Building Safety with Mass Notification
The coronavirus forced many organizations to close their normal facilities to comply with the guidelines established by local and federal governments to maintain social distancing. Now that employees have come back to work or established a hybrid work schedule, this has presented challenges for facility managers and security staff with buildings not at capacity every day. Property can become vulnerable to theft and damage that can further disrupt operations. Organizations can maintain building safety with mass notification alerts to staff members that something may be wrong at any time day or night.
Mass notifications offer the ability to trigger automatic alerts to key team members in a variety of ways when they are remote or after hours. In this blog post, we’ll outline the different triggers organizations can configure and the delivery methods that will be most effective to protect their buildings with mass notification.
Contact Closures and the IoT
The Internet of Things is a crucial component of mass notification. Devices and systems that leverage contact closures can be used to establish automatic triggers that send mass notifications. A water sensor in a critical data center can alert teams that there is a potential flooding issue. Fire alarms triggered within a building can be connected to a mass notification system to send messages to a safety team when it is activated. Door access systems can notify people if someone enters the building who is not supposed to be there. The configuration possibilities can be customized for the devices and systems that are most relevant to your organization. The sooner someone is notified of a potential issue, the sooner a response can be deployed to help mitigate the damage.
If there is an incident that requires intervention, it can be helpful for security teams and facility managers to be able to see what may be wrong. Mass notification systems can include links to view live security feeds from cameras within a building to help staff assess situations while they are remote. Cameras can also be set up to trigger mass notifications when they detect motion. This will help alert facility and security personnel if people are in the buildings when they are not supposed to be and protect assets from potential theft.
Exterior Digital Signage
In addition to getting information about what’s going on within a building, tools outside of a building can be used to keep people informed on the status of operations. Similar to how digital signage for schools works in notifying general announcements to both school staff and students, outdoor digital signage can relay messages from a mass notification system to let people know that a facility is closed until further notice. It can also direct people to where they can stay up to date on the status of your organization. This can prevent people from attempting to enter your building when there is no one there. This might be able to help you redirect attention toward any kind of safety hazard that the building might have (like any kind of ongoing construction work in the building).
Mass Notification Delivery Methods
With people working remotely, mobile devices will become the primary way for people to view alerts from mass notification systems. Alerts can be sent via SMS text message, push notification to a mobile app, email, recorded audio message or desktop notification. The more channels you leverage the more likely it is that someone will see an alert and respond to it in a timely manner.
Notifications can also help remote workers collaborate on responses to potential incidents. Following notification, a select group of people can receive an invitation to join a collaboration space via tools like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams and conference calls. This helps bring together the right people quickly to make decisions on how to best address a potential problem.
Organizations must protect their most valued assets. In addition to its people, technology, records and equipment are at risk after hours, during power outages, or onsite threats. Mass notification can help provide valuable insights into what is happening in buildings when it is not possible to monitor facilities in person 24/7.
For more information on how to leverage mass notification to maintain campus security, contact us.