Recall an emergency response team
Your emergency response team is your first, and sometimes only, line of defense. With a mass notification system, you can send emergency alerts to this team to get immediate support. But during an emergency, how will you notify team members with the appropriate skills to respond?
Notifying the right team members to provide support during a blizzard, power failure, or any other critical event can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to set up groups within your mass notification system. Instead, you might simply “blast out” a message to large groups of people, only some of whom will actually be able to help. The key is to get the right information to the right people at the right time, every time. When you notify your emergency response team about an incident, you must create a message that will get the team members with the appropriate skills involved.
For example, Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization comprised of military veterans and first responders, uses Everbridge to send targeted requests to volunteers based on location and area of expertise, track responses, and quickly kick off relief efforts. By doing so, Team Rubicon gets the right people involved when a disaster strikes, and can accelerate its relief efforts.
Team Rubicon recently used Everbridge during Operation: Honest Abe, which was launched to assist roughly 400 homeowners impacted by tornadoes in the Midwest. For Operation: Honest Abe, Team Rubicon sent mass notifications to alert volunteers within a 250-mile radius of affected areas. More than 100 volunteers responded to these messages, sent through email and SMS. To date, these volunteers have given more than 7,000 hours of service in response to the crisis.
In this case, we have moved from notification 1.0, which is a general blast of information such as, “You are needed,” and are now going to a more sophisticated polling function to gain immediate situational awareness.
How can you recall your emergency response team with a mass notification system? By fine tuning your messages, of course. Just consider the following factors to ensure your emergency response team gets the information it needs every time:
Templates: I would consider most team recalls to be messages that will be used over and over. As such, templates can make it easier to send these messages to the right audiences quickly and efficiently.
Active response: Team recall messages are best done with an active response so the message sender can quickly see who is responding, and just as important, when they are responding. Consider the following template for your overall team recall process:
Message: The (name of team) team is being recalled and reporting to (location), please indicate your availability by selecting one of the following options:
Press 1 if you can arrive in 10 minutes or less
Press 2 if you can arrive in 30 minutes or less
Press 3 if you will arrive between 30 and 60 minutes
Press 4 if you cannot respond
In this way, your response groups are sorted into easy follow-up messages, allowing you to provide additional information to those who arrive immediately, versus potentially different next steps for those who arrive later.
A mass notification system can help your organization send targeted messages when they matter most. Use this system to quickly recall your emergency response team during a critical event.
Want to learn more about how Team Rubicon manages communication and staffing during an emergency? Sign up for the upcoming Everbridge webinar here.