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Plan, Train, Exercise and Repeat

We cannot emphasize this enough when it comes to the familiarization and operation of your CodeRED Emergency Notification System. Every public emergency notification systemsafety based organization uses those three functions on a daily basis to enhance many other aspects of their preparedness, response, and recovery responsibilities—however, very few apply these preparedness tools to their alert and notification systems.

A mass notification system (MNS) is a very important life safety tool that, for the most part, doesn’t get used as much as other response components, often times getting overlooked for that fact and taken for granted. The fact is that this is a tool that you need when you really need it, so the proficiency of its operation should be at the top of your list. Time is of the essence during these emergency incidents, which causes stress on everyone trying to set up and launch a mass notification call. Reduce that stress and life-saving time by making sure everyone in your organization who may have access to launch calls is very comfortable and very familiar with its use.

Our Client Support team spends countless hours providing initial and refresher training to all of our clients, and they are available for any additional training that you may need. Please contact us at 866-939-0911 to arrange that extra training and guidance. During major widespread weather events, such as the recent East coast storms, our team was very busy assisting clients with remembering passcodes / logons and many other basic functional questions regarding launching calls. While we are more than happy to provide that extra customer assistance in times of emergencies, a lot of these call center support questions can be remedied by developing plans, performing training, and exercising your CodeRED system by all users.

Here are some tips to follow that will help your organization dispatch emergency mass notifications messages as quickly as you can:

Plan –  Develop an Emergency Notification Plan that covers all aspects of this function. It should include identifying the methods of notification that you use, who can send messages, who the system administrator is, and what events / incidents that you will launch for and provide trigger points to set the gauge of how and when you activate this plan. This plan could also include sample messages for specific hazardous incidents that are prevalent to your jurisdiction, and don’t forget a section to define the training requirements for all users.  We have sample templated plans that we can share with those that would like the head start.

Train –  There is no limit to the amount of web based training sessions that our team will provide to you and your end users. We also provide a monthly web based training session to all our clients, so please take advantage on them. Most clients never consider mandatory refresher training for their users like they do for the initial training session. We suggest that you establish those parameters on refresher training; it will go a long way towards saving lives during emergencies.

Exercise – There are many ways with which you can exercise your MNS, most of which you can determine as well as anyone else. Consider using your MNS during the commission of any other planned exercises that you conduct. This will get the team used to the concept of its use and will make it a standard part of the plan moving forward. One of the best methods that we have found and recommend to our clients is to enforce a mandatory monthly or bi-weekly (or whatever period you wish) system test by all users. It can be as simple as having them send a text message or phone message to their own phone, and the phone of their supervisor or system administrator. It exercises the full use of the system, keeps them familiar and comfortable with its use, and will not compromise the use of your system for emergencies. The more times the end user touches the system, the more proficient they will become with its use.

Our intent is to help you become more efficient with your CodeRED system in every way. Please let us know how else we can assist you in this regard. Call, email or send us a request through our webpage inquiry system. We are eager to help.



Don Hall is ECN’s Director of Government Relations and is a regular contributor on our blog. Hall’s public safety career experience includes 20 years as an Emergency Manager in Calvert County, Md., Jacksonville, FL and Washington, D.C. He also spent 10 years in law enforcement and 911 emergency communications and has 42 years of active duty experience in the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service in Maryland. He has managed and directed more than 30 Presidential Disaster Declarations during his emergency management career and received numerous public safety- related awards and citations.