Ensuring the Safety of Holiday Events with Robust Mass Notification Abilities

As the holidays approach, communities, organizations, and agencies of every scope are preparing to host events that will draw crowds.

Ensuring the safety of attendees is a top priority. The best first step an organization can take is to proactively develop strategies and contingency plans to deal with disruptive events that may take place. A key part of this planning is to ensure the hosting organization or community can handle mass communication if necessary.

Advance Planning for Event Preparedness

Developing flexible response plans well before a planned event is of vital importance to ensuring the efficiency of all necessary communication. Strategies that deliver the right information is to the right people set the pace for dealing with an emergency in a calm and orderly manner. Securing a mass notification solution capable of transmitting that information quickly, completely, and accurately is critical to successfully handling any situation that may occur.

Organizations have to develop an understanding of possible disruptions and what would be needed to address these situations effectively. They need to establish a set of policies and procedures that contain all of the necessary information to communicate essential details to the right people promptly.

Outside Help

Luckily, any team tasked with developing these policies has allies they can turn to for advice. A good first step is to contact other communities, agencies, or organizations that have dealt with these sorts of situations previously. Simply learning what worked – and what didn’t – will put you in a much better position in terms of understanding what may be required to respond to whatever crisis event may unfold successfully.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications and its National Emergency Communications Plan are fantastic sources of information. Both resources have invaluable information regarding the best steps to take to ensure emergency communication capabilities are in place. You can apply much of the data presented in these resources to develop a more overarching communications plan geared not just toward emergency responders, but also in developing strategies to communicate vital information to other parties likely to be impacted by emergency events.

Identify and Train Key Personnel

Reach out to your internal stakeholders – those who will be executing response strategies in your community. They also have a well-developed understanding of their shared capabilities and how they can best combine efforts to deal with a potential emergency.

Communicate and discuss your organization’s policies and procedures to these public safety officials and solicit feedback. Offer training to all involved parties – both representatives of these external agencies and your internal teams – on emergency notification systems like OnSolve’s CodeRED, which is the number one public safety alerting solution in the US. Make sure that information regarding the emergency notification system your organization is planning to use is well-publicized throughout your organization or community well in advance of the event.

Choosing the Right Mass Notification System

The system you ultimately rely upon to handle any mass alerting your organization may need to enact plays a tremendous role in a successful response to an emergency. It should be a communications solution capable of providing multichannel, mobile-enabled two-way communication. It should also have the ability to transmit and process additional forms of information, like photographs or other data necessary to communicate time-sensitive and mission-critical information rapidly.

You’ll also need a system capable of delivering thousands of messages simultaneously and, ideally, the capability to integrate with other communications applications that your organization or agency may already be using.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Strategy

Many preparedness and crisis planning teams have an in-depth understanding of the importance of mass notification systems in alerting any likely affected parties and key emergency services personnel. But they may not fully grasp the benefits of creating comprehensive strategic plans that enable seamless communication across various channels and throughout different teams or departments of responders.

When an unforeseen circumstance that may impact the safety and security of large crowds of people occurs, critical information has to be communicated quickly to public safety officials, teams of emergency preparedness personnel, and, of course, to residents, visitors, and stakeholders who may be impacted. Large numbers of individuals and organizations might need to be contacted and kept updated throughout the emergency. Having a well and collaboratively-developed strategy in place to handle the demands of any possible crisis that may occur is of the utmost importance.

To Learn More…

To enable crisis management teams to better understand how to create and implement an effective interoperable mass notification strategy, OnSolve has recently published an article covering every aspect of developing a plan. It will empower your agency or organization to handle whatever communication needs may arise, both internally and externally. It’s full of valuable information regarding topics like cross-channel communication strategies, the roles of notification services for internal communications, and the benefits of value-added service capabilities.

Article Cover How Mass Notification Technology Improves Community and Interoperable Communications

How Mass Notification Technology Improves Community and Interoperable Communications

Many agencies understand the use cases of mass notification systems for resident alerting during emergency events. What makes a great mass notification program, however, is taking it a step further to create strategies that work across various communication channels and among different teams or departments.

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