Emergency notification system (ENS) platforms are an important component of workplace emergency management. Modern mass notification systems help community members stay informed, prevent crisis escalation, and facilitate organizational trust. When choosing an ENS platform, there are five key features to consider.
1. Rapid, Multi-Channel Delivery
When it comes to emergency communications, speed and deliverability are top priority. Particularly when facing an immediate crisis, such as an active shooter, the ideal ENS system can deploy alerts to all recipients in minutes. The longer it takes to develop and deploy a mass notification, the longer employees must wait for critical notifications.
In addition to rapid deployment, ENS messages should be compatible with multiple delivery systems. This ensures that all recipients are quickly reached when messages are sent. Employees have different communication preferences, whether it be text, email, call, or push notification, so it’s important to engage them all.
When evaluating an ENS platform, consider message delivery speed and available communication channels.
2. Message Customization
Particularly when engaging several communication channels, it’s important to be able to customize messages. For example, emails can include more words and attachments than a push notification or text message. ENS platforms should offer flexibility with platform-specific message customization.
Additionally, modern ENS systems facilitate message customization by providing notification templates for common emergency scenarios. Effective templates can help security teams save precious time in a crisis so that messages can be sent with fewer clicks. Some ENS platforms also allow organizations to create their own pre-set message templates.
When deliberating ENS platforms, inquire about message templates and customization options.
3. Recipient Grouping
Depending on the size of an organization, workforces may be diverse and dispersed. Employees may work in distinct departments, cities, or offices, and some may be remote or on the road. To properly communicate with these employee groups, ENS systems should support audience grouping.
Audience grouping allows messages to be segmented based on employee characteristics such as office, department, or role. This ensures that the correct audiences receive relevant information and that other employees aren’t receiving unnecessary alerts. Limited, effective communications help facilitate high user engagement and maintain system reliability.
In addition to audience grouping, geofencing provides further message specificity. Leading ENS platforms enable administrators to draw digital “fences” on a map so that messages can be targeted to those within that area, whether it be on an organization’s campus or beyond.
Geofencing is particularly valuable during natural disasters, bomb threats, and other targeted crises. For example, if a group of employees is doing business off-site, geofencing enables organization security teams to inform them of location-specific emergency alerts. This is also valuable for smaller-scale incidents, such as traffic delays or road closures. These notifications can be sent only to employees who live or work in affected areas.
5. Reporting and Analytics
Once you have chosen and implemented an ENS, you want to make sure that it’s reliably reaching your intended audience. This requires effective reporting and analytics. Specifically, you should ask your ENS provider if they can inform you of message deliverability, read receipts, and other relevant metrics for each communication channel.
It’s also valuable to have an engaged Customer Support team that’s prepared to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
Choosing an ENS Platform
These five metrics are the primary indicators of ENS effectiveness. Most platforms with these features operate through an intuitive mobile application and often provide additional safety and prevention functionality. These mobile apps may also offer integration with existing workplace mobile platforms, which promotes user adoption.
Although ENS platforms are most often used for crisis communications, they provide value beyond emergencies. For example, mass notifications can inform employees of road closures, workplace policy changes, and other relevant events.
LiveSafe Alert, a Vector Solutions offering, is an ENS that includes all of these key features. LiveSafe Alert is a communications platform purpose-built for security professionals and other authorities to engage and empower their workforces and build safer, more informed communities. Regardless of the crisis, LiveSafe Alert allows you to easily deliver the right message at the right time in a battle-tested user experience researched with industry experts from around the world. Learn more about LiveSafe Alert by downloading the feature sheet.