broke out,” said Brian Toolan, head of government strategy at Everbridge. “Everbridge salutes our first responder community and supports their daily mission with a global platform for cities to protect residents and mitigate the impact of multiple crises through the most comprehensive and scalable notification system, reaching diverse populations in multiple languages.”

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