Strategies for implementing proactive & reactive mass notification
Mass notification systems aid organizational communication with applications in a number of sectors, from university and school communities to healthcare systems. Sending out accurate, timely alerts can directly affect the safety and security posture of an organization.
“There are no other level one trauma centers near us, so mass communication is one of the big technologies that we use here,” says Jerry Dumond, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Authority at Sparrow Health System, an organization based in Lansing, Michigan that serves a number of communities in the mid-Michigan region.
Prioritizing mass communication alerts
Alerts sent out via mass notification span a number of topics, from severe weather affecting facilities or traveling employees to a parking structure with a gas leak or a security incident on or near the organization’s campus, according to Dumond. By prioritizing which alerts are sent to certain employee groups, security leaders can avoid alert fatigue caused by their mass notification system.
“It’s not overly difficult for a health system. We’ve been using pagers and other things for a long time to communicate with people. This just takes the messaging and gives it to a broader audience,” adds Dumond. “We’ve opened up the system to any caregiver who works for Sparrow. And they have the ability to sign up for numerous types of alerts. All of leadership at Sparrow Health is required to be in our mass notification system, and that has been received very well. Contacts get numerous alerts depending on their level in the organization.”
“We have a tiered approach,” says Dumond. “There are certain messages that 24 hours a day, you’re getting the alert. There are other messages that are important, but I can address them tomorrow. Most of our scenarios are already pre-built, and depending on the nature of the incident, that decides whether you get a phone call or email and sometimes desk calls. For others, it’s just an email or text message.”