Communication is a key aspect of any emergency. This is all the more critical if it’s a disaster that can potentially affect a large population. During disasters, communication can be life-changing to those involved. How would you ensure everyone gets life-saving information in time? An emergency mass notification system is the answer.
Given the importance of passing on information to concerned stakeholders, I’ll show you what an emergency mass notification system is. I’ll also share the features you must look for in these systems. Finally, I’ll talk about some of the top systems available today, so you can easily decide on one that fits your business needs.
Let’s start with what an emergency mass notification system is.
What Is an Emergency Mass Notification System?
An emergency mass notification system, also known as a mass notification system, is a platform or managed service that sends information to large groups of people. Often, these systems use more than one communication channel such as phone calls, emails, text messages, and more. You can also use sirens and loudspeakers to help with communication further.
Narrowing it down to organizations, these mass notification systems encompass messages sent via pagers, emails, phone calls, and social media. You can also use apps such as Slack and WhatsApp. The idea here is to use as many channels as possible to quickly pass on an emergency message to employees. They can then take the necessary action, such as evacuating from a building, shutting down systems, etc.
Given the importance of these mass notification systems, you have many choices available in the market today. Next, I’ll talk about the factors to keep in mind when choosing an appropriate system for your organization.
What to Look For in an Emergency Mass Notification System
Not all mass notification systems are the same. Before choosing one, you should write down a list of features that your organization needs. This list can be your starting point to choose a mass notification system. Additionally, I’ve compiled these 9 key factors in an emergency mass notification system:
1. Fast Speeds
Speed should be highly prioritized on your list. Emergencies can happen at any time, and you’ll want to remain prepared. Your system should be able to send thousands of alerts in seconds and across multiple channels. Otherwise, the recipients won’t take quick action.
2. Simplified User Interface
The user interface of your mass notification system must be simple and intuitive. It shouldn’t take forever for an employee to send a message through the interface. More importantly, authorized teams or employees with different technical skills should be able to use it. A simplified user interface helps reduce any headaches in the long run.
3. Diverse Delivery across Multiple Channels
Your system should be able to send messages across multiple channels. Ideally, you’ll do so with one click. A system with this feature is nice to have because of the convenience factor. Regardless of your employees’ preferred communication channel, you want to reach them quickly in an emergency. This feature will also ensure that your messages reach all your employees in any department.
4. Streamlined Connection with Your Corporate Directory
When choosing a mass notification system, choose one that can connect with your corporate directory, such as the Azure Active Directory. This helps the system send messages directly to your employees. The automation workflow should also be seamless, without requiring any form of manual interference.
5. Customized Messages
Your mass notification system should support custom messages. This is important to remember, as each channel may support a different type of media or file format. Sometimes, it may also be necessary to add attachments to your messages. That’s why you should keep this in mind when choosing a system.
6. Direct Connection with Your Critical Event Team
Your critical event team must always be in the loop when it comes to sending emergency messages. In fact, they must be initiating this request in coordination with the admin team. Your mass notification system must also integrate well with your existing infrastructure and business continuity plans.
7. Specific Targeted Audience
Sometimes, an emergency message may not be for the entire organization. Rather, it’s only meant for specific teams or locations. For example, a flash flood in a city requires you to send a message only to the employees in that particular city. Your system must have the ability to send messages to particular groups of people when needed.
8. Integrated Ability to Poll Your Employees
It’s good to know your employees’ preferences. Some might not want to be disturbed by incessant messaging. You can choose a system that gives you the ability to ask your employees questions about if they’d like to be messaged when certain situations pop up. Getting answers to such questions can help you choose the appropriate channel to send messages to.
9. Efficient Two-Way Messaging
While most emergencies require only one-way messaging, some situations may require a response from recipients. It’s always good to have a mass notification system that supports two-way communication, so you can use it if necessary. For example, in the case of a fire, it helps to know where a particular employee is within the building. That way, the rescue team can get to them. You’d need a two-way messaging system for such communications.
Now, you’re knowledgeable on which features to consider when making a decision. Next, I’ll talk about the top notification systems and their features, so you can compare them against your list of required features.
The 5 Best Emergency Mass Notification System Providers
Below are the 5 best emergency mass notification systems and their features. Read on to learn more about these systems; it’ll help you make a quick and informed decision!
1. AlertFind :: IgniteTech
AlertFind is a state-of-the-art emergency mass notification system. It facilitates reaching every employee across multiple devices. This SaaS platform supports two-way communications, so your employees can send and receive messages during emergencies. Here’s what it has to offer:
- Sends unlimited notifications across multiple channels and devices
- Gets real-time updates from your employees who are stuck in an emergency
- Geotargets particular teams or employee groups when needed, so you can send messages to people in specific regions only
- Uses message templates and pre-written content for instant communication during an emergency
- Meets all international standards and requirements for communications
- Offers one of the highest availability rates, so you don’t have to worry about notification system shutdowns in an emergency
- Is highly flexible and scalable to meet your growing demands
- Maintains privacy and confidentiality of your employees’ data
- Comes with a ton of security features, such as multi-factor authentication and role-based access, for your data safety and integrity
In all, AlertFind is one of the best tools available today for managing communications during emergencies. It also comes with a top-notch customer support team that quickly responds to your needs.
AlertMedia streamlines the notification-sending process. It also ensures that you’re on top of your communications during an emergency. This intuitive communication platform comes with the following features:
- Supports two-way messaging
- Sends information across multiple channels
- Identifies and monitors affected employees
- Generates verified threat intelligence to make informed decisions about communication channels and disaster recovery plans
- Comes with built-in communication templates
- Is highly robust, reliable, and secure
Overall, AlertMedia is a reliable automated system for sending emergency notifications across multiple channels, and for communicating with any affected employees.
3. Everbridge Mass Notification
Everbridge Mass Notification enables you to communicate quickly with your employees during an emergency. It supports two-way communication and helps to mobilize your resources at the earliest, to respond to any emergency. Everbridge has the following useful features:
- Is very secure and reliable
- Works well in 200+ territories and countries
- Stores your employees’ data securely in any country of your choosing
- Comes with 325+ security controls to ensure secure communications
- Enhances collaboration across teams, regions, and even countries when needed
- Supports manual selections of employees and geotargeting
- Integrates with HR and business continuity planning systems
In all, Everbridge Mass Notification acts as a single point of communication during emergencies. It also comes with guided workflows and integrations. In turn, it fits within your existing infrastructure.
4. OnSolve Emergency/Mass Notification Services
OnSolve is a mass notification system that sends time-sensitive alerts across channels. That way, it can engage with people to understand their needs and protect them during emergencies. Here’s a look at a few important features:
- Uses automation to define emergencies and kickstarts communications accordingly
- Employs risk intelligence to detect emergencies and warns employees, which greatly boosts safety and security
- Alerts the necessary groups or teams only
- Offers API integrations to add notifications to custom and third-party applications
- Initiates multi-device and multimodal communications
- Comes with a mobile app
- Has a simple and streamlined interface
OnSolve is a simple, but effective, system for sending notifications during an emergency. Its automation capabilities and risk intelligence add to its efficiency and effectiveness.
RedFlag is a real-time emergency communication and alerting system. This multi-channel emergency mass notification system makes it easy to deliver critical alerts in real-time to any number of individuals or groups. Here are some important features of this tool:
- Sends timely and personalized messages to specific individuals, small groups, or even the entire organization
- Supports two-way communication and multi-channel messaging
- Generates detailed reports and comes with a centralized dashboard for monitoring
- Imports data from third-party tools
- Enables you to create lists and define the rules for each list, so messages get sent automatically during emergencies
Overall, RedFlag is a comprehensive mass notification system that comes with a slew of features to enhance communications during an emergency. Its enterprise-level data security and reliability ensure that you can reach people who are in danger.
To conclude, these are the top 5 emergency mass notification systems. They all have similar features with minor variations, so choose the one that best aligns with your needs. Finally, don’t forget to keep your costs and budget in mind. Ensure the system you choose provides you with the best value for your money.
Now that you have a comprehensive idea of mass notification systems, let’s end with a quick recap.
To conclude, emergency mass notification systems can be a life-saver. That said, not all of them are the same, so make sure you understand what your organization needs during emergencies. Accordingly, pick a system that best meets these requirements. The systems that I’ve showcased in this article are good choices as they are robust and come with advanced features. I hope this information comes in handy when tasked with making an informed decision.
Do you have any more questions about emergency mass notification systems? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!
Are emergency mass notification systems effective?
Yes, they’re effective during emergencies to broadcast real-time alerts and notifications to large groups of people. The idea behind these systems is to alert individuals, so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Regardless of the emergency on hand, your systems should alert relevant people quickly. That way, everyone can take the necessary actions swiftly.
How does an emergency mass notification system work?
They come with a user interface through which you can send a message to some or all your employees. More importantly, you can choose the digital channels through which you want to send messages and the system will do it for you. Some even allow you to predefine your message for specific emergencies.
Are emergency mass notification systems automated?
Yes, many of them are automated to reduce the need for human intervention. Consequently, that reduces any related errors such as choosing the wrong channel or employee group. That said, one or more individuals must set the trigger for the system to automatically send messages. This is important to reduce false notifications.
Do emergency mass notification systems have a mobile app?
Yes, many emergency mass notification systems have a mobile app that works well across both iOS and Android phones. This helps to notify people even when they are on the go. In particular, it can be useful for a remote workforce. It’s also useful to reach the employee’s preferred communication channel. That way, everyone gets the critical information in time to take action.
How can I choose the right emergency mass notification system for my organization?
Start with a list of features that your organization needs. Then, compare this list against the features offered by different notification systems. Finally, zero in on the one that best meets your requirements. When it comes to decision-making, you may want to consider some important features such as speed, multi-channel messaging, two-way communication, and more.
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