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4 Features Security Pros Can Offer in Emergency Mass Notification Systems

Here are some of the features that security integrators should offer potential customers interested in emergency mass notification systems.

Emergency notification systems are an integral part of emergency safety plans, and they are essential to carrying out any such plans in an efficient manner.

Even in this day and age, it can be challenging to communicate with a wide array of people during an emergency, but mass notification systems (MNS) have made this possible.

Security integrators understand that MNS are not universal. They have to offer potential customers the right kind of  systems that are geared towards any specific security and safety needs.

Here are some of the security features that security integrators should offer potential customers interested in emergency notification systems:

GIS Mapping

GIS mapping is a crucial security feature that every system should, ideally, have. As the word mapping suggests, the system utilizes location settings to reach people based on their addresses or their presence within a geofence perimeter.

This feature comes in handy if customers wish to release a general mass notification. Amber alerts are a common example of mass notifications that utilize GIS mapping and geofencing capabilities.

It might not sound like something that should be counted as a security feature, but it comes in handy in many ways that ultimately help keep more people secure and informed.

This feature lends itself to improved communication during emergencies. It also means that the right people will be targeted, which increases the probability of successful emergency solutions being carried out.

Robust Enterprise Security

Enterprise security is a key part of any system that relies heavily on storing and keeping track of people and their data. A MNS has to be able to notify large groups of people at any given time, and this means that the system has to have constant access to a trove of information and data.

Enterprise security simply refers to the measures that can be put in place to reduce the likelihood of any unauthorized person gaining access to this stored data.

As far as data security goes, emergency mass notification systems have the vulnerability of having too many potential access points that cyber criminals can exploit. This is the reason why enterprise security is an important factor in selecting an emergency MNS.

Ideally, you should offer potential customers a MNS with enterprise security features that are in line with their risk management policies. This should be done regardless of whether they are incorporating a MNS into a school, a stadium, or an office building.

Also, keep in mind that physical security has a role that is just as important as any cybersecurity measure. Advise potential customers that all their physical security measures and emergency evacuation procedures should be flawless and efficient.

Companies and institutions should be encouraged to take advantage of access control systems and specialty-tailored commercial door locks to bolster their enterprise security and reduce the chance of external, or internal, breaches.

Multichannel Distribution

In this day and age, it is crucial that any MNS is equipped for multichannel distribution. The average customer probably won’t appreciate the importance of this, which is where a security integrator comes in. Essentially, their notification system should be able to send multiple messages through different communication channels.

If you are able to contact people on a wider range of channels, you potentially increase the number of people that you are able to reach. Also, you will simultaneously increase the likelihood that the emergency notification will be seen.

Multichannel distribution is hard to manage in a sense, which is why there are some systems that do not offer this feature. However, where security is concerned, I believe that it is a great feature to constantly recommend. Keep in mind that security also extends to their employees, students, patrons, etc.

Therefore, you want to make sure that they have a system in place that accommodates all these individuals. Some examples of the message distribution channels you should suggest include email, text message and mobile push notifications among others.

Two-Way Messaging

The need for clear lines of communication in an emergency should not be underestimated. In some cases, communication can be the very difference between life and death. The ability to send an alert with pertinent details during an emergency event can help curb the loss of life, but giving people the ability to respond to specific emergency notifications really elevates the bar when it comes to safety and security.

Imagine, if you will, that you are trying to survive an active shooter emergency occurring at a school, and students have already been notified of the situation at hand. If there were some students that were trapped somewhere inside the school, how beneficial would it be to know exactly where they are and know that they need help?

A two-way messaging feature entails much more than just sending a message and receiving a response. It allows the customer to really take control of their emergency safety plans and monitor the way things progress in an emergency.

Doing so means that all members of their organization will be kept secure at all times, and this helps boost overall security during an emergency.

The presence of features such as read-receipts are also vital in a system like this. It might sound like an insignificant feature, but it provides customers with further information to know who their emergency notifications have reached.

Primed with this information, customers will be able to take the extra step to try and communicate with individuals who might be unaware of impending danger.

Final Thoughts

Always remember to stress the fact that the presence of a mass notification system does not let customers off the hook when it comes to implementing other security measures. Physical security measures are meant to complement any MNS.

Also keep in mind that training is necessary for any MNS to continue to run smoothly, and every consumer should be made aware of this.

Ideally, consumers should take the time to practice with their employees, students, etc., at least every 3 months, so that everyone is knowledgeable of how to interact with emergency notifications. The best way to accomplish this is to advise them to work a training schedule in with their pre-existing emergency safety plans.


Ralph Goodman is the lead writer for United Locksmith’s Lock Blog.

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One response to “4 Features Security Pros Can Offer in Emergency Mass Notification Systems”

  1. Good article overall with some valid points but I would add that flexible data management is another feature a mass notification system must have. This means you should be able to easily add contacts through a variety of methods whether it is through syncing with a 3rd party database, uploading a file containing contact information, or allowing recipients to self-register. In addition, you should be able to easily update, add, or delete contacts on an on-going basis.

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