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Mass Notification Systems and the Need for Preparedness

Meghan-Minnella-195-250.jpgMass notification systems have evolved from weather alerts to all-hazard notifications. Historically, these systems used outdoor warning sirens and indoor paging systems. They relied on sound as the warning method and did not provide any intelligence on the event and actions a person in harm’s way should take.

Today, mass notification must include personal alerting and collaboration solutions to minimize the loss of life and property. This strategy requires a multi-channel mass notification approach to leverage the latest technology, such as outdoor sirens, indoor and outdoor paging systems, text messages, emails, phone calls, computer alerts, website notifications, signage, and social media alerts.

Communicating with Dispersed Employees

Many businesses in the restaurant, entertainment, and hospitality industries have had to let go or furlough their employees. Communicating with the affected individuals regarding locally mandated regulations, closures, unemployment, COVID-19 cases, and re-opening plans is crucial to an organization’s success.

A multi-channel communication strategy ensures all employees receive the correct message. These capabilities allow a security administrator to send targeted communications across multiple platforms—including text message, email, voice call, mobile app push, and even social media—to reach employees within seconds.

Ensuring the Health and Safety of Workers

Mass notification systems can also be adapted to allow for two-way communication to occur. The ability to prompt a conversation and configure a message for recipients to respond to can help organizations identify and mitigate potential risks. The security administrator can send questions, such as: “Are you experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19? Have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19? Do you need help?”


Communicating with employees is not the only advantage of these types of mass notification systems. Security professionals can use the multi-functional capabilities of emergency platforms to enhance employee safety and well-being. For example, security can help stand up a mass notification platform that also performs COVID-19 self-assessments combined with anonymous tip features and resources for employee wellness and resiliency—information on testing sites, emergency operation plans, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

As communication devices evolve, mass notification platforms continue to play an essential role in an organization’s safety and security plan. When assessing mass notification systems and determining which one to deploy, security professionals need to consider how stakeholders will receive accurate alerts both on-site and at home.

Our way of life and daily activities have changed as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The modern work environment has shifted across all industries—forcing security professionals and organizational managers to pivot their communication strategies quickly. With workforces displaced and many employees logging on from home, it’s more important than ever to be able to share updated information and alerts on public health and safety risks.

Meghan Minnella is digital marketing coordinator at Talkaphone.