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Get more from your Emergency Mass Notification System with these strategies

Emergency mass notification systems play a critical role in disseminating timely and accurate information during crises. Whether it's a natural disaster, a security threat, or a health emergency, effective communication can save lives and significantly improve your response and recovery times.

Despite the many benefits such a system can offer, it's not a simple case of deploying the solution and achieving immediate results. With that in mind, here are a series of strategies that will help you make the most of your emergency mass notification system. 

Train your teams

The first step in unlocking the inherent benefits of your emergency mass notification system is to invest in training your teams. This will play a critical role in the successful onboarding and adoption of the system, setting you up for future success and ensuring use of the new technology is productive from the outset.

To extract the maximum ROI from platform usage, you will need to implement monthly or quarterly training sessions to ensure everyone using the platform keeps their skills sharp. Taking this a step further, mock training sessions once or twice a year that take the team through the motions of an emergency response will ensure they are ready for a real world incident.

Conduct regular crisis simulations using the system

Taking the above concept a step further, regular crisis simulations using the system will ensure all relevant response teams and stakeholders know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

A well-crafted crisis simulation mirrors real-world situations, providing a safe space where your team can practice decision-making and effective use of your emergency notification system. This will improve their ability to respond to incidents and resolve them faster. 

Simulations can be conducted company-wide to stress test the crisis response capabilities of the entire organisation. Not only will this help improve the wider team's understanding of why crisis teams do what they do, but it also builds familiarity with the type of emergency communications they will receive.

Market the use of your platform

Deploying an emergency mass notification system offers no guarantee that anyone will use it, or react to the notifications they receive. You need to market your new platform and set expectations from day one to ensure you continue to make the most of your platform.

Connect with your crisis teams and educate them about the new system, make them aware of any available training, and set out how you plan to implement emergency communications using the system in the future. Make sure they understand why its use is beneficial to encourage everyone to opt in and get to grips with the technology before an actual crisis occurs.

You will also need to connect with your employees and anyone you plan to alert using the system. Making sure they understand how they will be communicated with and what is expected of them in the event of an emergency communication.

Maintain up-to-date contact details

The BCI Emergency & Crisis Communications Report 2024 unveiled the shocking fact that when emergency response plans failed the lack of accurate contact information was a leading cause. The BCI found that in instances where these plans failed, 41% of respondents cited incorrect contact information as a primary cause.

By integrating your emergency mass notification system with your primary contact database you can ensure that you always have the most up-to-date contact details. So, when triggering emergency alerts, you know that your crisis response teams and key stakeholders will be receiving your communications.

Use multiple communication channels to improve reach

Relying on a single communication channel when sending out emergency mass messaging can lead to missed notifications. Using a variety of channels such as SMS, email, voice calls, mobile apps, and social media will guarantee message delivery to your audience. 

Assess your emergency mass notification system and see what communication channels are available. Then connect with your audience and key stakeholders to see which channels will be most effective. We recommend configuring your system for SMS, email, programmable voice, and mobile app notifications.

If your emergency communication system has an API, you can include countless additional communication channels - sirens, digital signage, Slack, Microsoft Teams, desktop push notifications, and much more.

Create pre-prepared broadcasts

In the event of an emergency, every second counts, the faster you send out communications, the sooner your staff can make themselves safe and respond to the incident unfolding.

Your emergency mass notification system should let you create pre-prepared broadcasts that you can trigger with a few clicks to accelerate your communication capabilities. Work with your response team(s) to create an exhaustive list of common emergencies and then configure your system with a set of pre-prepared broadcasts to manage them.

It is also worth creating a series of generic message templates that can quickly be tailored in the event of an unexpected emergency. 

Build segmented audiences

Effective emergency response relies on making sure the right person receives the right message at the right time. You can improve and accelerate this process by creating segmented audiences in your emergency mass notification system.

Segmenting your audiences based on relevant factors like location, role, or even language, allows for targeted messaging to ensure your recipients receive the relevant information pertinent to their situation.

To maintain the accuracy of your targeting, make sure your segmented audiences are kept up-to-date within your platform.

Collect feedback from stakeholders

To optimise the use of your emergency mass communication software you will want to establish channels for response teams, stakeholders, and recipients to provide feedback on the notification process.

Combine the use of surveys, focus groups, and feedback forms to gather insights that you can review regularly to identify areas of improvement and implement necessary adjustments in the way you deploy your communication platform.

Use data to optimise the usage of your system

Once your mass notification system is being used in incident handling, you can begin collecting data on the performance of your response plans and emergency communications. Your platform has the capability to track meaningful data points like open and response rates by channel, decisions made, and much more.

In time, you can create post-event reports that provide critical insight that can be applied to improve your emergency response plans and make better use of your emergency notification system.

Edward Jones
Written by Edward Jones
25 Mar 2024
A digital marketing expert with 10+ years experience across the full range of disciplines. Edward has an extensive history as a writer, with more than 300+ published articles across the technology and digital publishing sectors.