Emergency mass notification system needs vary across organizations.
As a result, the selection criteria can change drastically depending on the size and location of a college or university.
Despite the different challenges and solutions, there are a number of important factors that all educational institutions should keep in mind when selecting an emergency mass notification system.
Whether you already have an emergency notification system in place and are looking to expand or are considering longer-term future additions, considering the system’s ability to integrate is essential.
If your institution already has one or more products or systems in place, it’s crucial that the new system work well with those components, not only for cost effectiveness but to ensure a cohesive system overall.
Even if you’re looking to implement a system for the first time, think long term. Your organization will more than likely expand the system at some point, whether it’s with the same vendor or not.
Not considering the integration factor can cause problems down the road as you look to build out or add on to different system components.
Mass notification systems can range from simple to elaborate, and it’s easy to fixate on specific services or products when reviewing the different offerings.
Keep the big picture in mind, and always come back to your end goal. What are you looking to achieve with your emergency mass notification system?
In many cases the answer is comprehensive notification coverage.
Comprehensive notification coverage generally requires a variety of alerting methods to overcome obstacles that may prevent students, faculty, staff, or visitors from receiving an emergency alert. Where are students located when the emergency occurs? Do they have access to a computer or mobile device (and is it powered on)? Are they in an area where they can see or hear the alert? All of these are potential obstacles that can prevent your campus community from receiving an emergency alert.
The answer is to adopt a system that provides multiple communication channels for sending and receiving an emergency alert.