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Prepare for emerging threats in 2024: Strategies for enabling business continuity

Mass notification: Provide evacuation instructions in an emergency


Keeping people informed throughout an incident’s lifecycle is vital. In a crisis, a person who receives the latest information and understands the situation can respond accordingly. An organization that updates individuals in an emergency can provide important instructions that message recipients can use to stay safe.


With a mass notification system, an organization can keep affected individuals informed during a crisis – just consider how mass notifications might have impacted evacuations during the Washington Navy Yard shooting. On Sept. 16, 2013, a former Navy reservist killed 12 people in a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, a secure military facility located in the nation’s capital. According to several news outlets, fire alarms went off, and many people tried to leave the building. However, most of these people did not know about the active shooter in the building.


A mass notification system alerts individuals wherever they are. The system gives an organization the ability to send quick, accurate notifications via multiple contact paths, including emails, phone calls, and text messages. In addition, a mass notification system can improve crisis response by increasing the likelihood that individuals are able to stay informed in an active shooter emergency or other critical situations.


Many mass notification systems have different features, but an organization that uses a system with the following features can quickly bolster its crisis response and recovery efforts:


1. Confirmation of receipt – Sending a message is simply not enough – instead, an organization must have the necessary tools to confirm receipt of a notification. Deploy a mass notification system that sends messages via multiple contact paths until an individual confirms receipt of the notification. With a mass notification system that provides confirmation of receipt, an organization can protect affected individuals in a crisis and ensure they receive the latest updates.


2. Geo-intelligent tools – Provide individuals with relevant updates by sending location-based alerts. Geo-intelligent tools allow an organization to send targeted updates to affected individuals, and speed up crisis response.


3. Polling and quota notifications – Learn about a crisis in real-time with polling and quota notifications. An organization can send these alerts to get up-to-the-minute information and allocate its resources accordingly.


Communication failure is not an option in a crisis. A mass notification system, however, offers the ability to send word now to affected individuals quickly and efficiently. Incorporate a mass notification system into an organization’s emergency preparedness plan to deliver timely, accurate messages to individuals in a critical situation like an active shooter.

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