This blog post features an interview with Status Solutions’ General Manager, Danielle Myers, and her unique thoughts and advice on the past, present and future of mass notification.
What are the most important things that security managers, leaders and professionals need to know about mass notifications technology and performance in recent times?
Mass notification is a tactic used to achieve situational awareness by ensuring real-time information is delivered in various methods to those most likely to be affected. Knowing what is going on around you and using that information for better risk management is the goal of situational awareness.
With that being said, integration and automation are two essential components that should be coupled with mass notification to achieve true situational awareness. Stand-alone alarms with nothing to prompt action are useless and inefficient. Today’s technology allows these alarms to be easily integrated for centralized monitoring, alerting and reporting. Those previously useless alarms can now be used for mass notification to send texts, phone calls and emails in order to send critical data to the right people so they can address an unfolding situation appropriately. Integration allows for the ability to maximize the capabilities of already existing systems for smarter risk management. Automation is imperative because it eliminates much of the human aspect of mass notification by automatically sending real-time, detailed notifications to the right individuals. In an emergency situation, first responders need to notify the right people, with as much information they can, as soon as possible. But, in high pressure scenarios an individual’s fine motor skills diminish, hindering the ability to do something as simple as dialing a phone number. Automation provides redundancy, reduces response times and ultimately saves lives.
What’s driving interest in notification technology and methods in recent years? Where do you feel the demand for better technology and performance is heading for such technology?
Bad things are happening, there’s no other way to put it. Every other week on the news we see stories about school shootings, building fires, campus attacks, you name it; the reality is that people are scared. With each day, more and more people are realizing that emergency situations can be mitigated if they had more information about what is going on, and they’re starting to do something about it.
The world’s communication environment is constantly changing, along with the expectations of consumers. The expectation of today’s technology is that any system can be unified into a single platform to ensure that critical data can be collected, processed, analyzed and then delivered to the proper individual(s) who can then appropriately address a situation. These individuals are likely “on the go” so mobility is crucial to the notification strategy. This expectation of converging disparate technology and creating mobility has become a demand with today’s technology and will continue to improve, making it easier to proactively address situations in real-time.
What are some steps that security managers and compliance officers can do to improve their policies, procedures and infrastructure when it comes to mass notifications technology? How can they prepare for the future and what can we expect in the next three to five years?
Mass notification technology impacts everyone in any type of organization. When improving mass notification policies and procedures it’s important to get input from all parties involved. This can be done by identifying a safety task force, individuals from every division of your facility, not just individuals involved in safety and security. For example, a safety task force at a school would include resource officers, teachers, students, parents, local law enforcement, etc. The bottom-line is we don’t know what we don’t know. Bringing together this diverse group of individuals will give you the opportunity to continuously improve by learning about different perspectives and possible solutions.
It can be tough to keep up with the constant upgrades and innovations, but technology is only going to get better in years to come. To ensure you are proactive in combating safety and security issues, choose a technology partner dedicated to innovation. Technology never stops evolving and neither should the systems within your facility. Select a partner that offers a platform that will constantly improve and grow with today’s technology and your facility’s needs. This will allow you to maximize initial technology investments for years to come.Are there any other thoughts you have in regard to this subject?
America is currently experiencing some fairly significant gaps in safety and security, specifically in our school districts. School safety is not a glamorous topic, but it is a reality that needs to be addressed. According to a Gallup poll, 3 in 10 parents are concerned for their children’s safety at school. Discussing this issue doesn’t solve anything; parents need to take action. Our children are the most precious gift. We are involved in football games, Girl Scout cookie sales, the book fair, countless permission slips, homecoming dances, packing lunches every day, the list goes on. Detaching ourselves from our children’s safety at school simply does not make sense and is quite foolish.As a mother myself, I talk to a lot of moms and we tend to leave safety matters to school districts and local authorities. We trust these people, as we should, but we know our kids and we need to think about the total picture and get involved. Every community contains the resources and passion to improve our children’s safety; it’s just a matter of finding the right people to make it happen. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to change “I could’ve done something” into “I did something.?”
Status Solutions’ General Manager