Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

7.6 Communication between Entities, to Evacuees, and the General Public

Each of the incidents involved communication between the entities and to the evacuees and the general public. The following is a summary of this information.

7.6.1 Entities

The main means of communication between entities is the use of radios, landlines, and cell phones. The initial information was generally received by either the fire department, police department, or 911. They, in turn, called others to inform them of the incident. Some entities also used satellite phones for communication purposes.

7.6.2 Evacuees and the General Public

For all of the evacuations, the main means of communicating to evacuees and the general public was through the local media, both radio and television. Some communities used Reverse 911®, if available.

Other methods included the police going door to door, the police driving through neighborhoods and using their public announcement system to broadcast the evacuation notice, and police media Web pages.

Media briefings occurred for all of the incidents with the use of a joint information center that allowed various entities to provide a unified voice for the incident.

One department of transportation provided regular briefings on updated traffic conditions, with commuter alerts to media organizations through fax or email. It also provided updated information to traffic news services, elected officials, and traffic bureaus and also posted the information on its own Web site. People could also call to find out about driving conditions and alternate routes. After hours, the department Web site was updated remotely to keep people informed of the situation.

February 6, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-014