When researching and shopping for your business’ emergency alert system, look for the most important features offered (see below). Your choice will be vital, as this system will be your go-to in the case of any emergency that could befall your business:
- Severe weather
- IT network failure
- Facility closings
- Maintenance issues
- Cyber attacks or hacks
What you’re looking for: an easy-to-use system that is seamless, time-saving and easily adaptable to most all devices. It should include two-way communication and be able to collect data so that you can learn from the emergency and create a stronger strategy if it were ever to happen again. Most importantly, you’ll want the system to be reliable.
Working without an emergency alert system (or a low-quality system):
- Takes too long to coordinate a response to an event. In most emergencies, minutes and even seconds count. You need a system that can respond and operate faster than you ever could without it.
- Traditional coordination costs money. Pay for an emergency alert system, and your investment will cover you if and when the time comes. No extra communication expenses before and after the emergency event.
- Profile and contact data is stored in multiple places. Without an emergency alert system, your vital information may be stored in various computer files, clouds, systems or even old-school paper files. A first-rate emergency alert system stores all of your data in one safe, reliable place on the cloud.
- People reading your messages: unknown. In the crunch of an emergency, you need to communicate with specific people whose fate may depend on hearing from you. You don’t want to send vague messages to random people. A high-quality emergency response system allows you to choose the people you need to reach, ahead of time so that you are not scrambling in the heat of the moment.
- No way to receive feedback. Most emergencies are not a one-way, one-sided event. You need to hear back from people, especially if they are in trouble or are currently unaccounted for. Invest in an emergency response system that allows you to communicate on a two-way level. Choose your recipients, and let them text alerts or emails to you to report problems, ask questions, or quickly identify who needs help. Non-negotiable.
How to know when you’re considering a top-rated emergency alert system:
- Buy only what you need, and don’t pay for what you don’t need. An all-in-in suite allows you to buy only the most relevant features for your specific business. No matter which components you choose, the parts should still work together seamlessly. Even so, the system should be large and flexible enough to work with both SMB and enterprise organizations.
- Reliable 24/7/365 support. If you don’t have expert customer service helping you in the heat of the moment (or before or after), you’re not working with the best system. Support should include various communications methods, including phone, email, and texting to help you and to answer questions.
- Security. Your confidential, vital information and data should be stored in a protected, reliable cloud system, built with failover architecture (example: the Microsoft Azure cloud).
- Multi-channel. Compose a message just once, then send it to multiple channels with the mere click of a button. Your emergency alert system should feature:
- An easy-to-use dashboard
- An ability to generate detailed reports
- An ability to automatically import users’ data from third-party software.
- Cloud-based. You’ll need to collect data both before and after the emergency event. Be sure all information can be uploaded to a reliable and highly protected cloud system. The people you need to reach should be able to complete a profile so that you have the information available as needed -- make sure you include it as a self-registration portal.
Not all emergency alert systems are alike. Make sure to choose a secure, reliable, multi-channel system that allows for seamless, two-way communication and the ability to be stored in one place, in the cloud.