Key Tips for Mass Notification Systems

Originally published in the November 2014 issue of College Planning & Management Magazine.

Download a PDF of the article here.

BY MICHAEL ZUIDEMA

Judging by a recent study that projected the mass notification market to be worth more than $6.4 billion by 2018, the demand for advanced emergency communication systems isn’t waning anytime soon.

Purchasing a security system with mass notification capabilities is easy. Crafting the proper strategy to disseminate messages in an effective and efficient manner requires a little more thought and planning.

By answering these four questions, you can take the proper steps toward effectively deploying all of the tools at your disposal.

How is the message crafted?
First, note the distinctions between alert (grabs your attention during an emergency) and warning (provides essential information for an appropriate response) messages. Alerts, therefore, should urgently disrupt the mundane nature of everyday life, whether that is audible or visual, with follow-up warnings providing safe guidance.

How is the message delivered?
Pushing out messages across multiple platforms – text, email, social media, public address speakers, blue light phones, desktop alerts, digital signs, etc. – increases the odds of reaching the largest possible audience and ensuring your alert has been received.

What are the roles of your team?
Any number of departments may want to claim responsibility – administration, facilities manager, IT, security, public relations, etc. – but establishing clearly defined roles is critical when an incident occurs and seconds are crucial. Iron out these important details before it’s too late.

Who receives the message?
Your audience is larger than just students and staff. It includes the surrounding community and first responders, who will need updates and notifications about potentially dangerous situations as well.

Michael Zuidema is the Communications Manager for Code Blue Corporation.  

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