Mass Notification Survey Highlights Purchasing Trends in Healthcare and Education

See which emergency notification technologies are hot right now.

More than 700 campus security, law enforcement, emergency management and other protection professionals completed Campus Safety magazine’s 2014 emergency notification survey, and just over half of the respondents indicate they plan on or are considering deploying new or upgraded solutions in the next year.

When comparing 2014 survey results to those from 2010, not a single system covered in this year’s research experienced a decrease in buying interest. The percentage of campuses upgrading or buying new external loudspeakers has increased from 15% overall in 2010 to 24% overall in 2014.

Those buying fire alarm systems with voice evacuation increased from 11% to 17%. Interest in pop-up alerts via computers/projectors increased as well from 18% four years ago to 24% in 2014. Text message systems saw the biggest increase in overall interest from 32% in 2010 to 43% this year.

View the full chart.

Some best practices for SMS text alert systems include:

  • Involve your campus IT department
  • Determine ahead of time who has the authority to issue alerts
  • Messages should originate from a trusted campus authority
  • Create clear, concise written messages by working with campus public relations
  • Use and test the system often but not too often
  • Create groups of first responders and decision makers who can receive messages more frequently
  • Automate your SMS text alert database
  • Incorporate adequate logical security measures to protect your SMS alert database
  • Avoid spam filters by white listing (Note: most reputable vendors automatically do this)
  • Market your mass notification program, and educate the campus community on how the system is used, what to expect and what to do during an emergency
  • Adopt the opt-out approach to text alert enrollment (or make enrollment mandatory)
  • Regularly train staff on how to issue alerts
  • For campuses that have undergone major construction or renovation, verify your existing mass notification systems (sirens, loudspeakers, SMS text alert systems, etc.) still provide appropriate coverage


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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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

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