If you’re going to do one thing with your emergency alerts, it’s be specific.

You cannot just tell people to evacuate, you must tell them what you mean by evacuate, says Dr. Dennis Mileti. He’s a top expert in alerts and warnings and director emeritus of the Natural Hazards Center. The center recently hosted a workshop on Natural Hazards Research and Applications in Colorado, covered by Elaine Pittman of Emergency Management magazine.

What is an example of a “specific” emergency alert?

I’m not writing this just because Elaine is my editor. (Hi, Elaine.) But, when Dennis Mileti speaks, we should listen. In her article, she reported on Dr. Mileti complimenting the Boulder Office of Emergency Management for its alerts for recent floods. He cited this example, “Shelter in place but move to upper floors, if possible. If this is not possible, these individuals should seek higher ground, at least 12 feet above creek level, without crossing the creek”.

Dr. Mileti also says that research shows that it’s important to mention the name of the source early in the alert.

Where can I find more information on delivering successful emergency alerts?

Visit our resources page here, or see our blog posts, “Emergency Alerting Lessons Learned From Hurricane Sandy,” and “Lessons Learned From The Nationwide EAS Test.”


This post was originally published in Emergency Management Magazine’s Alerts and Notifications blog authored by Galain President Rick Wimberly at Emergency Management Magazine.