Integrating your emergency notifications with any and every communication channel possible is paramount. Digital signage is a common technology found on college and corporate campuses, and should be utilized during emergencies to not only be sure those already registered to receive text messages and emails are informed, but to also inform all visitors and those who are not registered.
As humans, it is common for us to get set in our ways. Change is never perceived as easy, and as Stan Goldberg said in Psychology Today, “being is easier than becoming”. But in the overlap of technology advancements with organizational safety initiatives, the obligation to move forward to provide better ways to save lives and keep our people informed during an emergency is alive and well. Although we can be resistant at times, we must make continuous changes to stay with the times and improve.
Many of us can think back to our first semester at college. On move-in day, we met the Residential Assistant in our dorm, walked the path to each class we were to attend, and made sure we could locate the mess hall. We did all of those things to reduce the stress and anxiety we knew we would already be facing on our first day of classes after moving away from home and knowing practically no one. We prepared for all the things we would anticipate going wrong.
Yesterday marked the ten year anniversary of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Over the course of these last few weeks our hearts were heavy as the anniversary crept closer and closer. Today, and all days going forward, we remember those lost and the families impacted.
Though a terrible tragedy, what happened at Virginia Tech was fuel for hundreds of higher education institutions (and even non-higher education institutions) to improve how they protect and notify their people.
Due to the diverse roles that make up the population at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and locations alike, critical communications and emergency notifications take many forms. UNMC’s Safety Manager, John Hauser, has to ensure everyone on campus and hospital grounds is notified immediately when a crisis or something out of the ordinary occurs.
With the diverse population of employees, students, patients, and visitors, there is much to consider. Each of these groups may receive different information according to their role, receive information via different methods or channels according to their role, or even both -- all according to the severity and specifics of the incident. John Hauser, along with any other Safety Manager, has his hands full.
Information can save lives. And when it matters most-- the sooner the information is dispersed the better. Once an emergency or critical situation has been confirmed, the first step towards a successful outcome is to initiate a message to your population of employees, students, and even visitors immediately - via all communication methods possible.