Emergency notification message templates maximize the effect of your emergency preparedness plan.
Critical situations have no schedule. We do not know when they will arise or in what form. The world is unpredictable and at one point or another, there will be a need for emergency communications and alerts. You must be prepared with a plan you can implement quickly and with minimal chance of error. It is crucial to have a well-communicated plan in place should critical situations happen, with everyone involved educated and informed of the emergency communications plan ahead of time.
Communication and information are essential tools in getting people to safety and minimizing the effects of critical situations. The speed and accuracy of information are vital components in determining the effectiveness of communications. Crises like an unplanned outage, active shooter, or inclement weather all require the dissemination of accurate information at a moment’s notice. The success of your emergency response depends heavily on your preparation. If you have planned correctly, the execution of your response will be quick with minimal chance for error.
Pre-planning Your Communications
When it comes to emergency preparedness, knowing what you are going to say is absolutely essential. When crises arise, you don’t have the time to stop and write out a message to send to your organization. These messages need to be planned ahead of time. Doing so will provide you with two primary benefits. You will save time during a crisis, getting information out quicker and easier, allowing you to move on other responsibilities. Second, the preparation allows the messages to be crafted and evaluated for maximum readability and immediate comprehension.
With today’s technology, there are a variety of ways to send out emergency alert messages. One of the primary ways is through text and email. Text and email are ubiquitous forms of communication that are a regular part of our everyday lives. We have been trained as a culture to get in the habit of checking text and email, no matter where we are or what time it is. Businesses center around these forms of communication. They are the lifeblood of corporate communication. The daily presence of text and email in our lives, our inbox checking habits, and device compatibility make these forms of communication key tools in disseminating information during a crisis.
So, how do we integrate these communication principles into our emergency communication plan? The best tactic is pre-planned message templates. Emergency notification scripts written into templates provide a way to send perfectly crafted messages to the masses instantaneously. These templates can be as diverse as the potential crises that could arise within your organization. For example, using a bad weather template enables you to send out the closure of your building or other helpful information during inclement weather.
Creating Your Alert Messages
For the first step, we recommend writing a general emergency alert message template. A general message, crafted ahead of time, provides coverage for most situations, including those you do not anticipate. Through our emergency communications experience and partnering with many types of different organizations, we’ve developed a set of successful emergency notification templates. Use our template below to get started in creating your own general emergency message template.
There are four key components when writing an emergency notification message template. Each component is included to increase the effectiveness of the information in directing your organization to safety as quickly and easily as possible.
1. Short and to the point - in as few words as possible, get the crucial information to the forefront. An individual should know exactly what to do within seconds of receiving and reading the notification. Use direct words that are simple to understand, non-panic inducing (ex. ‘lockdown’) and clearly initiate instructions that have already been discussed in the plan education and training phases.
2. Be specific in directions, but generic in information - When a critical situation arises, you won’t always have all of the information on hand. In fact, some of the information you do have may also be inaccurate. Your first response message needs to direct your organization to safety without potentially confusing things with additional details.
3. Timestamp - this simple automated tool carries a lot of weight when informing others about a critical situation. The timestamp confirms is real-time and happening now to those who see it immediately and that this information may be outdated to those who are seeing the message at a later time. Knowing which information is the most up to date helps prevent confusion in the implementation of your emergency communications plan.
4. Link to an emergency information hub - Your organization should have a website or online page that anyone can check at any given time to see the latest updates during a critical situation or emergency. This hub should be easily accessible and editable by those in charge of safety. Everyone in the organization should also already know to use this hub and how to find it. This helps those within your organization know they are looking at the most up to date information and know everything that they need to know at any given time.
Our set of emergency message templates can provide coverage for a variety of issues. As mentioned above, once in place, you can use these emergency alert message templates to build specific messages if necessary to further increase the effectiveness of your emergency communications plan. As you begin to create other templates, keep in mind the four key components above to keep communication clear and to minimize confusion.
As a final step, create an ‘All Clear’ message that will update everyone that the critical situation is over and that they may resume normal activities.
With this information, you are now ready to create effective emergency notification templates to further ensure the safety of your organization should situations arise. It’s impossible to predict the future, but you can at least be prepared for it.