Develop An Alerting Workflow Using Mass Notification

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Develop Your Alerting Workflow

A mass notification system is an effective way for organizations to reach large populations in a short amount of time. It takes careful planning to set up a system in a way that makes it easy to trigger alerts and ensure those alerts reach everyone that needs the information. However, many organizations do not take the extra step to think about what to do once an alert gets sent out. Acquiring and setting up a mass notification tool is simply a box they need to check, and not much thought is given as to how this same tool can also be used to help manage situations.

Following an alert, people need to know what to do, how your organization is responding, and when operations will return to normal. In this blog post, we’ll outline a potential alerting workflow organizations can use to help manage situations after a mass notification has been triggered.

Triggering a Mass Notification

The alerting process begins with someone identifying a situation that may put others at risk. This may be someone entering a building with a weapon, seeing smoke, witnessing a chemical spill, or monitoring a forecast for severe weather. Each of these events may require different methods for alerting people, but an organization has a duty of care to fulfill that should make it as easy as possible for people to notify others about potential dangers. Panic buttons, fire alarms, speed dials, mobile apps, or keyboard shortcuts can all make it easy for someone to initiate an alert that helps keep people safe.

Notifying the Right People

When a notification is triggered, it needs to reach the right people. For many situations, it is prudent to alert everyone in your organization using as many devices and message formats as possible. This can include live or recorded audio sent to IP phones, IP speakers and desktop computers. It can also include text sent to mobile phones, web-based collaboration tools, digital signage, desktop computers, and desk phones. By reaching mobile and on-premises devices with audio and text you make it much less likely that someone misses a mass notification.

Build a mass notification ecosystem

However, there may be certain instances when you only want to notify a certain group who can then make the determination on what the next steps should be. With a mass notification system, you can build groups and configure certain triggers to only reach people in those groups with a message. For example, you may want to only notify security team members about an event. They can be alerted and respond to a situation without causing unnecessary fear or worry throughout the rest of your organization.

Collaborating on a Response

Regardless of whether you alert your entire organization or a select group, once people are notified, you need to respond and, in some cases, provide assistance. The right mass notification system can help you bring key people together to manage an incident. When a notification is delivered, certain recipients can receive an invitation to join a conference call or a collaboration channel (like those used in Microsoft Teams) to begin working on a response. This helps organizations save time because they can preselect these groups for certain situations, meaning less time is spent understanding what is happening, and more time can be sent helping people following an incident.

Following Up and Resolving a Situation

After a notification goes out, people in your organization will need to be updated as to what is happening and what steps they should take to stay safe. Mass notification systems give organizations the ability to build text and audio messages in real-time to provide relevant information that lets people know what has happened, where people should go, and what they should do. It can also be used to help operations return to normal. In the event of severe weather, it can be used to communicate closings, delays, and reopenings. For a violent event, it can be used to let people know that a lockdown has ended, or a suspect has been apprehended. Mass notification systems offer the flexibility to deploy the system in a way that works best for your organization.

Testing and Training

This is a basic overview of how organizations can leverage mass notifications and manage situations. For this plan to be deployed successfully requires organizations to train their members and test their system regularly. Members need to understand what the system is, how messages are triggered and how those messages will be delivered. They also need to know how they can ask for assistance should a mass notification go out and they find themselves in danger. The system should also be tested regularly to ensure all triggers and recipients are working as intended. This can be done during off-hours, or organizations can find regular uses for their system through daily announcements that provide a low-key way of testing the system.

Learn how regular testing ensures effectiveness

 

 

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