I wanted to break-out this brief discussion so you can get a head start on this important issue. I have seen this go wrong and I do not want it to happen to you. I have documented many additional mass notification best practices in the post, ‘Marty’s Favorite Mass Notification System Tips, Best Practices and Lessons Learned’.
Now is the time to plan! During extremely time-sensitive disruptive events, wasting precious seconds can mean the difference between life and death! I strongly suggest you meet with management and the Incident Command Team as soon as possible. Develop procedures detailing how you will respond to extremely time-sensitive disruptions that require you to quickly alert employees and other groups. Make sure HR, Communications, Safety and Security are part of the meeting.
Imagine you received a time sensitive alert regarding a tornado, earthquake, tsunami or active shooter either from your situational awareness tool or from a phone call, email or text from an employee:
- What are your immediate next steps?
- Do you clearly know what to do and who to notify?
- Do you have a tested process in place? It is essential.
- Communication decisions must be made very quickly, but you must get it right.
- Are you authorized to send the notification or does management must review it? What if they are not available? To repeat, what if they are not available?
- Remember, every second counts. It can make the difference between life and death.
Other scenarios such as a hurricane, winter storm or union strike have longer time frames to respond, but you must have a communications strategy prepared for those as well. After your team decides the proper procedures for each type of impact, you must document them so there is no confusion at time of crisis.