independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Council urged to improve emergency communications

FINGAL COUNTY Council has been urged to improve its emergency communication systems, particularly for its elderly customers who may not have access to up to date information provided on the council website.

The call came from Cllr. Anthony Lavin (FG) and drew a detailed explanation of the protocols the local authority has in place to deal with communications in an emergency situation, like water shortages or interruptions in supply. The local authority said: 'Fingal County Council has in place a series of protocols and procedures for getting information out to the general public at times of unexpected disruption to council services like water supply problems, road and travel disruptions and extreme weather events. 'These procedures operate both during and outside of normal office hours and use a combination of traditional and electronic communication including emails, website updates, Aertel (page 624), Twitter updates, notification to the council's out-of-hours call centre (Voxpro), the Fire Service, Civil Defence, AA Roadwatch, An Gardai Siochana, elected representatives and local and national radio and television.' For members of the public without internet access, the council said they 'should be able to contact the council by telephone directly during office hours or via the council's out-of-hours call centre outside of these times'. Given past difficulties in getting all calls answered at extremely busy times, a dedicated message with up-to-date information can be added to the service to inform callers as they wait to get through, the council said. However, there was an acknowledgement that the system has room for improvement and both the Communications office and the Water Services and Operations Staff would welcome any suggested improvements.

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