Every business knows the pains of tracking their people and keeping them safe no matter their location. Gone are the days when email and text were adequate means of safeguarding employees and keeping tabs on their whereabouts. The answer: A reliable emergency notification system that’s equipped with functionality to pinpoint a worker’s exact location. But not all solutions are created equal.
A modern communication system should meet the following criteria:
- Deploy immediately
- Broadcast notifications across devices
- Utilize powerful technology such as interactive maps
Location, Location, Location…
Originally developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have been in civilian use since the 1990s. Most commuters are familiar with the technology as a way to navigate unfamiliar areas—few people miss the nightmare of folding a physical map.
But GPS goes well beyond the convenience of guiding us to our destination. The adoption of GPS as a way to triangulate on a worker’s location has revolutionized multiple industries and ultimately saved lives. In the event of an emergency, the system empowers first responders to determine precisely where an individual is and dispatch proper authorities to their location.
Interactive maps use GPS to track and monitor employees throughout an incident. This level of technology has multiple benefits: it provides insight into unfolding events, helps businesses keep their people safe, and enables organizations to fulfill their duty of care. Peace of mind is the top priority when it comes to workplace safety.
5 Ways GPS Optimizes Your Emergency Notification System
Put simply: GPS has been a game-changer. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Recent advances in GPS receivers make it possible to locate positions with unprecedented levels of accuracy with off-the-shelf technology.”
For a business that recently migrated from a manual or basic emergency communication system, the thought of adding another feature may feel like a burden. If you’ve gone from phone trees to automated, multi-modal technology, you may believe that’s enough.
But no solution is complete and fully equipped for safety without the addition of GPS and interactive maps. Here are five ways your business (and people) could benefit:
1. Track Your People
Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile and disconnected from a desk or office. A study by Global Workplace Analytics found that employees at Fortune 1000 companies are away from their desks 50–60 percent of the time. Those employees are traveling, working from home/remote, or attending meetings in various locations.
These workers may not be within the walls of your business, but you’re still responsible for their safety. Oftentimes, management has no idea if the environment in which their people are venturing into might be dangerous.
Here are some of the ways you can ensure safety for your people when adopting an emergency notification app that’s GPS-enabled:
- View interactive maps that track employees via their mobile devices
- Quickly notify any worker heading into a dangerous situation of potential risk
- Provide two-way communication to employees so they can signal for help, receive critical updates, and connect with coworkers in the event of an emergency
Without GPS or interactive maps, workers away from the office are essentially on their own. Employers must rely on employee feedback to know where their people are, their specific environment, and if assistance is needed.
With interactive maps, however, organizations can give their workers comfort that they’re protected wherever they are. If help is needed, management can react in real-time.
2. Track Calls for Help
One of the most impactful features of an interactive map: it enables employers to pinpoint the location of both the employee and the distress signal they send out through the app.
Say, for instance, a worker has just experienced a deadly earthquake halfway around the world. It’s a terrifying scenario, particularly if the individual is traveling alone. With a robust system, the employee should be able to send a “help” message via the mobile app with the location of that message pinned to the map.
Some emergency notification providers, like AlertMedia, offer threat intelligence features that give you a visual of worldwide developing threats through an interactive map. You can even set up the system to automatically alert you when a threat arises that could impact one or more of your people—by cross-referencing the threat radius with your people’s GPS locations.
With a robust threat monitoring system like this, your organization can see how your employees (local, in the field, or traveling on business), your offices, distribution routes, and business architecture might be impacted. As a result, employers using Global Alerts are able to both proactively communicate with their people and safeguard their assets.
A major earthquake might sound far-fetched (even though no region on Earth is exempt from natural disasters). But consider the likelihood of an employee being involved in an automobile accident—it’s one of the most common emergencies a worker might encounter.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates a car accident occurs every minute of every day. If you have employees who are on the road, an interactive map integrated into your emergency notification system could mean the difference between life and death.
Such a system also eliminates the need for the employee to have to provide their location details. AlertMedia’s threat monitoring engine constantly monitors your people’s real-time GPS locations and automatically alerts you when they could be in danger. Without a word exchanged, employers can help first responders pinpoint the employee’s exact location for the fastest response.
3. Track Lone Workers
Lone workers spend most of their day without close supervision or support. An estimated 53 million lone workers are employed in Canada, the United States, and Europe combined.
Lone worker roles can be found in industries such as home health care, real estate, property management, service/maintenance, and manufacturing. The safety of these workers is a primary concern for businesses across industries.
When employees are placed in danger, they can feel completely cut off and alone. It’s often up to them to call for help or protect themselves. They’re highly vulnerable and exposed. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Emergency notification systems with GPS-based interactive maps can keep lone workers on the radar wherever they go. Analysis firm Berg Insight predicts lone worker protection programs, which rely on GPS or mobile phone technology, will rise from 500,000 in 2017 to around 1.1 million by 2022. Clearly, there’s urgent need for a solution that allows lone workers to signal for help without pushing a button.
SafeSignal by AlertMedia is one such product. A robust emergency communication system will also come with a feature that allows workers to signal for help from a locked phone. With SafeSignal, the user plugs a bright yellow tether into their mobile phone’s audio jack. When removed, an alarm instantly triggers and notifies the AlertMedia Monitoring Center who then dispatches the proper authorities.
GPS via this lone worker safety app allows first responders to find them, along with pre-inputted personal info such as clothing, building number, and/or car description.
4. Track Events
Whether you have employees on the road or everyone works in a single location, it’s impossible to predict every “what-if” scenario that can occur in and around the workplace.
Perhaps you’re worried about workplace violence or criminal activity in the vicinity. Or maybe you’re concerned about natural disasters, hazardous spills, fires, or a terrorist attack. Regardless, you need to keep your people safe. The 24-hour news circuits are great for breaking news, but you shouldn’t be relying on media to keep your employees out of harm’s way.
Interactive maps enable companies to track an incident on a map to better see those events in proximity to offices and employees. When you understand the risk in context with the location of your assets and people, you can respond more effectively. Systems like AlertMedia allow you to see—for each threat—exactly which people and locations are impacted. Then you can easily draft a notification which will only go to those impacted.
A business might also want to make use of a central hub or “Event Page,” which an emergency notification solution should provide. These pages serve as a valuable resource during an unfolding event where a business can post disaster updates, upload videos/photos, and communicate a recovery plan.
5. Create Location-Based Groups
Finally, interactive maps with GPS help companies segment their populations by location. This is effective when a certain group may be in harm’s way, such as with a chemical spill, fire, or natural disaster. Employers can divide the company by location or even project team, giving them laser accuracy in their focus.
This is also where AlertMedia’s Global Alerts are valuable. A business can enter employee home addresses to isolate a group that’s geographically more impacted than other staff members. The system can be used to keep other staff up to date on what’s going on with their coworkers and company without looping them into the more critical and detailed notifications.
Creating groups like this also enables targeted automatic alerts. For example, let’s say you create a group for your company’s San Francisco office. If a wildfire arises that might impact that office, AlertMedia can automatically alert everyone in that group of the potential threat—before you even wake up in the morning.
Location-based services with your emergency notification solution should come with geofencing capability. This technology allows employers to quickly and easily drag a perimeter around a certain area to include a specific audience.
Looking for a GPS-enabled emergency notification solution?
AlertMedia is the leader in mass notification software. Our reliable, two-way emergency notification system utilizes GPS technology with interactive maps. AlertMedia’s local threat monitoring engine keeps you informed on what threats are impacting your people, and automatic alerts can warn you of threats immediately when they arise.