Town of Belhaven, North Carolina
Lessons from Hurricane Florence
In September 2018, Hurricane Florence caused catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas, particularly due to freshwater flooding following days of torrential rain. Surrounded by rivers and water, Belhaven saw floods of three to five feet throughout the entire town of 1,600 residents. Belhaven’s town manager had only been on the job for three weeks, and she called the situation chaotic. Knowing that hurricane season would still continue post-September — and in the years to come — she and the town started working with Regroup Mass Notification to keep residents safe and informed.
“It was during the chaos of that situation that I learned we had no way of communicating with our residents about potential threats, evacuations, or anything else. Immediately following Florence, knowing we still had several months of hurricane season, I sought to find an easy way to communicate with our residents… Regroup offered exactly what I was looking for.”
Preparation for Hurricane Dorian
The town’s decision to work with a mass notification platform, which can deliver emergency and other communications to the entire community on any device, proved prescient. From August through mid-September 2019, Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in the Atlantic. It was one of the most powerful hurricanes in recorded history, devastating the Bahamas and causing declared states of emergency and evacuations stretching from Florida through the Carolinas. Residents of Belhaven were able to sign up for notifications from the town with their cellphone numbers, email addresses and home phone numbers for necessary evacuation orders. They could text to join, or call the town hall for assistance.
“In a short span of time we were able to upload our database and immediately begin communicating with our residents. Thanks to Regroup the Town of Belhaven is more prepared than ever for emergency events.”
Preparing for a Hurricane
What can municipalities in hurricane-prone regions do to prepare? Look for a notification platform that can do the following:
- Federal Alerts on Any Device
- Geo-Targeted Messaging
- Protection Against Infrastructure Failures
- Automated Alerts
- Situational Intelligence with Two-Way Communication
Day-to-Day Communication with Ease
While evacuations during emergencies are necessary and save lives, there are multiple ways communities can benefit from mass notifications. After a storm, everything from trash pickup to informational meetings can be affected. Using a mass notification network, residents can resume normal lives a bit easier than if there was poor communication. The Town of Belhaven even uses the Regroup platform to inform residents about recreational and sports activities.
Weathering the Storm
Regroup Mass Notification has a long history of working with municipalities and other organizations to keep people safer during storms. It was named a Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Regroup became a NOAA partner after demonstrating continued commitment to strengthening national extreme-weather resilience.
The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative recognizes NOAA partners who are improving the nation’s readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against extreme weather, water and climate events.Organizations using Regroup’s platform can be prepared with automated severe weather alerts for any area in the USA, delivered via text, email, phone, and more directly from NOAA and the National Weather Service.