As Hurricane Sandy continues to threaten communities along the East Coast with an expected landfall tonight near southern New Jersey, public sector institutions are rushing to prepare their communities. Sandy is a dangerous storm of potentially-historic proportions with expected storm surges, river flooding, and high winds impacting the most densely-populated coastal region in the country.

A key component of a crisis response strategy is communication – and that’s why it’s no surprise that, yesterday alone, Blackboard Connect clients sent over 6 million Sandy-related messages.

Here are some examples of institutions that have sent timely alerts:

  • K-12 school districts from North Carolina to Massachusetts have used Blackboard Connect to cancel school today and tomorrow. Trick-or-treat or other Halloween activities are also being cancelled or postponed.
  • Monmouth University in New Jersey cancelled classes today and tomorrow, and promised students that updates would be provided via Blackboard Connect.
  • North Shore Alerts, a regional consortium serving multiple municipalities on Long Island, have issued a number of alerts over the weekend to prepare residents for Sandy, and urged residents to register their contact information with Blackboard Connect.
  • Queen Anne’s County, Md., also recommended that residents register for Connect messages, and reminded them of the system’s utility in a recent closure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

For K-12 school districts, colleges and universities, local municipalities and counties, and private companies, Blackboard Connect helps organizations prepare for nature’s worst.  With a decade of experience delivering critical messages, including during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike, we’ve developed a strong set of best practices for communicating in hurricanes.

Last week as the storm menaced, we shared those best practices with clients in the impacted area. But you don’t have to be a Connect customer to benefit from this knowledge.  In fact, you can download the Blackboard Connect Hurricane Playbook today and put its advice into practice with in advance of Sandy’s landfall.

Another pro tip for Blackboard Connect users: if you’ve evacuated to a safe location, and need to send messages fast, our smartphone apps for message senders make it easy to get an alert out fast. Download the Android app or the iOS app today.


Update: Bb Connect sent another 6 million messages on Monday, Oct 29 – bringing the Sandy-related total to 12 million so far.

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