12 Steps to Getting Started with an Emergency Notification System

Simple planning saves you time and improves effectiveness.

Implementing any new technology can be intimidating—especially if your organization has been accustomed to a particular way of doing things for quite some time. Change can be hard.

With the right software and partner, however, the administrative burden of implementation and maintenance is low, if not nonexistent. You should be supported by an epic customer success team and fully equipped with an easy-to-use, innovative emergency notification system that delivers quick, reliable, and secure notifications.

Whether you are still evaluating the landscape or you are getting ready to implement your chosen partner, this step-by-step guide will give you an idea of what to expect during the implementation process, along with some tips for getting started on the right foot.

12 Steps to Getting Started with an Emergency Notification System

By planning ahead, your implementation of an emergency notification system can be pain-free and more effective at keeping your people safe, informed, and connected.

  1. Connect with your Customer Success Manager

Get to know your Customer Success Manager. That person will work with you side by side to ensure your account is set up based on how you’ll be using the system, meeting all requirements for your organization’s structure. Your Success Manager should load your people into the system, group them in a way that streamlines notifications, and help your create pre-planned templates or events. And then together, you can create a rollout plan, depending on how your company plans to use the emergency notification system.

  1. Appoint Your Admins

Who will be accessing the system to send notifications and managing incoming messages?

Admins can send secure, targeted mass notifications to people over any channel: text, voice, mobile app, email, and social media. Through two-way notifications, admins are able to stay connected to an audience while monitoring the safety of their people throughout the entirety of an event. With an accessible communication system available to your admins from any device, your team has the tools to approach and respond to critical events deliberately, resolving issues quickly and efficiently.

You can assign admins different levels of access, defining permissions by what’s useful to your organization. After you’ve added your admins to the account, assign their communication responsibility by indicating if they should have access to only a particular set of groups, people, or locations.

  1. Add People to Your System

Your Customer Success Manager should handle the first import for you and make sure your people are organized in a way that makes it easy for you to reach the right audience at the right time.

You should then explore the other options available to you—for example, your emergency notification vendor should be able to create a customized registration process, where users can opt-in to receive your communications or can simply sign themselves up. It should also be straightforward to add, remove, and update users directly through the interface. Lastly, define a permanent solution by syncing with an existing contact database you have in place via an API.

  1. Learn How to Send a Notification

Sending a notification is the most important feature offered by emergency notification system vendors. You’ll want to know how to send a notification immediately upon purchasing the software so you can be prepared to contact people if an emergency arises tomorrow.

Sending a notification should be no more than 3 fast and simple clicks so that in a hurry or during an emergency, you will know exactly what you need to do to get your message out to your people.

To continue getting familiar with the process of sending a notification, send practice notifications using different types of functionalities —like survey or requesting a read confirmation, and across the different channels: text, voice, app push, social media, and any custom channels you have.

  1. Create Groups

Groups are at the core of a successful configuration of your emergency notification system. Thoughtful grouping and hierarchy structures allow you to quickly send targeted notifications to an audience based on any criteria you define—like office location, department, or role. Groups are often arranged automatically, however you choose, by leveraging custom fields in user records.

  1. Map Locations

If location is important to your organization’s structure, you’ll want to be sure to assign your groups a location. Alternatively, you can create a group solely based on location—as a parent group. Once you have your group and location assignments organized, your emergency notification system should offer a real-time map view of your audience based on groups. This will allow you to send notifications right from the map—grab an audience in an affected area via geo-fence, or from the group in the location itself.

  1. Integrate Existing Systems

If you already have a contact database in place, for example Active Directory or any other HRIS, etc., you will want to coordinate your technical team with the vendor’s technical staff to get the systems synced. Additionally, if you have any other systems that are an important part of your operations, you can leverage your emergency notification system to streamline communications across your entire organization.

  1. Send an Introduction Email to Your People

Once you have all your contacts in the system, it’s a good idea to send an introduction. Let your people know they will be receiving emergency notifications through a new system, and they will have the opportunity to update their contact information and customize which channels they would like to receive communications.

  1. Familiarize Your People with their Profile and Preferences

Each user within your emergency notification system should have access to their own secure account, where they can log in, maintain their contact information, and manage their user preferences. Of course, their view will be limited compared to an admin’s view, but they might enjoy the option to set their communication preferences so they can choose how they would like to receive notifications from you.

  1. Create Notification Templates

Creating frequently-used notification as templates will help you save time and respond to events faster by planning and saving your communications so they’re ready to go. Consider your most anticipated emergency events, and regular communications you may anticipate needing quick access to. You can create templates for things like “Office Closure,” “Networks Down,” or “Snow Storm”—whatever events could threaten your organization, or notifications you plan to use regularly, like “Lunch is here!”.

  1. Subscribe to Sources—Keep Your People Safe

In addition to sending notifications and managing incoming messages, make sure you have access to a 24/7 monitoring team that will alert admins of any potential threats in your area that could impact your business, such as inclement weather or any other data source you would like to have tracked. Subscribe to sources that could impact your business, and have peace of mind that your organization’s safety is being monitored before an event even occurs.

  1. Determine Your Reporting Needs

The reports dashboard in your emergency notification system will help you monitor trends in your communications and events, and see how your organization reacts around particular events. You should be able to download in-depth reports at the event, user, group, location, and notification level over any time period.

You’ll want to think about what kind of insights you’ll want access to, download a few reports to see what they entail, and perhaps talk with your Customer Success Manager to find out what the best report is for you and your organization’s needs.

What can you expect from the best emergency notification vendor when it comes to implementation?

With AlertMedia, you can expect a quick and easy implementation with minimal burden, epic customer support, and to be up and using the platform within hours, not days. Our out-of-the-box experience and naturally intuitive interface requires little training, and our partner-oriented approach empowers you with technical, tactical, and strategic resources that help you get started fast.

Want to roll out a pain-free emergency notification system?

With customers across 80+ countries, AlertMedia knows how to implement systems without burdening our customers. We deliver epic customer support to go with our easy-to-use, innovative software experience that works across all of your devices.

Technology

Our world-class software sends quick, reliable, and secure notifications.

Support

Our customers benefit from our deep expertise and hands-on approach.

Innovation

Our product and engineering teams are redefining mass communications.