The mass notification systems have been known for a long time. With the rapidly changing environment in which we have now lived, the mass notification system is increasingly needed. The model has also adapted to meet the needs of the public, despite the changing times and challenges. While the needs that vary with the audience or users in mind, whether it’s terrorist attacks or bombings, natural disasters, fires or random school shoot outs, the requirement for clear direction on what to do in these situations is what makes mass notification system essential.
What are mass notification systems?
A Mass Notification System (MNS) is a system that sends one-way notifications to communicate an emergency to personnel and the public. Organizations best served by a program of mass notification include fire and police departments; federal, state and local governments; emergency management organizations; municipalities and communities; building owners and building management firms; and companies that can explain their need and investment. Through offering warnings and real-time instruction during a crisis, these systems can enhance an organization’s safety and protection.
There is a database of names, phone numbers, email addresses, and delivery methods for mass notification systems. Software for emergency alerts must have a robust communications infrastructure with enough bandwidth to send thousands of messages. Use pre-registered phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media, individuals and organizations can be contacted. Human action can trigger an MNS, as well as sensing devices like smoke or gas detectors and specialized task-specific systems for things like security.
How does a mass emergency notification system work?
To access the Rave Alert emergency alert notification system, a system administrator works with Rave Mobile Safety experts. The platform can be accessed from any device connected to the Internet, making it an ideal solution to communicate alerts and provide updates from a safe location. Depending on the type of organization and purpose of the mass notification system, the system is filled with contact details using different methods.
A branded opt-in platform allows residents and visitors to the region in a state or local group to create an end-user account and then pick their preferences for emergency notification, like the preferred type of warning alert or delivery method. Up to three mobile phone numbers, three-voice numbers only and three email addresses can be entered by end-users.
Administrators can autoload existing student and staff databases into the mass emergency notification system in colleges and universities and give the option of opting out to students and staff. The method of opting out involves sending an SMS text “STOP” message to a short code number or logging into the campus portal to delete contact details from their profiles.
The administrators introducing the emergency mass notification system can set up their systems in a commercial enterprise environment to be either opt-in or opt-out, which would depend on their privacy policies. There are also tools for autoloading contact lists from HR or other employee databases, and supply chain contact details are also recommended to be added to the system.
Key MNS Features
Ease of initiating notification
The ease of sending a notification is critical. Consider whether you can trigger an alert from a mobile app or log into a computer that might be impractical in an active shooter situation. These features, coupled with effective and clear governance on who and how to initiate notifications (e.g. what constitutes an emergency and has the authority to lock down the building), will help ensure that MNS investment is well spent when and when it is needed to be activated.
Integration with other systems
Several other IT structures are likely in place for most companies. Some of these systems also promote contact with workers such as email systems, PA systems, instant messaging apps (such as Slack). Integrations with applicable IT systems can streamline the process of receiving and keeping the notification database up-to-date (automatically uploading new employees). It can also provide additional notification methods (e.g. PA system advertising, alarm messages displayed in lobbies on TV screens, messages posted to common employee forums), and social media. Integration may add extra costs to the implementation of MNS, but the investment might well be worth it.
The MNS space is dominated by two architectures. On-premise and cloud-hosted MNS, based on preference, budget, and other factors, offer additional options. An on-premise approach positions the MNS hardware where it becomes part of the operational responsibility of the IT department at a place. The benefits of having an “on-premise” platform include more security and potentially more compatibility opportunities with other key business systems like your HR solution or employee databases. A cloud-hosted MNS platform operates on the internet and is often more accessible as the provider can share the system’s costs with all its clients. Having the cloud system gives better availability and minimizes overall system maintenance.
The bottom line
Most MNS solutions enable messaging to deliver in a wide variety of ways, including voice, SMS, email and social media, the system becomes a platform–a powerful tool, for various emergency and non-emergency use cases. For many reasons like raising the investment value or simply making customers or employees communicate more frequently and easily, organizations have demonstrated extraordinary agility in using their MNS for cases of non-emergency use to “reduce” their system and drive more internal value. Some companies even use it to make sure that employees are familiar with the actual emergency systems.