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A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management

Feb 6, 2020

Back to Veoci BlogA Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management

Think of all the departments and organizations you have operating within your jurisdiction: airports, fire departments, emergency management, law enforcement, hospitals, permitting/ licensing, public works, social services, volunteer groups, and schools just to name a few. Currently, these organizations are likely functioning independently, with brief communication crossovers when necessary. 

But what if you could bring all of these entities under a single umbrella, uniting them and enhancing communication and operations across your entire community? This “whole community” coordination is possible with the right tools to manage it, and it can help streamline the response to a crisis. 

The Importance of Communication

Imagine there is a hurricane that hits your municipality hard. In the past, separate departments and organizations responded to the storm in a siloed manner, largely unaware of what was being done by other groups within their community. Reports were filed on paper or spreadsheets, making it difficult to update and create visibility around these documents. 

This lack of open communication between the organizations and departments that make up a community made the response fragmented. For example, firefighters might not know which roads had been closed by police officers or public works. Schools could be unaware about the status of clean-ups or power restoration that would affect closures. Lack of communication affected the efficiency of the response. 

Streamline Responses with a Whole Community Approach

There are tools available to help prevent this type of siloed response management. Technology platforms can provide communication tools that help bring people across a jurisdiction in times of crisis. 

If your community had a platform designed to promote communication and visibility over events, it is easier to streamline responses because all departments within a jurisdiction are involved in the conversation around an event. 

Police and fire departments could easily share out essential emergency information in a secure and visible platform. This saves time and manpower because you don’t have to communicate with everyone on an individual basis. This also helps schools, hospitals, and other organizations make informed decisions about their emergency response because they have the necessary information. 

Another benefit of adapting a single platform to support your community for operations and emergency management is the consolidation of resources. Multiple software programs within a jurisdiction can become cumbersome. Consolidating them to an all-in-one process management tool would not only save municipalities money, but would allow staff members time to become familiar with the program they’re using. 

It can be a challenge to communicate across different software platforms, especially on the interdepartmental level, so finding a platform that works for everyone is essential to eliminate subpar communication and disparities between departments. 

Veoci for a United Community

With Veoci, you can launch a Room as a part of your plan and invite as many people from your jurisdiction as you deem appropriate. In the cockpit of this Room, people can post updates, ask questions, tag specific people, and include photos or videos from the response. 

The cockpit is an excellent way to centralize communication. You can also thread the chat so side conversations can occur in addition to the overall messaging. This is imperative during a response because everyone has access to the most updated communication around the event. You don’t have to notify each department individually or rely on unreliable communication methods, like emailing back and forth. 

Think back to the example of what happened during the hurricane before there was a Whole Community platform in place to support the response. Communication was fractured and key responders weren’t receiving crucial information. 

With Veoci, GIS mapping allows any member of the Room to mark or remove road closures, which are then updated in live time. This creates a full picture of the reality of the storm and offers visibility for people out in the field who can access the map straight from a tablet or mobile device. You can also push the map view to different departments for a holistic community understanding of the situation.

Damage assessments and after action reporting can also be performed with ease on Veoci. The mobile application allows users to take photos or videos in the field and attach them into a pre-built form, which feeds into a centralized location regardless of which department is submitting them. Having these forms completed in a centralized location that your entire community can access helps prevent redundancies and makes interdepartmental sharing and task assignments a breeze. 

Tasks can also be assigned and tracked so key stakeholders across a jurisdiction know what is being addressed, who is doing it, and what the status of the task is. This prevents double-dipping between departments or inefficient communication wasted on trying to obtain answers. 

Whole Community Emergency Management

It’s not enough for each department within a municipality to have separate processes and modes of communication. Uniting your whole community under a single platform that promotes visibility and communication can help to streamline responses and keep stakeholders in the know, and make your community more resilient to emergencies overall.

Denys Nevozhai via Unsplash.com

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