City Launches New Twitter Account To Keep Residents #WestonReady

Mainz, Germany - September 3, 2011: German fire brigade control center of fire brigade Mainz with lots of telecommunication equipment and computer screens. The control center is used as a communication centre for firefighters command personnel and dispatchers. Fisheye lens used.

At the start of hurricane season, the City of Weston launched a new social media campaign, #WestonReady. It details how to be ready for any emergency, year-round. To relay information of an urgent matter or incident taking place, messages are conveyed through a new Twitter account, @WestonFLAlert.

According to Denise Barrett-Miller, the City’s Director of Communications, the idea for @WestonFLAlert came from CBS4 Meteorologist Craig Setzer, who suggested an account just for emergency messages. “Mr. Setzer is a resident and follower of our Twitter account @CityofWeston and to ensure he was aware of any emergencies within the city, he set an audible alert for our account. Well, because Weston is active on Twitter and we provide a wealth of information about activities and programs in the city, the audible alert was always going off. @WestonFLAlert was created for notifications of an urgent nature or those that will impact persons, property or travel.”

Barrett-Miller recommends residents follow both accounts, but set the audible alert feature on Twitter for the @WestonFLAlert account, as that information will be of an urgent nature. To date, the city has used @WestonFLAlert to put out notifications of accidents impacting traffic, storm alerts, fires or police activity in the area, and after June’s torrential rains to provide updates on flooding and steps and actions being taken within the city.

Launching the Twitter account for emergency notifications is just one of the many ways the City of Weston has prepared for hurricane season. “The landscaping department trimmed and thinned trees to make them more wind tolerant. Public works prepped and tested generators to run traffic signals should power go out. Police and fire prepped equipment for responses. The city also stocked supplies to feed and house emergency personnel, just as residents do,” explains Barrett-Miller. “As a storm approaches and people shutter up and go home, city staff go to work at our Category 5 storm tolerant Emergency Operations Center to ensure continuity of operations and readiness for emergency responses.”

The City of Weston urges all residents to be prepared this hurricane season, promoting the first 72 is up to you. Barrett-Miller says the message is simple but essential. “Public safety services such as police and fire may not be able to reach you immediately after a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient – able to live without running water, electricity and telephones – for at least three days following a disaster. This means stocking the proper supplies of food, water, flashlights or lanterns, disposable items, medications, pet supplies, and an alternate cooking source.”

To help residents prepare for hurricane season, each week the City of Weston provides tips in its weekly e-newsletter. Topics cover issues such as how to protect your home, insurance, documenting and securing valuables, pet safety, flooding, and driving safety. “All of this is to assist residents to safely survive a disaster and mitigate damage to their property,” adds Barrett-Miller.

To make sure you are aware of any emergency situations in the city, follow @WestonFLAlert on Twitter for real-time emergency alerts and sign up for CodeRED, a high-speed emergency notification system.

For more information on how to be #WestonReady go to www.WestonFL.org.