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How to be prepared for an emergency using a notification system

Have a plan and the tools to keep people safe (InformaCast Use Cases)


Why emergency management is important 

During an emergency, lack of preparation can have a devastating impact on any organization. Confusing messages, uninformed staff and disorganized leadership can put people in harm’s way, slow down response time and make it more difficult to get operations back up and running. The possibility of fires, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other critical events need to be considered when developing a safety plan.

Emergency preparedness can be vital for staff, scholars or visitors. Every organization has a duty of care they are obligated to fulfill. This means that organizations must have plans and tools to help keep people safe and informed about and during potentially dangerous situations. Clearly directed information helps to reduce the risk. The best practice in building a plan includes pre-recorded announcement messages and a wide spread range of multiple devices with the capacity to reach everyone.


Developing a safety plan

A chemical spill, an earthquake, an unwanted intruder or a manufacturing problem are just some emergencies our new partners at Singlewire can handle with expertise. The first step for every emergency management plan is to properly detect it, whether it be through cameras, sensors or human detection. If a problem becomes severe, for example, a state agency informs of a natural disaster, an immediate response is critical. 

An effective response needs intense planning. Corporations evaluate the use and efficiency of panic buttons for fires, shooters or errors. They develop a quick and easy-to-implement strategy to trigger alerts that can spread widely and effectively. Detectors in buildings, audio monitoring of machines and surveillance systems are feeding constant information into the system. When a tornado warning is issued, for example, you have, on average, 13 minutes before it will hit (external link). That is not a lot. These systems will only be of use if adequate action is triggered.

Cities in areas prone to emergency situations often make emergency preparedness a priority, such as the Seattle Disaster Readiness and Response Plan (external link). This kind of detailed document helps officials and citizens understand the procedures for preparing and responding to a crisis situation. 

Mass notification systems can make it easy to use existing technology to share updates and alerts with patients, parents or relatives and other relevant persons.


How to leverage the benefits

Lack of preparation can hinder an organization’s ability to get back up and running. When disaster strikes, an organization that has no proper preparations is left in a vulnerable state. Large-scale emergencies can even result in the declaration of a state of emergency by a government entity. This can be an important part of emergency management. 

The benefits of emergency preparedness can include: understanding the situations an organization is at risk of encountering, developing messages that inform people of emergency situations, determining who is in charge of sharing information, knowing what channels will be used to disseminate information and designating safe areas.

If an emergency that could impact schedules or the well-being of employees occurs, it’s important that administrators have the ability and capacity to contact team members wherever they are. Mass notifications systems can send alerts to mobile phones as text or audio messages. Emails, announcements on loudspeakers, visual strobes in noisy environments or messages on screens can be utilized to make inform people. Dispatching of emergency help teams within the company or building can be critical. An emergency notification system is used to send alerts about severe weather (natural disaster guide by Singlewire), network outages, critical failures or other events that may disrupt operations. In addition to sending alerts, mobile mass notifications can also be used to poll employees by asking them to respond to a simple question. This can help determine who is available to pick up or cover a shift, or, in the case of the recent pandemic, ask people if they are exhibiting symptoms of a disease that could pose a risk to residents or employees. Residents and staff aren’t the only people who need to receive updates. Family members and visitors need to understand if an emergency is taking place or if normal operations are being disrupted as well. 

Each of these methods or strategies merge to provide organizations with an emergency response plan that can be deployed quickly. Prepare for clear communication during a crisis (recommended Singlewire whitepaper) and keep people safe. Reliability is essential; an emergency notification system that fails when needed is not worth a cent. Evaluating the reliability of such systems and designing for reliability is key if it should deliver on the promised services. This is one reason why systems with a reputation for reliability should be exclusively used in such solutions.

Barix is convinced that emergency notification systems are one of the most important criteria to manage emergencies effectively. We are happy to be a valuable entity in the Singlewire ecosystem with our solid audio endpoints and general purpose I/O devices. Singlewire’s InformaCast System is the world leader in mass notifications, working with Cisco or Microsoft. To build reliable and cost-effective emergency solutions, we have integrated Singlewire’s InformaCast natively into three of our devices.


View the Barix devices enabled to support InformaCast.



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