In a crisis such as Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Sandy and Blizzard Nemo there is a need for a continuous flow of information from local and state leaders to community members.
When Irene and Sandy hit, families relied on information to see when their power would be restored, where shelters were located, and what schools were closed. In the case of Nemo, people expect a plan for plowing the roads and information as to when their area will be cleared.
These communications can take several forms: a code-red phoning system which would call your home daily with an update in your specific area, a live-streaming emergency website up and running 24 hours a day, and a central hub for all local questions and requests for citizens to contact. While 211 is an excellent state-wide service, it does not answer specific questions about local municipalities.
Reliable communication plays a key role in both informing and easing the concerns of community members. Throughout the weekend I kept in touch with many through my own Facebook page and use of social media.
Once Blizzard Nemo moved from our area, we were left with an unprecedented amount of snow on our sidewalks, streets and across the city of Shelton. Neighborhoods came together to help each other as it became clear that some roads might not be plowed anytime soon.
As I shoveled, I saw a neighbor snow blowing parts of the street, and another plowing a driveway. Friends in other areas of Shelton combined their efforts to shovel some snow on roads in anticipation of heavier equipment coming to plow soon.
In a technology age with ‘applications’ for just about everything, we all found ourselves with a shovel in hand clearing the way for others. The members of our community came together – as we always do.