5 Ways Interactive Maps Improve Emergency Alert Systems

By May 23, 2017Uncategorized
interactive maps improve emergency alert systems

Not All Emergency Notification Systems Are The Same

Does your company have a modern mass communication system? When I say “modern,” I am referring to one that doesn’t rely solely on email or phone; one that is able to contact employees on multiple devices simultaneously; one that can be activated in a matter of seconds and reach its intended audience within minutes. I’m going to add another feature in the mix because it is so invaluable when it comes to reaction time – interactive maps.Interactive maps use GPS to track and monitor employees and events – not in a creepy, big brother way but in a way that ensures employees are safe and accounted for no matter where they work. GPS can provide more immediate location information to help first responders to act quickly when seconds count. Think of it this way: if you were working in a location where an emergency struck, would you be uncomfortable or thankful that your employer was sending help to your exact location within seconds of the incident?

Have You Automated Your Emergency Notifications? How This One Step Can Save Lives

The Impact of GPS

For organizations who have recently migrated from a manual or basic emergency notification system, the thought of adding another feature may seem unnecessary. If you’ve gone from phone trees to automated, multi-modal technology, you may believe that’s enough. It’s a huge step forward and should be commended, but when it comes to the safety of your employees, is there ever too much helpful technology?

Related: Emergency Alert Systems Both Then and Now

Technology moves at breakneck speed and while some may be superfluous, there are some advances that are worth the investment. Think of how GPS has changed our world. It has virtually eliminated the need for paper road maps (or having to refold them). It has changed the way the police solve crimes and apprehend criminals.

In only a matter of a few years it has completely altered cultural norms, where people find friends, businesses and any physical location in a matter of seconds with step-by-step directions on how to get there (along with the best routes to avoid traffic and construction). I could go on about weather maps, tracking packages, finding a ride, and home deliveries, but you get the idea.

5 Things GPS Enables You to Do with Your Emergency Notification System

GPS was a game changer. It has revolutionized our world and how we do things and find things or allow people to find us. It can do the same for emergency notifications. Here are 5 ways GPS and interactive maps can transform your emergency notification system to give you and your employees even greater peace of mind.

Track Your People

Today’s employees are more mobile than ever. One study found that employees at Fortune 1000 companies are not at their desks 50-60 percent of the time. While they are still working, they are spending half of their work time traveling, working from home or somewhere else, or moving from meeting to meeting.

Even though these employees may not be under your roof, you are still responsible for their safety. It’s difficult to accomplish this if employers have no idea if the environment in which their employees are located are, in fact, safe. It’s even harder if you don’t even know where your employees are.

Organizations who use an emergency notification app can view Interactive maps that use GPS to track employees via their mobile devices. When employees are traveling to foreign countries, going into dangerous areas, or have any potential of being in harm’s way, employers can keep an eye on their whereabouts and immediately notify them of potential risks. The notification app also serves as a two-way communication channel where employees can signal for help, communicate with home base to receive critical updates and information, and connect with coworkers in the event of an emergency.

Without GPS or interactive maps to pinpoint employees no matter their locations, employees are on their own. Employers must rely on employee feedback to know where they are, what’s going on in their environment, and if assistance is needed. With interactive maps, however, organizations can give employees peace of mind that they are protected wherever they are and if help is needed, the employer is right there to assist.

Track Calls for Help

One of the coolest features of the interactive map is that it enables employers to pinpoint the location of not only the employee, but of the distress signal they may send out through the notification app. Say, for instance, an employee is caught up in a natural disaster halfway around the world. As scary as that may be, particularly if they are traveling alone, the employee can send a “help” message via the mobile app and the location of that message is pinned on a map. It doesn’t get any more specific than that.

Even if a natural disaster sounds far fetched, car accidents are alarmingly common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there is a car accident every minute of every day. If you have employees who are on the road, an interactive map integrated into your emergency notification system may be their lifeline. It does more than simply receive a call for help, but it eliminates the need for the employee to have to provide their location details. Without a word exchanged, employers can help first responders pinpoint the employee’s exact location for the fastest response.

Track Lone Workers

Lone workers spend all, most, or a portion of their day working without supervision, coworkers, support, or often any other people around them. An estimated 53 million lone workers are employed in Canada, the United States, and Europe combined. Lone worker jobs are often in service fields, such as care giving, social work, and field work. When these workers are in danger or at risk, they can not only feel like a lone worker, but completely alone. It is up to them to call for help or protect themselves. They are highly vulnerable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Related: Are You Doing Enough to Keep Your Lone Workers Safe?

Emergency notification systems with GPS-based interactive maps can keep these employees on the radar wherever they go. Employers can not only track their movements on a map, but receive distress calls without them having to swipe, log into their phones, or dial a single number. SafeSignal, for example, is a revolutionary product that enables users to plug a bright yellow tether into their mobile phone’s audio jack and when removed, instantly emits an audible alarm as it automatically alerts authorities. GPS via the app allows first responders to find them, along with pre-inputted personal information, such as clothing, building number, and/or car description.

Track Events

Whether you have traveling employees or everyone works in a single office location, it is impossible to predict every what-if scenario that can occur in and around the workplace. Everything from workplace violence, nearby protests and rallies to criminal activity in the vicinity, natural disasters, hazardous spills, fires, or terrorist activity – things can happen. The 24-hour news circuits are great for breaking news, but is this how you want to get your information when your employees are at risk? Will these reports be specific enough for you to know if your people are in danger?

Interactive maps enable companies to track events 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 and quickly.

Create Location-Based Groups

Finally, interactive maps with GPS help companies segment their populations by location. This is effective when only a certain group may be in harm’s way, such as in a chemical spill, fire, or natural disaster. They can divide the company by location or even project team, giving them laser accuracy in their focus.

Related: The Right Way and The Wrong Way to Send Out Mass Notifications

This kind of segmentation ensures only the people who need the notifications or alerts get them. The system can be used to keep the other employees up to date as to what’s going on with their coworkers and company without bringing them into the more critical and detailed notifications.