Emergency mass communication technology is no longer just about a safety professional sending a bulk text message during a critical event. While that’s still a helpful response to some emergencies, it’s not reflective of how organizations actually manage an event from beginning to end.
Today, emergency notification systems help you better monitor for events before they occur, while equipping you to more strategically manage events to a desired resolution. Organizations of all sizes improve outcomes during emergencies by leveraging these five must-have features as part of their emergency communication process.
Dedicated event pages
You send notifications in response to an event – an office closure, inclement weather, systems outage, or any other event you need to communicate to your people. Instead of sending multiple notifications to your entire audience as an event unfolds, newer technology allows you to send one notification with a link to an event page. With the event page, you can post updates, answer questions, and upload valuable continuity information (such as photos and video) as the event transpires. Instead of risking notification fatigue by sending every update to your entire audience, individual audience members can elect to proactively visit the event page and learn about the current status of an event. Upon resolution, the event page offers an archive of your event response, which can be used to improve how your team reacts during events.
Audience feedback options
Your people need a voice. Frontline information can help you navigate emergencies and improve people’s safety. To keep you coordinated with the team, modern mass notification systems give you a variety of audience feedback tools: read confirmations, surveys, conference call options, message replies, an emergency number for incoming text and voice messages, and the ability to call for help with a shared location. During some events, you’ll want to simply send out a notification with important information, but during other events, you’ll achieve better outcomes by ensuring message receipt, getting answers to important questions, and listening to the insights and needs of your people.
Emergency communications typically involve instructions, like what to do in the event of a fire, or how to respond during an office shutdown. When you’re in the middle of an event, you can use your communication system as a repository of continuity resources. As you engage with your audience, keeping them informed of critical updates, that audience can access those resources designed to improve how they respond during the emergency. Resources can include photos, videos, documents, check-lists, or complete business continuity guides. You should be able to attach your resources to specific events, or direct your audience to them via emergency messages.
Layered map views
We live and work in connected, complex environments, and emergency mass notification systems now provide us a visual interpretation of our people, locations, and assets in relation to external sources. Online maps within your communication system should show you everything you need to guide your company around and through emergencies. By layering your people, office locations, and internal communications over reliable data sources like weather radar and news events, you can anticipate threats and react quickly to protect your people and business. A picture can be worth a thousand words, and a visual proximity to danger on a map helps response times.
Professional, human-powered monitoring
Not all software is delivered equal. The best mass notification software integrates human-powered monitoring, so your organization can stay ahead of threats to your people and disruptions to your business. Because organizations need to communicate during an event, you can now depend on trained professionals to keep an eye on what matters most: your people, your locations, and your business assets. Use monitoring to see your people on a map through convenient mobile apps and allow them to signal for help when needed. Watch for types and severities of threats within a certain radius of your office locations, so you’ll be able to communicate before the threat actually hits. Work with a team of monitoring professionals who will listen for business-related triggers that need a swift communication and reaction process.
The emergency communication landscape continues to evolve, improving how we monitor, communicate, and resolve events. It’s an ongoing evolution with a strong wind at its back because we can always get better at mitigating loss during an emergency. And with the fast-changing technology in the hands of our workforce, we can find new ways to keep our people safe while under our supervision and care.
About the Author: Brett Andrew is Chief Revenue Officer at emergency communication software company AlertMedia. He can be reached at email@example.com.