TAS Lessons Learned
We see a lot more stories in the news about mass notification systems (MNS) or telephone alert systems (TAS) not working than the success stories. Many times these situations can be avoided. They are often more related to policies and training than the actually technology. TelephoneAlert.net offers these recommendations.
- Increase awareness and encourage registration of additional contact devices.
- Internal awareness of incidents or between agencies is usually more important than external alerting.
- Get personnel comfortable! Train your staff on your various emergency notification systems. During an emergency situation, the people running the system will be under considerable stress. This increased stress levels can lead to mistakes especially if it's been a while since your initial training.
- Keep training current. Train existing employees at the same time as new employees come on board. We hear over and over again of end-user mistakes that could have been avoided by adequate training.
- Considering these types of errors can lead to upset communities or bad press isn't a little extra time to test a system worth it? Assigning a Subject Matter Export (SME) to a system can be good to focus others. Empower this person to create testing plans or training materials.
- Exercise the system! Schedule exercises on the system and see if there are ways to automate it. At TelephoneAlerts.net we can schedule a phone call every day at a given time to verify the system is functional. Don't wait for an emergency to occur to find out there is a glitch with your system or that something has changed in the infrastructure. Look for ways to use the system on a more daily use. Sending simple test messages keeps personnel trained and comfortable with the system.