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Check social media any day of the week, and you’ll find hordes of customers praising or condemning an organization for how they responded to a crisis.

And for good reason: How a company communicates when people are at risk can make the difference between life and death, hero and foe, profit and loss.

When facing an imminent threat to your operations or people’s welfare, you need a way to reach multiple audiences in an instant — e.g. customers, employees, first responders, the community at large — ensuring they receive critical instructions, wherever they are.

Below we highlight five mass notification challenges and how to counter them:

Mass Notification Messaging Roadblocks & Dead Ends

Let’s say that following a malfunction, natural disaster or active shooter incident, you issue critical instructions with just minutes to spare before people could really get hurt. Those instructions, however, will fail to reach recipients if they can’t get past a number of obstacles:

  • Distractions like noise
  • Physical impairment (sight, hearing, or other)
  • Lack of access to technology (like dead phones)
  • Language barriers

… and so on.

The only way to ensure no message or recipient falls through the cracks is to layer your mass notifications in various formats and vehicles, including:

  • PC alerts
  • Audio public address
  • LED signage and visual PA
  • Video display, digital signage, video paging
  • Unified, integrated communications
  • Two-way radio integration
  • Email, SMS, pagers, social media

Inaccessible Action Plan

If your crisis management plan is gathering dust in a binder and employees aren’t clear on who needs to do what, is that any better than having no plan?

At best, we know your organization won’t be able to act instantly if employees need time to find the plan, digest it, and figure out what comes next.

Instead, reduce risks and potential loss by having an automated plan, with pre-programmed multimedia alerts to reach various audiences.

Emergency response times carry big consequences. Make sure yours is as immediate as possible.

Language Barriers

What if at-risk recipients you’re trying to alert don’t understand English? Thankfully, that’s an easy issue to solve — if you plan for it.

Eliminate language barriers by deploying pre-programmed response buttons, integrating other languages into pre-written messages, and adding language-neutral alerts (like flashing lights, symbols, or alarms) into your communications mix.

Employee Assistance

In some scenarios (like school buildings), you’ll need employees to check in and confirm they’re safe, or call for help while on the move.

Enable them to do so quickly through a tap on their mobile device, handy “Help” or “I’m OK” buttons, and integrated GPS information. Whatever solution you choose, it’s important to ensure no one’s left behind or without assistance.

Budget Constraints

We get it: It’s hard to justify new mass notification technology when money is tight. Keep in mind your emergency response and mass notification strategies don’t have to be an all-or-nothing effort.

Start small with what you already have — computers, digital displays, overhead PA and such — and have that technology double as synchronized mass notification devices. Gradually add what you need as funds become available.

Need a handy list of mass notification scenarios and solutions? Grab one here.

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