The Fall Semester is underway and the buzz of back-to-school around campus has calmed down a little bit. Students and staff are more comfortable and familiar with their schedules and the campus layout. You and your Crisis Communications Team have reviewed your emergency communication plan - as well as held tests and exercises with the entire campus - and feel confident about your emergency plan. However, practicing and revisiting your emergency plan in alignment with your emergency notification system gives you the opportunity to see what tweaks or revisions you should make to your plans.
Immediately initiating your organization’s emergency response plans’ predefined series of notifications is essential in getting people to safety and minimizing the impacts of emergency situations. The reliability, speed, and accuracy of information are vital components in determining the effectiveness of emergency response. Crises like an unplanned outage, active shooter, or inclement weather all require the dissemination of accurate information at a moment’s notice.
Within the last several months, we’ve seen a number of news stories related to organizations of all different types sending out emergency alerts to their constituents that they didn’t mean to send. This has increased as more active shooter scenarios have made it into media headlines. In an effort to prepare, check, or even test emergency notification systems, organizations are accidentally sending out emergency alerts that are not identified as a drill or test. This might be a flaw with the organization itself or it may be a flaw with the emergency notification system the organization employs.
If the first major hurricane of the season caught your business by surprise, you need to act quickly to remedy the situation for future storms. Hurricanes are not spur of the moment “pop-up” storms. Thanks to innovations in technology over the past 50 years, we are able to estimate when a hurricane will hit land, the strength of the storm, and the direction of its path. Of all of the recognized crises, hazards, and exposures your business can face – hurricanes have the most advanced warning. Having this knowledge gives you time to better prepare your people, your home, and your business.
Safety isn’t simply a state of being. Safety is a way of life and a goal that each of us strives to reach - for ourselves, our families, and our employees or staff. All organizations have a responsibility to be prepared for any emergency scenarios that could impact their people or property.
As we discussed last month, the goal of any critical communication plan is to reach as many members of your community as possible with most organizations still emphasizing communication methods like text messaging or email. Reaching your audience directly is usually perceived as the most effective form of communication. The biggest barrier to effective direct communication is the collection and maintenance of personal contact information.