Disasters Don’t Wait—Make Your Plan During National Preparedness Month

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September is National Preparedness Month

The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 has highlighted the need for organizations and their people to understand the importance of preparedness. While stories about active shooters and severe weather have dominated news cycles in the past and provided awareness for organizations that they need to have plans in place to address these types of situations, it is often the scenarios people think are least likely to occur that can have the most devastating impact. In the United States, September is observed as National Preparedness Month to promote disaster planning now and throughout the year. This year’s theme is: “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” Each week during the month of September organizations are encouraged to focus on a different preparedness topic. The four topics are:

  • Week 1 (Sept. 1-5): Make a Plan
  • Week 2 (Sept. 6-12): Build a Kit
  • Week 3 (Sept. 13-19): Prepare for Disasters
  • Week 4 (Sept. 20-26): Teach Youth About Preparedness

The goal is to educate people by communicating about preparedness plans and therefore minimize the impact a crisis situation may have. For more information and free resources, visit https://www.ready.gov/september.

Using Mass Notification for Preparedness Projects

Mass notification can be a helpful tool when your organization looks at bolstering its emergency preparedness. With mass notifications, organizations can build messages and groups that address a wide range of scenarios. Even if scenarios are not likely to occur, your organization can at the very least have an alert ready to go out at a moment’s notice. Mass notifications offer organizations the ability to enhance the speed and reach of their messages by connecting with devices and systems they already have in place to trigger and deliver messages. Messages can be sent as text and audio to IP phones, IP speakers, digital signage, desktop computers, mobile devices, and more. Messages can also be triggered via automated systems, physical or virtual panic buttons, using a web-based interface or app, as well as a number of other methods. The goal is to make it easy for people to get the word out and for the word to reach the right people quickly. The sooner people receive a message the sooner they can take action to stay safe.

In addition to helping organizations prepare for disaster events, mass notifications can also help them manage events in real-time. Following an alert distribution, key stakeholders can be invited to join a virtual collaboration space via tools like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams. This helps gather decision makers quickly who can assess a situation and determine the next steps to take. Administrators can also use mass notifications to check on the well being of people within their organization. Mass notifications can be sent asking recipients to respond to question. This can help administrators identify who is safe and who still needs assistance.

The threats that each organization faces are unique. It requires time and resources to sit down, assess, and develop plans that will keep people safe. Use this month to identify how you can improve your organization’s emergency preparedness and how a mass notification system may be able to help.

 

 

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