Mass Notification/Disaster Response Emergency24’s two-way, multi-media mass-communications system Traditional notification of an emergency in a building usually is accomplished with visual (strobe) and audio (horn/speaker) indicators while a central station operator notifies the 911-dispatch center via telephone contact and then makes party calls. That’s the end of the information exchange. A conversation, in comparison, is two-way dialogue. That’s exactly what’s needed to minimize the impact of a severe emergency whether it is in a school, office, hospital or other facility that attracts generally the same population each day. By using your central station’s advanced notification technologies, you can open real-time communications between offsite school officials or building owners, onsite teachers, students, building occupants or tenants and security staff. Real-time emergency information and requests for help can come in from the building while instructions to building occupants can go out. For example, a teacher responding to an emergency notification could respond by text that there are injuries in a certain location in the facility. The paramedics then know to go to that location immediately instead of sweeping through the building to find people who need medical assistance. The same two-way communication capabilities are also available for community-wide situations, such as a HAZMAT event, boil-water order or major road closure, but instead of an alarm-system trigger to initiate the mass notification and emergency communications (MNEC) system, an administrator would manually generate the event message via an online portal. That message would then be sent to citizens who opted-in to receive E-mail, voice or text alerts. Consider Appropriate Groups & Methods to Address The increased occurrence of mass shootings and other terror-type events has led to new ways of thinking when it comes to emergency response. This level of response is not intended for minor incidents 22 like a fistfight in a school hallway. Response of this magnitude is for situations like an active shooter or when there are mass casualties, such as during a tornado or other natural disaster. To establish protocols, alarm contractors, local emergency-response agencies and the school/office administrators must collectively determine who should receive what type of information and when. Having accurately segmented contact groups is essential so that the intended audiences receive information that law enforcement
deems most helpful to protect lives. Examples of contact groups include school administrators, security staff, teachers/managers, students/staff, elected officials, parents and the media. List segmentation determines who receives complete access to operate the incident command portal and other groups who receive immediate text/E-mail/voice notice of the incident and access to emergency procedure documents, but no portal control. Other contact groups — especially younger students — would receive less information about the incident, if any at all. How much information is shared with each group depends on the wishes of the subscriber and police. Recipients Can Help Supply Situational Intelligence When an alarm is activated by a system or generated by the incident command portal, security personnel and building occupants with the highest administrative levels (management, principals, security, maintenance, etc.) are immediately notified of the incident via the various messaging methods. The notification will identify the type of emergency that happened and provide a link to a floor plan showing where the incident occurred in the facility. That message also contains links to get driving directions to the facility (for police response) and access to the secure Internet portal from which two-way mass communication is facilitated. From the secure, online incident command portal, instructions for building occupants can be sent and recipients can reply to the messages by E-mail or text to provide onsite intelligence. Security personnel can also be given access to onsite video feeds to track perpetrators and visually assess the situation in real-time. Because building occupants are able to reply to the messages they receive, they can have a “digital conversation” with the incident commanders. Those responses could indicate where there are injuries or even contain photographs to help identify the perpetrators or let police know how many perpetrators they are dealing with when they arrive. Ongoing two-way communication between the contact groups can be maintained throughout the incident until the “all clear” message is delivered. Alarm contractors can market this service to existing subscribers or to facilities in which you don’t have the account because it can be a standalone system that is not tied to any specific hardware. That means alarm contractors can use the equipment 23 they are most comfortable with and all that’s needed to initiate this system is receipt of a signal at the central station to start the initial notification process. By integrating a building’s alarm system with advanced notification technologies, alarm contractors have a new and significant revenuegenerating service to offer schools, offices and hospitals. About Emergency24 Emergency 24, Inc. is an Underwriters Laboratories listed central station that operates a network of five monitoring facilities strategically placed throughout the U.S. to ensure ongoing operations even during a time of regional disaster. Our robust facilities and infrastructure provide us with the industry’s widest range of alarm monitoring and communications capabilities to protect dealers and subscribers against failure. Fundamental to our success and longevity is the fact that our inhouse team of software engineers develops services that are consistently ahead of the industry’s technology curve to help dealers fulfill the needs of their subscribers. For more information, contact Kevin Lehan, Director of Communications, 1.800.800.3624, ext. 6917 firstname.lastname@example.org.