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.
It’s a fact of life in 2017 that cyber threats are everywhere. We know that we need to set strong passwords on our email, encrypt connections to our banking, healthcare, wifi, and even lockdown our social media accounts.
So, why should your emergency notification system (ENS) be any different?
A breach of your email or social media could be embarrassing.
A breach of your bank account could be inconvenient and very costly.
A breach of your emergency notification system could be even worse. It could reduce confidence in real alerts or even put your community in real-world danger by causing a panic.
What can you do to help ensure that a hacker doesn’t compromise your ENS?
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.