“We rarely hear feedback about these things, but people thanked us for notifying them via Tatango during the recent hurricane. Also, the number of subscribers in our Tatango campaign nearly tripled during the hurricane, so people must have liked it and spread the word. Thanks for providing such a great service” — Adam Darack, IT Manager Town of Edgartown
This weekend Edgartown really put their town’s text message alerts system (powered by Tatango) to the test. As Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast, the town’s SMS subscribers quickly tripled overnight with residents being instructed to text ALERT to 68398 on the Edgartown website and in The Martha Vineyard’s Times.
Edgartown is located on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. With a population of 4,000 year-round residents, it has the largest population and area on Martha’s Vineyard.
The town sent out text message alerts regarding the following to their residents before, during and after Irene had passed:
- Shelter openings & closures.
- Road closures.
- Numbers to call in case of emergencies.
- Numbers to call to report downed power lines and power outages.
- Beach closures.
- Ferry operations including routes, times & closures.
Random Fact: Edgartown was used as the main shooting location for the town of Amity in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws. Many landmarks and buildings in Edgartown that were filmed in the movie can still be seen today.
Is your town thinking about text message alerts to keep residents informed during emergency and non-emergency situations? Check out the report American Red Cross recently released titled Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies. I’ve embedded a few of the pages from the report below that pertain directly to text message alerts.
You should also check out Text Messages Aren’t Enough When Natural Disasters Strike from Fast Company, which has some great points about why not to use just one form of communication when a disaster strikes, which we couldn’t agree with more.
You can download the full Red Cross Report here.
We just received some pictures from Edgartown during the storm, I’ve attached them below.