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Four reasons to invest in emergency notification software

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

Everyday it seems like new threats rear their heads exposing the vulnerabilities of enterprise organisations. Whether it’s severe weather, unwelcome intruders, or active shooters, disasters can happen at anytime, in almost any environment. Any enterprise relies on its people to be successful, so protecting them should be any organisation’s number one priority. As technology continues to evolve, there are more options than ever for safety tools. Emergency notification software in particular provides versatile options for organisations looking to reach large numbers of people with critical information.

With the ability to send alerts for a variety of events, deliver messages in a variety of formats, and leverage multiple device types, organisations need to be looking at how their existing enterprise communication plans can benefit from an investment in emergency notification software.

Fulfilling duty of care

While door locks and security cameras may seem like sufficient measures to protect employees and visitors, organisations need to do much more to fulfil their duty of care.

According to OSHA, “…employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is ‘free from recognised hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm.’”

This is the basic requirement for fulfilling duty of care. It means being proactive to keep people out of harm’s way. It’s important for organisations to assess what measures are currently in place and what gaps need to be filled. Without the proper preparations, organisations are putting themselves and their people at risk, resulting in injuries, loss of life and potential lawsuits. Implementing new procedures and running drills for how people are alerted of a potential incident and how they should respond can go a long way toward fulfilling the duty of care.

An emergency notification system can help organisations refine those procedures, conduct drills and ultimately serve a central hub for all mass messaging needs.

Connect everything

One of the first things to look for when investing in an emergency notification solution, is a tool that can connect disparate systems and devices. This connectivity makes it easier to manage and send emergency alerts. It also has the added benefit of minimising the need to invest in additional technologies. Truly robust software can connect to devices enterprise organisations already have in place like desk phones, computers, digital displays and more. This enhances the usefulness of these devices, and gives organisations more ways to get important messages in front of people. The more ways a message can be delivered, the less likely it is that that message will be ignored or missed.

When an organisation needs to reach everyone it needs to utilise every method available to ensure it is covering its duty of care. When an organisation needs to rely on multiple systems they hinder themselves by increasing the amount of time it will take to get that message out. The more centralised and streamlined that process can become, the better chance an organisation has of reaching everyone it intends to.

With large enterprises, people may be scattered over a large campus, or working remotely, that’s why software that can also connect to mobile devices is another critical factor. Being able to send a message as an SMS text message, push notification, or email to a mobile device opens up the possibilities of what an organisation can achieve when it comes to emergency notification. Software that gives recipients the ability to respond to those messages to say they are safe or need assistance helps enterprise organisations better manage emergency events and mitigates risks. Combining the ability to reach on-premises and mobile devices creates a rich notification ecosystem to ensure no one misses a message.

Organisations need to be prepared for a wide variety of situations and having emergency notification software that is flexible enough to respond to any crisis.

Prepare for every situation

As mentioned above, many enterprise organisations feel they have sufficient means to respond to emergency scenarios. However, those plans often vary wildly and involve different groups of peoples, and leveraging different tools. This can lead to confusion and delays when trying to execute a response because people are using the wrong procedures or tools. A unifying software solution can eliminate these hindrances and provide an opportunity to create easy to deploy plans for emergency response.

The challenge comes in identifying the scenarios an organisation is most likely to encounter and then setting up the software to send pre-built messages to pre-defined groups. This requires a fair amount of heavy lifting on the front end from the organisation to determine what those situations are, what content needs to included in the messages about the situation, and who needs to be notified that the situation is taking place. Consider various severe weather situations, intruder alerts, lockdown scenarios and more. Every situation can be considered and planned for with the right system. Once these determinations are made though, the right software solution will allow organisations to simply press a button to reach all people and devices they need to ensure everyone is aware of an emergency.

Everyday applications

In addition to emergency notifications, this type of software can also be used to help an enterprise communicate daily or more mundane announcements. If the software includes a flexible user interface for customised messages, then those messages can be built for a variety of purposes. In an enterprise environment, this may be as simple as telling people there are donuts in the break room, or letting people know a planned IT outage is coming.

Finding day-to-day uses for emergency notification software, whether it be regular announcements or conducting drills, has the added benefit ensuring the right messages are being sent to the right people and devices. It also gets people familiar with the system so they are comfortable sending messages, and those on the other end recognise the messages when received. That way, should an emergency occur, organisations have the confidence knowing the system they have configured works properly.

Pat Scheckel, VP of Product Management, Singlewire Software
Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa

Pat Scheckel is VP of Product Management for Singlewire Software. He oversees development of the company’s emergency notification software used in enterprise settings around the world to keep people safe.