The most important step a business can take in an emergency is quickly informing and alerting employees, customers, and other key stakeholders of the situation. Communication is a key part of emergency response and is often included as part of business continuity plans.
An emergency notification system is a platform designed to distribute important information to members of an organization during a crisis. It ensures that you can contact all individuals connected with your company and ensure everyone has the information they need.
Most emergency notification systems use automated texts, emails, or social media to distribute information to employees and stakeholders. These systems allow control over what messages are sent and who receives them.
In general, emergency notification systems are easy to set up require relatively little work. That being said, there are a few things you should do at least once a year to make sure your system will work as expected in a crisis situation.
1. Make Sure Employees Understand Your Emergency Notification System
It’s important that your employees understand how your emergency notification system works so they can know what to expect when receiving an emergency alert. Education on the system is a great idea for introducing new users and refreshing seasoned staff. One tactic is to periodically remind staff of the system, especially during the first year that it’s implemented. After briefing your staff, you can announce upcoming testing.
2. Test Your Emergency Notification System
Routine testing of your emergency notification system is critical. This will allow you to work out any kinks in the system that could prevent information from getting to your stakeholders. Whether there is a technical issue or complication due to user error, it is better to find out what doesn’t work during a test than during an actual emergency.
3. Keep All Employee Contact Information Updated
Having correct contact information is critical to the effectiveness of an emergency notification system. You can implement a process for reviewing and updating employee information regularly to ensure the system is sending alerts to the correct phone numbers and email addresses. If you have a regular employee newsletter or bulletin board where information is posted, consider including a contact update form and remind employees to submit any changes. Sending quarterly reminders to employees to add new contact information is another way to keep the information current.
Establishing an emergency notification system is an integral part of business continuity preparation. If your business does not already have an emergency notification system in place, there are many different options available that can fit your specific needs.