9 Ways to Optimize Your Mass Notification Systems

It is important to plan ahead for campus emergencies so that your mass notification efforts will reach the right people at the right time. This list of best practices can help you to accomplish your mass notification goals.

7. Keep an eye on integration. “Pick the right system that integrates the various modes so that you’re not having to do 15 different things to get your message out,” says Nebraska Medical Center Safety Manager John Hauser. Hauser’s campus uses e2Campus to integrate text, E-mail, voice notification and computer notification.

8. Use multiple technologies from different vendors. Deploying multiple modes will help to ensure the strengths of one solution compensate for the weaknesses of others. For example, USC’s Trojans Alert is provided by Cooper Notification. To cover the gaps of this SMS text/E-mail system, the campus recently tested a solution from IntelliGuard that uses paging technology to notify the campus community via messaging signs and FOBs.

Webinar: Making Sense of Mass Notification Policies

“It’s a good additional layer because the technology behind it is different than the cell phones,” USC Department of Public Safety Chief Carey Drayton says. “It doesn’t have to go through a gateway for text messages. It doesn’t have to rely on computers to process the messages. It goes to all of the devices simultaneously. In less than 10 seconds, every device had the message.”

9. Know ahead of time when you will activate your mass notification systems. “Define the situations where you know you are going to activate,” UCLA’s Emergency Preparedness Manager David Burns says. “If you wait until you have a situation, you are asking for trouble. There have been so many media reports where campus officials don’t have a policy and they are going to rely on the circumstances to define how they are going to act. This is a recipe for disaster. It’s going to create delays. You are going to have the inevitable argument and meanwhile the community is wondering where the information is because they are starting to see it on TV and hearing about it through social media, yet the campus is silent.”

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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