"With hurricane season in full swing, cities and counties across the nation, especially those with histories of finding themselves in hurricanes' paths, are preparing. They are preparing public notification plans, stockpiling resources, and revisiting Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP). For some jurisdictions, 311 nonemergency systems have become a key component of their emergency planning. Whereas 311 systems traditionally have been used to report incidents where the immediate presence of a police officer is not required, such as crimes no longer in-progress or quality-of-life problems,2 311 systems are increasingly being used to support emergency operations.3 For example, during emergencies, callers can dial 311 (in jurisdictions that have established 311 systems) to receive up-to-date information on road and building closures, evacuation routes, and shelter locations. By diverting nonemergency calls from busy 911 systems before, during, and after emergencies, 311 systems help ensure that first responders remain available to respond to situations that are immediately life-threatening."
Department of Justice: http://www.usdoj.gov/
Community Policing Dispatch (August 2009), v.8 no.2