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Crisis Communication Considerations: High-Risk Earthquake Zones

Crisis Communication Considerations: High-Risk Earthquake Zones

According to National Geographic, more than 143 million Americans live in an earthquake zone. During the coming decades, certain areas are likely to experience a large earthquake. While western states are often cited as having the highest earthquake risk – California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada – any part of America could potentially undergo a seismic event.

Earthquakes can occur without warning, at any time of the year. If an earthquake were to happen tomorrow, would your organization be ready? What would happen to the safety of your personnel, your inventory, and your technology? How would your operations change and how would you communicate? If your organization operates in an area that is at high risk for earthquakes, here is what you need to know.

Assess Structural Impact In Advance

According to FEMA’s website, it’s a good idea to have a structural engineer evaluate your site. They can recommend updates for strengthening areas that would be vulnerable in the event of an earthquake. If you’re moving to a new location, ask about earthquake resistance capabilities, and check local building codes to see how robust these capabilities should be.

Your Emergency Communication Plan

It’s important to create an emergency communication plan. Your employees should understand the protocol during and following an earthquake. When you need to delegate to trained personnel, practice safety drills, and administer safety procedures, your communication plan is of the utmost importance. You need a line of communication that can reach employees at any time, even if your building is damaged.

With an emergency mass notification system like Blackberry AtHoc, you lower the chance of communication failure. BlackBerry AtHoc’s end-to-end emergency communication system can unify all communication modalities to send alerts with a single click, from any web-based device. You can account for your personnel, chart key locations on a map, and rapidly collect data to make game-time decisions. Two-way communication is key during an earthquake - it’s not enough just to send out a message. You want to know who’s gotten it, and what they’re doing with that info.

BlackBerry AtHoc supports the government of Mexico in implementing earthquake warning and monitoring systems. Through a public emergency alert system, they’re able to mitigate earthquake damage and even save lives. The system works in practice, not just in theory - mass communication devices like loudspeakers, radios, sirens, and televisions are connected to earthquake sensors. This immediate, wide-spread network of communication devices means that there’s instant warning activated to help people to take cover when an earthquake threatens.

Your Community

Returning to business as usual should be a priority for you, but so should helping your community. Monitor news reports for emergency information. Other organizations and institutions are bound to have been effected by the earthquake. Make sure you can share information with external organizations and agencies.

AtHoc Connect allows you to bridge the gap between your organization and your community at large. Create your own permission-based crisis communication network. Who is safe and who needs assistance? You can check in and find out. A connected community is better equipped to assess danger and provide a coordinated response. Plan to help out as much as you can.

Your Key Employees, Procedures and Materials

You have certain employees, procedures, and equipment that are essential for keeping your business up and running. Designate a system for safeguarding these key assets. If you designate in advance which assets are critical for your organization’s recovery, you’ll be better equipped to handle the earthquake. You should consider essential operations like payroll, accounting, tracking, and decision-making. Ideally, you will also practice earthquake drills within your organization, to allow any key personnel to run through their emergency responsibilities.

Your Survival Kit

According to The American Red Cross, you can create earthquake readiness by having a survival kit on hand. Prepare your personnel to have up-to-date survival kits at their disposal in the case of a crisis. These kits can contain useful essentials like:

  • Water - one gallon per person, per day
  • Food - non-perishable
  • Extra batteries
  • A 7-day supply of commonly-used medications
  • Sanitation and hygiene items
  • Emergency blankets

Store these critical supplies, along with any important documents that are key to your operations, in a fireproof and waterproof portable container. All documents should be backed up on a cloud-based secure server too. Your business will thank you when your insurance policies, bank records, contact lists and server backups are ready and waiting for you.

From earthquakes to hurricanes and beyond, BlackBerry AtHoc is trusted by companies across various industries for their crisis communication needs. Learn more about the BlackBerry AtHoc Crisis Communication Platform.

Efraim Petel - Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at AtHoc
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