« Continuity of Operations Planning

Multiple messaging systems can spread information faster

Text messaging services can be part of a larger continuity of operations plan to send out information to a large audience.
Text messaging services can be part of a larger continuity of operations plan to send out information to a large audience.

During an emergency situation, communication is key. With technology evolving more each day, there are more options available for city authorities to relay information to residents and business owners during a continuity of operations plan. Not only can individuals be reached through phone calls, but there is also email and text messaging services. Smartphones have become more popular, which gives authority figures a better chance of ensuring that a message is received.

Strong communication measures are crucial to relaying information, especially to a large audience. Systems should remain up to date to guarantee that all intended recipients are given a complete and accurate message.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is taking a similar approach to how it notifies riders of service delays, disruptions and any other planned and unplanned changes. According to a company press release, the new "T-Alerts" system will debut on June 4. Subscribers to the current notification system – 50,000 – will need to register with the new one.

"Service alerts and notifications will be clearer and more detailed with additional information regarding specific trip times, service schedule changes, and distinct directional, branch, and station communications," the statement said.

The MBTA website will reportedly have more visual-friendly displays that are easier to read. Additionally, the text and email services will have more "reliable delivery times."

Depending on the specific needs of a town or city, working with a consultant who specializes in continuity of operations planning can assist in finding the best communication methods possible. That way, residents will know what they must do to receive emergency messaging services and officials can rest assured that their directions will be read.