Publication Date

Fall 10-10-2014

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Public Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Edwards


social media, emergency management


In times of crises, emergency first responders need an effective system of communication to notify the public, to organize evacuation, and to direct evacuees to shelters and hospitals around the affected areas. This research focuses on the “Reverse 911” alert system used by Santa Clara County and asks key questions about its efficiency: ‘Is it the only alert system used to communicate with the public during crises?’ ‘Is it a reliable tool?’ ‘Should Santa Clara County improve its emergency communication?’ ‘Can we be sure the community is notified on time and well directed to safety?’

The legislative intent of Reverse 911 was to notify County residents whenever they are at risk, from disaster, emergencies and crime, and to advise them of appropriate protective measures. Hence, the research question is: Does the process used for operating the Santa Clara County Reverse 911 System achieve the goal of providing timely and effective emergency notification to all members of the community? If not, what changes could enhance its operation?