This is really more than automating just emergency notifications. It is about thinking holistically about what happens when there is an incident and what communications actions occur during that first and most important minute. Notifications are certainly one type of communications action, however so are mobilizing resources and collaborating with your emergency response team. It is about automating a sequence of actions.
Here are a few points to consider to move to an automated, scenario-based approach:
1. Remove human error
Even the best prepared crisis communications plans can be compromised by emotional and visceral factors. There could be no worse time to figure out what information needs to go to which people while under duress. There are countless stories of organizations sending out incomplete information to incorrect people, forgetting to Tweet to inform the public, update their website, or mistyping notifications. This can be avoided by pre-scripting each communication action in advance, while under a more pleasant environment.
We are human which means we are influenced by stress, emotions, and hormones.
Learn how the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine automates emergency notification and response by downloading the case study.
2. Reduce Time To Initiate (TTI)
We all know that every second counts in an emergency response. Note that we do not use the term “time to notify”, because notifications are just not enough. How quickly can you also mobilize resources that are required to carry out your emergency response? This can be requesting support from local law enforcement or emergency medical assistance. How quickly can you collaborate with your emergency response team? Establishing a distributed unified command as part of the first set of automated actions provides platform to make informed decisions on next steps.
Remember, it is about the time to initiate notification, mobilization, and collaboration.
3. Increase Accuracy
It is critical to communicate with accurate information to the correct people. The Executive Team may require different information from the Emergency Response Team, employees, or even the public. If each first set of messages are well-thought through, crafted to provide actionable information, and provide a statement of awareness to a broader audience, the recipients will have a clearer foundation for the remainder of the incident.
Don’t wait until the incident occurs to determine what to say to which audience.
4. Map Crisis Communications Plan
Your Crisis Communications Plan (CCP) can be mapped to specific scenarios, so a set of actions can be automatically executed with one initiation point. Mapping the first set of actions to a Scenario adds exponential value to the Plan. Now, let’s take this one step further. You can send the specific procedure from your CCP directly to recipient's mobile device. This provides actionable information and instantly puts the entire population on the same page.
Distribute the precise page of your Crisis Communications Plan binder to your team the second an incident occurs.
5. Autonomous Automation
Today, it is possible to establish autonomous mechanisms to trigger an automated set of actions in a scenario. Autonomous triggers can be configured to initiate a predefined set of actions in a scenario. For example, a trigger can automatically launch a scenario if there is an IT-related issue, if a sensor detects an issue, or if an alarm is set off.
Triggers can reduce the Time to Initiate an automated series of actions to milliseconds.
Evolving from simple text, email, and voice notifications into a more sophisticated automated, scenario-based approach increases the chances of a successful outcome in the worse of situations.