Why Mass Notifications Matter

In an emergency situation, having an effective mass notification solution does more than protect individuals and keep them safe.

It also gives residents a sense of confidence. They understand where to go when they need information about local hazards. They know where to turn when they want to find out if an emergency is imminent. These are key to helping provide effective emergency preparedness alerts and information before a disaster. Find out how you can increase the success rate of your mass notification system and build trust with your residents.

Statistics on Emergency Preparedness

According to statistics reported by FEMA in the report “Preparedness in America in 2014,” people are becoming more aware of the importance of disaster preparedness and response plans. The report concluded that:

  • From 2009 to 2012 the number of respondents familiar with local hazards, such as floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes, increased from 33 percent to 46 percent.
  • From 2007 to 2012, the respondents familiar with alerts and warning systems increased from 45 percent to 55 percent.
  • During that same six-year period, the number of respondents who had received any preparedness training decreased from 49 percent to 46 percent. However, there was an increase from 2007 to 2011 of up to 53 percent.
  • Among respondents, only 39 percent participated in a preparedness drill in 2011.

This information shows that people are familiar with the types of natural disasters most likely to hit in their regions than in previous years, which is good news. In addition, individuals are more aware of and understand how to access emergency notifications in a time of need. This highlights that mass notifications and communications are effective.

However, the rate of preparedness training is dropping. Only half of the respondents felt they were truly prepared to take that next step from receiving an alert to knowing what to do next. What is preventing people from believing they are prepared for a natural disaster or emergency? According to FEMA:

  • Only 17 percent believe it is too difficult to receive information, which means 83 percent of the respondents have access to the information they need in an emergency.
  • Twenty-four percent or one in every four respondents do not know how to prepare for an emergency.

These stats show how important it is to engage the community in emergency preparedness, and a key way to do that is through mass notification. Sending test alerts during drills with information on next steps will let your residents know what to do during the real deal.

Improving Mass Notification With Testing

For organizations providing emergency services, maintaining a mass notification system is clearly effective in getting the word out before, during, and after a disaster. However, being able to train the community on what to do next needs to be a priority.

One way to handle this situation is to provide notification system testing, as well as internal training for your staff. System testing involves conducting drills of how an emergency notification system will function during various scenarios, such as hurricanes, flooding, or tornadoes. Each of these disaster situations brings its own challenges that need to be addressed.

This testing should be conducted with your internal team who is responsible for managing the notification system, as well as the external audience, which is generally your community. Often, agencies run regular tests on mass notifications within their organization, but they overlook the preparedness of their community. As noted above, people lack preparedness training, so this is an area your team needs to cover.

Improving Use Within the Community

At the same time, when conducting test runs or simulations of disasters, consider how to incorporate information with emergency notifications. This allows your agency to provide beneficial information during a crisis. As noted in the FEMA report, individuals do not feel they are prepared for handling an emergency. In addition to teaching the community about how to use the emergency notification system, include the next steps they should take in particular emergencies. Here are some examples:

  • Consider sharing videos of examples of what to do in certain emergencies, such as where to go in a tornado. These short clips can be sourced from internal testing sessions using the mock scenario setups by your team.
  • Infographics and short articles are also excellent for referencing via downloads during an emergency.
  • Promote how to receive alerts on your agency’s website or through marketing materials.

Finding ways to give your community next-step advice is critical to maintaining the effectiveness of your mass notifications solution.

Mass notification systems provide communities with the confidence and security they want when an emergency strikes. Of course, this all begins by choosing the most advantageous notification system on the market. Consider the CodeRED, SendWordNow, and MIR3 solutions for disasters available through OnSolve.

Communicating in Crisis – How Preparedness Leads to Successful Crisis Management

Communicating in Crisis – How Preparedness Leads to Successful Crisis Management

Every organization, whether it is in the public or private sector, needs to evaluate the risks that threaten the lives and property of stakeholders. Communication is a key element of any crisis response plan before, during and after an event occurs.

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