Your Essential Emergency Notification Tools
None of us like to imagine that we will ever face a dire emergency. It’s in our nature to be optimistic and hope for the best. Bad things happen to other people, on other continents, not in our backyard. Although we have countless examples of horrific things happening just around the corner we place our blinkers on and go about our day, immune to the possibility of any disasters befalling us. On the other hand, one doesn’t want to live in total fear of the worst things that could happen and end up hiding under our beds forever. We need to find a happy balance where we are at least prepared for scenarios where a clear head and a specific set of useful steps could save lives.
It starts with having a plan of action regarding sending a mass notification or emergency notification system to warn people of an imminent threat. You want to be able to get the word out quickly and succinctly to all concerned. It is wise to have pre-programmed a series of emergency alerts that can be sent out in the event of any conceivable threat.
One of the most common types of emergency notifications results from severe weather patterns. The Red Cross offers a comprehensive list of all emergencies and how to prepare for them. On the weather front, they note floods, winter storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms, heat waves, tornadoes and wildfires as emergencies that most certainly require decisive action to inform the inhabitants in that particular geographic area. If you are living along the shoreline and a deadly nor’easter is bringing a “Sandy” style super storm to your door you need to send an emergency message to parents to urgently fetch their children from school or evacuate a specific neighborhood.
Perhaps you need to send a snowstorm message to parents that school will be closing or to a congregation that the morning service has been postponed due to the inclement weather. You need to have access to a system that will spread the word quickly and effectively to your specific group. It’s great to have a text template for any possible weather scenario and the relevant message that might need to be sent to your community.
Worst Case Scenarios
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines a scary guide on all of the possible emergencies that face humanity - from natural disasters to biochemical terrorist attacks. Whatever the situation you can provide a positive outcome for people if you can warn them timelessly or offer a solution through your emergency notification system. The warning can be something as simple as informing people that a coyote was spotted in the vicinity and to keep indoors. Sadly, in recent times we have seen the need for a group text that stated, “we have an active shooter situation on the campus – take cover.” These tragic events have dominated the global news and you want to make sure you are ready for real-time communications to your user community to minimize casualties and fatalities.
When crafting your emergency messages, it is good to stipulate the type of emergency being faced and its level of severity (1-3) in your text. Different emergency levels require different actions.
• Level 1 -Minor emergency/critical incident: This emergency is a small event that has probably been contained and the emergency alert message serves as an update on what action to take. E.g. there was a small fire in the science lab. No one was hurt but children need to be picked up from school. This incident could be resolved with limited outside assistance.
• Level 2 -Major emergency/major crisis: An event that could potentially affect an entire community that requires immediate relocation or serious action. It is a situation that will most definitely require external assistance. (explosion, fire, major flooding, power outage)
• Level 3 -Disaster: A catastrophic incident bringing possible loss of life or massive destruction. (terrorism, natural disaster, hazardous material spills etc)
Send to Save Lives
Yes, we have the loud, government amber alerts to notify us about threats but it is vital that your emergency alert that you send out speaks to a simple action that can be taken, in your microcosm, to avert disaster. Your ultimate aim with sending an emergency notification is to keep your community safe.
When responding to an emergency situation in your immediate vicinity remember:
• DON’T PANIC
• Do not try to assist any victim if you are in danger. E.g. the building has gone up in flames or there are gunmen firing on a crowd.
• Learn your emergency numbers like 0 or 911. For the fire department, rescue squad, ambulance, police or poison control center call 1-800-222-1222. Clearly state your name, the location and the number of people.
• Never move an injured person unless it is a life-threatening situation. Try to keep the victim quiet, warm and still.
As you start to put together your emergency response policy for your organization one of the pivotal functions will be the way you send out your emergency notifications. Call-Em-All delivers automated options to ensure that you can get the word out in time, to keep your community informed and safe. Our easy to use solution will facilitate the timely sending out of all your emergency alerts with minimal manual effort.
Ron Kinkade is the Director of Marketing at Call-Em-All, an automated calling and group texting company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Ron has more than 15 years of experience with a proven track record of success. Ron is a graduate of Illinois State University.