May 9, 2011

Joplin's Crisis Notes

For those of you who weren't able to attend the April meeting, here are some great notes about the discussion:

City of Joplin & MoDot Preparing for Snow Storm

  • News outlets calling asking for preparation plans, ride alongs with salt trucks and snow plows. 
  • Customer Service calls 
  • MoDot took 3,500 calls regarding the storm 
  • MoDot phone bank has 2 full time people answering and an additional 17 to pull from during snow fall season. 
  • City did internal communications to ensure all city workers had the correct information for if they got a call from someone. 
  • Joplin Mayor declared the city a disaster area and told citizens to stay off the roads so they could prepare and clear them 
  • Prepared talking points a week in advance.  
  • 400 linear miles of roads.  
  • City does not plow residential roads. Mall shut down for two days. Missouri Southern closed for a week.  
  • By that Wednesday citizens wanted out. 
  • Grated snow on the roads so cars could get around.  
  • The snow fell so hard and so fast that doing much prep work for the roads was tough. Smaller crews were pulled to work on I-44.  
  • Calls starting to take too long per call.  
  • Governor told MoDot to clear county roads. Their normal roads weren’t in good condition yet.  
  • Some issues can’t be touched on in a news release. 
  • Citizens needing food once their government checks were deposited, needed oxygen, doctors couldn’t get to the hospitals. 
  • Medical community was told the National Guard would be plowing their roads. But they ended up saying they couldn’t do it. 
  • City’s audience was stuck at home MoDot’s audience was out on the road. 
  • News releases started including roads that were cleared and citizens were to assume the rest were covered.  
  • MoDots social media was huge. 800 to 28,000 followers on facebook. Had conversations with facebook users. 
  • Users became advocates of MoDot for their response to the snow.  
  • MoDot’s community became Facebook and Twitter 
  • Oklahoma shut down I-44. They have concrete guard rails but had 8 ft snow drifts.  
  • Trucks were a big issue on the roads. Large trucking traffic. MoDot had to communicate with Springfield and other communities to help stop the truck traffic to Joplin.  
  • Media requests became large because of the truck traffic back ups.  
  • City published all the names of the maintenance and people answering the phones in the Joplin paper to thank them for their work.  
  • Mistake: Double commenting on facebook 
  • Mistake: Not keeping their cool on the phones.  
  • Mistake: Should have looked sooner for volunteers to shovel walks of people who really needed. 
  • PR is one on one relationships. PR is listening too.  
  • Quit being concerned about the media and cared more about the customers and public directly.


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