Emergency Notification Systems and Crisis Communication – Blog

Preparing the Initial Notification Before an Emergency

Juliet Hulse By Juliet Hulse

Safety preparation at your organization goes far beyond simply having an emergency notification system (ENS). You need to ensure that you’ve prepared your ENS for any crisis situation that might impact your organization. On top of that, each individual — whether it be your critical communications team, staff and employees, students, or visitors — must understand how and why they will be receiving alerts and what to do with the guidance they receive. Ensuring your staff and employees are confident in their knowledge and abilities is a key part of emergency preparation.

Every day we hear the common phrase “it’ll never happen to us”. That’s what every other organization said before something did happen to them. The truth is that none of us will ever know. You never know what type of situation it will be and where it will lead, but preparing for as many scenarios as possible before one occurs can save you time when it matters the most. We have to prepare for the worst.

Part of preparing your organization for an emergency is deciding what information you should give your people in the initial alert. Recently, there has been much discussion on when you should communicate with your people once an incident has started. Should you wait until you have all the details to disseminate a first warning or should you choose speed over more details? Common consensus suggests the first communication to your organization should go out immediately, whether you have all of the details or not. This initial notification is called a “Holding Message” and it provides your people with an authoritative voice which can dispel any unsubstantiated rumors which will begin propagating. Having a large population’s lives in your hands is a big responsibility. There can be no room for trepidation in your emergency response, so investing in preparedness with these types of holding messages can return the most positive outcomes in an emergency.  

To understand more about preparing your organization with holding messages, read the article from Campus Safety Magazine written by Omnilert’s Ara Bagdasarian.

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