City, PNEC try out email alert system
By Emily Sorensen
Were you in the loop?
The Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps (PNEC), working with the City of Poway, tested its emergency message system on Thursday, Oct. 25, with the city sending an email to PNEC leaders.
From there, the email was forwarded to neighborhood leaders, who further forwarded it to the emails they had collected from their neighbors. The emergency message test was intended to test only the PNEC’s message systems, not the city’s emergency message systems.
“From what we can tell, it went off very smoothly,” said Merrilee Boyack, City Council member and liaison. One of the biggest things Boyack and the rest of PNEC took away from the drill was the need for additional ways to communicate in case they cannot access the Internet. Accordingly, Boyack said that PNEC’s next emergency message drill in six months would include text messages and phone calls.
A message was also sent out to all PNEC members on NextDoor.com, a Facebook-like site that restricts access to your neighborhood only. PNEC advocates the use of NextDoor.com to connect with your neighbors to prepare to share information in an emergency, as well as in everyday situations.
“[NextDoor.com] went off flawlessly,” said Boyack, adding that as a result of signing up for emergency messages, many neighborhoods have started using the website to communicate about everyday issues and events as well.
Karen Turley, a Poway resident who has been volunteering as a neighborhood leader since last February, said she received the message both in her email and on NextDoor.com. “As soon as I got the message, I forwarded it to the people selected as block captains, so they could forward it to the people living on their blocks,” said Turley. “I also posted the message on NextDoor.com.”
Turley said that while she felt the email and website were successful, it wasn’t enough. “What I discovered is we should do a cell phone tree with all the people from your area of NextDoor.com,” said Turley, “because if you don’t check your email, you won’t know, but most people usually have their cell phones on them.”
“By and large, reactions were good, but the drill highlighted the need for emergency preparedness, and the need for alternate forms of communication,” said Boyack.
Boyack also said she would like to reach out to the rest of the city as well, so they could be connected in an emergency.
To facilitate that, Boyack has extended an invitation to everyone in Poway to attend the next Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps meeting, being held from 7 to 9 o’clock tonight (Thursday) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 14211 Twin Peaks Road, Poway. This special two-hour meeting will be on the topic of “sheltering in place,” something that is especially relevant after the recent five-year anniversary of the 2007 Witch Creek fires.
The meeting will teach you what to do if you are stuck in your home during and after an emergency, what supplies you should keep in your home to prepare for an emergency, and other tips on emergency preparedness.
PNEC meetings are always free and open to the public. For more information, call Boyack at 858-748-6703, email her at email@example.com, or visit powaynec.com.
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