insight

Between Harvey, Irma, and Maria, this year’s hurricane season has again demonstrated the havoc that extreme weather can wreak on a city... A surprising benefit to local governments has been the use of their 311 systems.

Between Harvey, Irma, and Maria, this year’s hurricane season has again demonstrated the havoc that extreme weather can wreak on a city. Now more than ever, cities large and small are being confronted with the herculean operational effort required to weather a major storm and then begin the recovery process. A surprising benefit to local governments has been the use of their 311 systems – traditionally used for non-emergency citizen services via phone, web, and mobile apps – to support disaster preparation, response, and recovery efforts.

The success of a city’s response to a natural disaster depends on three key capabilities:

If this sounds a lot like what a 311 system does, that’s because it is. On a day-to-day basis, 311 acts as a nerve center for a city, taking in information across all major functions of a city, coordinating the city’s responses across multiple agencies, and often analyzing emerging trends to maintain real time situational awareness. 311 systems also establish a technology platform for cross-city coordination that has become familiar to city officials and frontline staff alike – ideal for use in an emergency.

As such, 311 systems can serve as a release valve for the 911 system, while also providing citizens with additional channels for information, leaders with increased situational awareness, and agencies with a familiar mechanism for deploying their teams to support residents.

The 311 advantage in crises isn’t just theoretical. Here are just a few of the real-life stories of how 311 can be effectively deployed during a crisis situation:

It’s not surprising that the cities that are most responsive on a regular day are most prepared to be responsive during a crisis. The ingredients that are vital in a crisis – communication, coordination, and data-driven decision making – are hallmarks of good government generally, and increasingly they are being achieved in cities through 311.

About Incapsulate

Incapsulate is a leading provider of Salesforce-based 311 solutions, with solutions in cities across North America. To learn more about how Incapsulate can help with your 311 needs, please contact:

Dilshad Albert | dalbert@incapsulate.com

Steve Carter | scarter@incapsulate.com

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