Emergency mass notification system (EMNS) platforms are an incredibly valuable and increasingly prevalent component of workplace safety and incident prevention strategies. To optimize the value that EMNS provides your organization, it is important to be aware of EMNS best practices. Here, we explain emergency notification systems and provide relevant tips and guidance for effective EMNS usage. If you are still looking for an EMNS platform to use in your organization, we also offer an EMNS Buyer’s Guide.
EMNS platforms are one-way broadcast communications tools that enable rapid, multi-channel messaging. During a crisis, EMNS platforms can be used to share immediate safety information, remind employees of relevant security protocols, and issue an all-clear when the threat is resolved. EMNS platforms can also be used for more routine communications, such as weather warnings or IT service alerts.
Situations where an EMNS can be used include:
During critical events, EMNS platforms make it easy for organizations to send emergency alerts to employees’ mobile devices. Some EMNS platforms also offer user friendly mobile apps. These apps can be used to share emergency communications and offer other safety resources for emergency management. Effective EMNS platforms are a valuable way to ensure business continuity and keep people safe.
EMNS are often used exclusively for high-severity, low-frequency events, such as active assailant emergencies. However, to optimally engage your organization’s EMNS platform and build employee trust, it’s important to also share low-severity safety-related tips and reminders. This includes weather warnings, operational changes, nearby road closures, and other information.
Sharing non-emergency safety insights will facilitate community engagement and improve familiarity with your organization’s EMNS platform. It will also serve to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to more routine safety concerns.
EMNS isn’t just for safety alerts. Sending more regular broadcasts with routine information and updates builds community engagement and platform trust. This also ensures that in the event of an emergency, employees are familiar with the platform.
Examples of routine EMNS communication include:
As described in a recent issue of the journal Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery (PACM), which discussed best practices for community-sourced risk systems, “in order to build a close-knit community, policing agencies or safety service providers need to engage their community by sending messages that show the “human-side” of themselves, instead of only addressing safety related issues.”
Additionally, “perceptions of risk are more often produced by information exchange than by direct victimization, thus these [non-safety Broadcast] messages are important to consider for their potential impact on community members’ awareness and perceptions of potential risk.”
Whenever you send an EMNS alert, be sure to close the loop by sending a situation update or issuing an all-clear. For example, if employees are advised to be on the lookout for a suspicious person or vehicle, they should be notified when the threat has been resolved.
It is particularly important to provide follow-up information when an alert is based on an employee report. This will make it clear that employee tips are taken seriously and threats are being addressed. It will also promote continued employee reporting.
Emergency mass notification systems are a valuable way to improve safety communications and incident prevention. By applying the guidance in this article and deploying an effective EMNS platform, your organization can optimize its EMNS usage and improve employee safety.
If your organization is interested in deploying an EMNS platform, consider LiveSafe Alert, an offering from the industry-leading risk management platform. Regardless of the situation, LiveSafe Alert allows you to deliver critical communications in real time using multiple channels, including text message, push notification, and email. Learn more about LiveSafe Alert by downloading the LiveSafe Alert Feature Sheet.
To learn more about how to find and use EMNS platforms, download our Emergency Mass Notification System Buyer’s Guide.