Strategic Framework for Utility Public Safety Decision Making

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Utility Public Safety Alliance’s Annual Meeting. The presentation included a discussion of the Pyramid of Prevention introduced in my last post. The Pyramid of Prevention concept and how you use it to develop a public safety outreach program sparked a lot of interest.

Based on this response, I thought it made sense to elaborate on our prevention-based approach by introducing the Strategic Framework for Decision Making, which is a critical tool that helps utilities move their public safety outreach programs “up the pyramid.” The goal of the decision-making framework is for as many activities or components of your public safety plan as possible to land in the effective and efficient area of the quadrant, in the upper left hand corner.

This Framework helps Public Safety Managers deal effectively with various audiences who have different issues, i.e. excavators vs. first responders vs. schools. It is important to use touches productively and appropriately for each audience we want to reach. During the planning process, we help managers identify program elements that produce quality touches in the effective and efficient quadrant.

To help illustrate how to use the Strategic Framework for Decision Making, I have plotted four different types of outreach for one audience, first responders, in the graphic below:

1.    In-Person Presentations
2.    Bill Inserts
3.    Websites
4.    Segmented programs with audience-specific messaging

First responders actively seek out safety training and respond favorably to “train the trainer” programs. For most utilities, first responders represent a relatively small population when compared to other customer groups. Consequently, fewer touches are needed to reach them and have an impact. On the other hand, excavators are a more diverse population and require more frequent touches, as well as more segmented messaging, to have a similar effect.

When designing a public safety program, consider the size, diversity, and interests of your population to determine which type of outreach will deliver high impact, relevant messaging. This is the first step in moving up the framework’s vertical axis as well as the Pyramid of Prevention.

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