Emergency Crisis Communication Channels – Basic and Beyond

This information is from my new book, The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide: How to Build Real-World Resilience and Unleash Exciting New Value Streams. Happily it is now Amazon’s #1 searched business continuity book. I hope you enjoy the chapter. and the book.

Business Continuity Program Action Tips

Emergency Crisis Communication Channels – Basic, Beyond and Way Beyond

A handy-dandy list of my favorite communication channels. You might want to consider using some or all of these to reach people.

Some are basic and others may be considered innovative such as a favorite of mine – PTT (push to talk). The more methods you have to reach people the better your odds are to be able to connect and communicate important information.

Use these and add your own.

Voice:

  • Work desk
  • Work mobile
  • Home phone
  • Personal Mobile
  • Google Voice, Skype or other IP phones
  • Satellite phone (Sat phone)
  • Zello, Mororola, walkie talkie type push to talk (PTT) apps (many can also connect to two-way radios). As an aside my family is hooked on Zello. We use it every day for non-crisis communications. It is fun and efficient.

Email:

  • Work email
  • Personal email

SMS – text messaging

  • Work mobile device
  • Personal mobile device

Push Notifications

  • Some mass notification systems include apps that allow for push notifications with geo-fencing capabilities so you can dynamically send messages to people within a certain geographic area.  More details on this benefit are in the technology part of this book.
  • Cable TV – crawl on bottom line. I currently use this as a communication channel for my employees.

Radio Broadcast – many people depend on radio during disruptive events.

Public address system

Alarm system

Other communication tools to consider:

  • Desktop alerts – a small widget that allows you to send alerts to thousands of user’s desktops in seconds. A must-have in a crisis, such as an active shooter. My favorite mass notification tools include this feature/benefit.
  • Slack – I use it for instant messaging and much more. I like using it for disruptive events and business as usual communication and collaboration. It is getting very popular
  • Yammer – organizations are now catching on to this collaborative communications tool
  • Skype for Business – instant messenger, voice, video conference, auto-attendant
  • Twitter – Twitter – Twitter – it can offer great value if used in an intelligent manner
  • Facebook organization private page. Zuck is focusing on additional ways to help people report their status during a crisis
  • XML, JSON and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds – these are great methods to send and receive news. They have free readers for IOS and Android. An incredible number of sites allow you to access their RSS feeds
  • Face-time voice, videoconferencing. Fun fact – I had a part in bringing to market one of the earliest desktop video-conferencing systems in the 1990’s named VIDEOVU
  • Virtual presence meeting places – Second Life, SoCoCo
  • Digital signage boards – They are valuable when employees are moving around your locations. Messages can be dynamically pushed to the boards through an application programming interface (API) from various software systems including my favorite mass notification systems.
  • Pagers – I will bet you $1 there are still a bunch out there. I know some hospitals that still use them. Why not, they are reliable.
  • Smoke signals and drums. Oh, I am just kidding, OR am I? I can think of at least one influential use-case where it is being used to signal an important appointment of a person.

New methods of communication are being developed all the time. Keep your eyes open to interesting new channels, apps and Internet of Thing devices that you can use for crisis communication. Amazingly, computers can be controlled with brainwaves and eye movement which is wonderful for people that cannot move their hands. At some point in the not too distant future direct mind-to-mind control will become a reality.

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