Four Alerts to Get Started with Your Mass Notification System


Get Started with Mass Notification

When you decide to implement a new software tool, it can be difficult to know where to begin, especially when it comes to safety. Organizations face innumerable threats that can impact the wellbeing of their people and interrupt ongoing operations. If you’re working with a mass notification system, how do you know which messages and groups to build first? How do you prioritize implementing certain features before others?

While every organization is different, there are certain scenarios and features that can be set up quickly to provide assistance with your safety and communication needs. With the basics in place, you can then build out a more robust and sophisticated system to cover all of your alerting needs. In this blog post, we’ll help get you started by going over four recommended alerts every organization should set up when beginning to use their mass notification software.

Panic Buttons

One of the key components of setting up your mass notification system is determining how messages will be triggered. Panic buttons offer a quick and easy way to activate alerts. With the right mass notification system, this won’t even require additional hardware. Certain systems will be able to integrate with existing physical panic buttons while also offering options for virtual solutions. Panic buttons configured on desk phones and desktop computer shortcuts can be used to add value to existing technology that is already in place. This makes it convenient for people to activate and can also give them the ability to alert an organization and quickly remove themselves from a potentially dangerous situation.

Learn about the 5 types of panic buttons

As you are getting started the message that gets sent may be relatively simple, such as “Assistance Requested.” As you develop your mass notification plan, this can become more intricate with specific messages tied to different buttons, and specific groups being alerted and asked to respond, instead of an entire building or campus.

Active Shooter

An active shooter situation can have a devastating impact on any organization, which is why it’s so important that this is one of the first alerts you set up with your mass notification system. If you start with panic buttons, the message attached to them can be exclusively for active shooter situations. Confusion and panic are often two side effects of an active shooter situation, setting up alerts that reach throughout your building with audio, text, and visual displays can help cut down on both. By informing everyone of what’s happening you can provide an authoritative message that lets people know the situation is being addressed and they should seek safety.

Set up simple and effective active shooter alerts

It’s important to keep in mind that training is also critical when it comes to developing effective active shooter response strategies. Having a mass notification go out won’t do much good if no one knows what to do once they’ve received it.

911 Alerts

If emergencies happen in your organization, you want the right people to know about it. Configuring 911 alerts can let you know when someone dials 911 in your building or campus. Using the right mass notification software, when an alert goes out, it will also include the name of the phone that dialed it. This can help people onsite provide more immediate assistance and help them direct first responders with better accuracy when they arrive. All of this can help save time which, in the event of a medical or life-threatening emergency, has the potential to save lives. Certain systems will also automatically record the call after it is completed. Administrators can then review it and assess how the situation was managed once people were made aware 911 was called.

This is not a standard feature for most mass notification systems, so be sure to carefully review available features when considering different solutions.

Severe Weather

No matter the organization, regardless of where it is located, severe weather can cause unwanted disruptions and dangerous situations. Extreme heat and cold, blizzards, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes can upend schedules, cause closings, and halt ongoing work. However, with enough lead time you can minimize these disruptions and get things back up and running more quickly.

Download our Natural Disaster Guide

Configure your mass notification system to monitor CAP alerts from the National Weather Service to receive messages about approaching severe weather. Set up specific keywords for types of weather you are likely to encounter and your geographic area. When severe weather approaches, the keywords will trigger a message tied to your mass notification system. This can go to a select group of decision-makers who will determine the best course of action, or to your entire organization. Different types of weather may require different responses, as will the amount of lead time you have to prepare and respond. Understand how you can best keep people safe and plan your notifications with instructions to help facilitate that goal.

Expanding Your Mass Notification Plan

These are just the basics when starting to utilize your mass notification system. You should be able to get these up and running relatively quickly to start seeing a return on investment in the system. Once these are in place, you can begin to look a expanding your use cases and integrations to provide additional assistance with alerting and responding to emergency events.

Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams can be used to gather stake holders that can manage the situation. Additional alerting tools like desktop computers, mobile devices, and overhead speakers can be leveraged for audio and visual notifications. Internet of Things integrations can be configured to lock doors and shut down critical systems. The possibilities are truly endless if you have the right system to offer the flexibility you need to maximize the effectiveness of your alerts




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