Standard procedures, templates streamline Scituate's emergency news dissemination

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MMA Innovation Award winner, From The Beacon, February 2017
 
After a devastating winter storm seven years ago challenged Scituate’s ability to quickly communicate consistent emergency information to all town officials, school staff and residents, the town began the development of a comprehensive communications procedure that ensures critical information is disseminated as widely as possible in real time.
 
S.E.A.S: Community Multi-Media Emergency Notification System uses existing resources like the town’s website, cable station, Reverse 911 system, and social media channels, but does so in centralized way, using templates to ensure that each piece of necessary information is included.
 
The town’s Emergency Management Team, which includes the town administrator, emergency management director, police and fire chiefs, and key department heads, collaborates on a single report containing all key information and instructions for residents. That report is sent to each town and school staff member, local media and the town’s communication channels.
 
Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi said that the system has proven useful not only during storms, but during the drought that struck Massachusetts this past year.
 
“All the communities affected were essentially doing the same thing – we’re all writing notices, all posting information,” Vinchesi said. “It just seemed to make sense that if there can be templates for some of this stuff, we can share with communities so they don’t have to reinvent every advisory, and it increases our efficiency.”
 
The town’s new process has not only made it easier for town officials to act quickly on communications during emergencies, but it has helped the public learn where to go for the latest information, while ensuring that the public receives one consistent message.
 
For more information, contact Scituate Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi at (781) 545-8741 or pvinchesi@scituatema.gov.