Monitoring: The First Component of Situational Awareness

Situational awareness refers to having real-time information about your organization’s operational status, especially the safety of associated people and property. In addition to emergency alerting, situational awareness also applies to business operations and making personnel aware of potential problems before they become costly disruptions.

Monitoring is the first component of situational awareness, enabling you to know when a triggering event occurs.

Life safety, security and environmental controls produce alarms when triggered by such events as a nurse call within a senior living facility or hospital, an intruder at a school, or a power generator failure in a hotel or manufacturing facility, etc. Whatever the triggering event – from the mundane blown fuse to the extreme life-or-death scenario – information about it must be conveyed in real time to the people most likely to be affected, as well as those responsible for investigation and remediation.

While multiple alarm systems may be at work in a given facility, they usually operate in silos, independent of one another. Unmonitored systems generally provide only local alerting in the form of buzzers, lamps or annunciation panels. In addition, training and support often are complicated, duplicated and therefore inefficient when managing disparate systems, contributing to human error. In fact, research shows that lacking or inadequate situational awareness is one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.

But monitoring triggering events from a central point via the integration of existing alarm systems provides the opportunity for faster, more efficient communication and emergency response – plus the opportunity for early intervention.

Again, if you can read, hear and see what’s going on around you, then you and/or your staff can take the appropriate actions to address an unfolding situation. There’s no time to waste if people or property could be threatened.

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