If the key to success is the timely and seamless delivery of information, it follows that a system is able to handle massive amounts of communication. No matter what happens, a good emergency notification system has the capacity to accommodate all the contacts and messages in order to resolve a crisis as quickly as possible.
This ensures user safety, no matter their location. Scale is especially an issue when employees are scattered, working across different facilities or remotely. A good mass notification system is not just far-reaching but omni-reaching. In addition to protecting employees on the inside, it may be necessary to quickly inform people on the outside—families, local government officials, and any others in the immediate vicinity.
Organizations ought to be enabled to rapidly disseminate information where they see fit because an information vacuum will always be filled. And, in the event of an emergency, it’s easy for people to take to Twitter, posting misinformation and speculation. A properly scaled emergency notification system will be able to tackle this in conjunction with internal alert processes.
Whether your community is large or small, security is of paramount importance wherever the defense of human life is concerned. In addition to a speedy but secure login, a good emergency notification system protects the contact information of a community and has minimal downtime.
The best way to ensure this is to choose a provider that has a proven track record of success and stability, especially as the industry continues to grow. It’s forecasted that within the next year, the implementation of emergency notification systems is expected to rise to 20% within organizations—from hospitals to companies to higher education campuses. As the industry continues growing exponentially, it becomes more and more important that users choose a reliable provider.
First and foremost, you don’t want to be a budding company’s guinea pig when dealing with crisis communication. Second, an emergency notification system will contain personal contact information from all the members of your community. The security of your data directly affects your community, so be sure to carefully review the terms of your vendor to ascertain that they will never share data without your explicit permission. The entire point of crisis communication after all, is to protect your people!
When it comes to ensuring the integrity of a system, it’s also important to look for a provider that offers a redundant solution. In other words, the most reliable, secure, and economic solutions are those hosted on a cloud system. For instance, if your power is wiped out by a natural disaster, you obviously won’t be able to send those emergency notifications your community needs.
Hosting on a cloud circumvents this issue entirely. A hosted cloud system also eliminates the time, effort, and expenses you would pour into purchasing and maintaining your hardware and software—software patches, upgrades, regular backups, security audits, spam filtering, virus scanning, software firewall configuration, OS updates and so forth. Using a managed service with failure resistant infrastructure gives you the peace of mind that the integrity of your data will be maintained.
An ideal emergency notification system provider is responsive to the needs of customers and has knowledgeable staff available for support. In fact, support should be provided every step of the way. When it comes to the setup of your product, a good provider is also a thorough teacher. Even though emergency communication products are simple to master, they may require instruction at the outset. For this, and for any of the more complex implementations, account management and professional support teams need to be available to help users succeed.
A good provider will also offer training for you and your people. Emergency communication saves lives, but it’s most effective when incorporated into a suite of critical communication solutions. That means the optimal provider will offer further instruction in emergency preparedness and emergency management. The importance of pre-planning for emergencies cannot be overstated. Part of that pre-planning stage involves learning how to leverage the skills and talent of your team because it’s crucial to have the right people involved when it comes to critical communication.
To ensure the best outcome in an emergency, guidelines have to be established in order to determine exactly what needs to happen in case of an emergency, as well as have individual roles of your emergency response team clearly defined. Having this in place ensures stakeholders (those in your care and anyone who might be affected by the situation) are supported during a crisis.
In addition to regular consulting, a provider should also be there for you after a crisis. There’s always something to be learned from a crisis, and often you can learn what went well and what didn’t from members within the community. The right provider can help you analyze the data collected through the system in order to determine how to better refine an emergency response.
When choosing a provider, look for key characteristics in the technology they offer: simplicity of the interface; speed of both integrated systems and automated, outbound messages; seamlessness of omnimodal messages and integration of third-party technologies; scalability of the system to encompass all members of your community; the security of a reliable cloud service provider; and the kind of customer care that transcends perfunctory support through genuine empathy.
A lot can go wrong in a crisis. Your emergency management will be most effective if it includes a way to provide procedures to an emergency response team, as well as provide guidance to recipients of outbound alerts. Choose a provider that puts the “system” in emergency notification systems—because notifications aren’t enough. Having access to a full suite of critical communication solutions gives you the best chance of protecting the people in your care, whoever they are and wherever you happen to be.