Mass Notification Systems are important for communities (meaning anything from school campuses to cities) and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you NEED in a Mass Notification System. There is a lot of information out there, and a lot of that information can seem too technical for you to understand. We would like to take some time to break down what the ideal Mass Notification System will offer.
Mass Notification Systems can alert your group of people about severe weather, school and/or business closings, fire drills, active shooters, or Amber Alerts. When looking for the best system, make sure to ask about accuracy. A lot of companies will offer to send you automatic data analysis breakdowns and in-depth reports. A good question to ask is “Can you just send me how many people were actually notified?” Data is great, but sometimes less is more. If an emergency arises, the last thing you want to be doing is digging through pages of data to ensure that everyone in your geofencing area has been notified.
Geo-fencing is also very important. Geofencing is the parameters that you determine for Mass Notification. For example, a college campus can set a geofence for just their campus or they can choose to set the parameters to include nearby areas that are heavily populated by their students and faculty. Your Mass Notification System should also offer you the opportunity to set locations outside of your norms. If you’re a k-12 school and you want to set a geofence for a location where you’ll be having a field trip, you should be able to do so easily. If you’re a college and you know you’ll be taking students to study abroad for a set amount of time, your Mass Notification System should be global.
Does this Mass Notification System offer Cap Alerts? This means, can it access LED signs, loudspeakers, and TV’s? This is important because not everyone checks or hears their phone when notifications are sent. The more ways to notify a community, the better.
When shopping around for a Mass Notification System, don’t be afraid to ask questions. People’s lives depend on the decisions you make, and you should be well informed. But do not let fear dictate what decisions you make. Scare tactics are rampant, and they should not be used as a marketing tool; but unfortunately, companies are still trying to sell based off of fear. Companies that have a great product don’t need to scare you into utilizing their resources.
You should also compare and contrast. Get 3-4 quotes, do the research on the company, and find out how accessible a company is to you. Call them a few times. do they call you back in a timely manner? Do they respond to your emails? If you’re choosing a Mass Notification System for the first time or you’re looking to replace one, a key component to having a successful relationship with the company you choose is communication. Getting an instant quote online is great when you’re narrowing down the companies you want to work with, but make sure that you can talk to an actual person after your initial online inquiry.