I spend more time in the first chapter of the book, describing what types of alerts can be set. And it's worth mentioning that those alerts can go both ways. When a power outage affected over 2,000 homes in this area early yesterday morning, I was able to tweet to Seattle City Light a report of the outage. I'm happy to say the site was monitored, and so I got a tweet back, saying the outage was being worked.
I think we'll see more and more communications pushed out through alerts. If you haven't already done so, it's worth signing up now for alerts that help citizens understand and manage emergencies. Here are a couple of ideas:
- your neighborhood blog and/or Facebook page
-Twitter feeds for police, fire, utilities and transportation
-text messages from your children's school
-alerts from your employer
In some cases, you'll be offered several channels through which you can receive alerts. My recommendation is to sign up for more than one option since these alerts are automatically generated once the data is in the system. For sure, sign up for text messages in case all other channels are overloaded or unavailable.
The other standard issue communications device for your emergency kit should be a battery operated radio that is set to the emergency notification channel. That way, if power is out altogether, you can still receive alerts via this radio.