Call or Text 877.840.2444

emergency communication plan mass notification system

Emergency Communication Plan

emergency communication plan mass notification system

November 29, 2021 Posted by in Crisis Communications

Your emergency communication plan needs just that — planning. No matter what the emergency, your business is going to be disrupted to some degree, and your staff will be impacted and maybe even injured, harmed, or worse. Although we often don’t have control over such circumstances, we do have control over how we plan for an emergency — step by step — when we disseminate important information. A great deal of how safety can be increased and harm reduced is a direct result of communicating information the right way at the right time.

You’ve more than likely created a business plan in the past, and an emergency communication plan has the same objective: to provide an overview and a strategy.

Here are some considerations when creating your emergency communication plan:

Know your specific audience.

Just like your marketing plan, your emergency communication plan should reach the right people with the right language.

  • Identify who should be receiving your communications. These could be staff, customers, the news media, the community, government officials, vendors and clients. For instance, if the news media contact you for more information, designate an authorized spokesperson — most likely a senior manager — in advance. Tell your staff that they should not speak to the media.
  • Gather accurate and updated contact information in advance. This should not wait. These days, you can easily transport this information from databases that already exist, cutting down on the hours this could normally take. You should ask everyone on the list to make sure their contact information is accurate and current. Update these lists regularly (perhaps a few times a year). Make a hard copy of the current list and keep it in a safe place.
  • Ask the people on your contact list exactly how they prefer to be contacted in the event of an emergency. This will be vital if and when the time comes, increasing your chances of reaching them in the right place and on the right device. For example, some may prefer to be contacted by email or text, others by phone calls.
  • Plan a customer service setup. If your business deals with customers: even if the customer service center is off site, be sure that customers are able to contact your company, ask questions, and receive information in the midst of an emergency. Prepare your customer service staff with up-to -the-minute information and directions. If you have preferred customers, make sure they are a priority when it comes to communication.

Include a business continuity plan in your emergency communication plan. 

Your business continuity plan should consider how your business will continue to function in the midst of an emergency. Designate roles and responsibilities that may help keep the day-to-day business going. This might include redirecting telephone calls or emails, or composing a voicemail message explaining the situation.

Create your messages. 

  • Imagine the scenarios that would require a message. Think how you and your business would handle a fire, an active shooter, severe weather, or earthquakes. From there, create a message that would get people to safety, or to ask them to shelter in place until further notice. Scenarios and impacts could require information that would involve accidents, injuries, property damage, product damage, service slowdowns, liability, and business interruptions.
  • Who are you addressing? First, ask yourself how the people with whom you are communicating need to be addressed. For instance, your messages may be worded differently if you are talking to staff, customers, vendors or the media. Think of it this way as you start writing: “how will this incident affect my safety, my job, my connection to the business or the community?”
  • Craft your messages in advance. Preparing your messages ahead of time will save you time and hassle in the heat of the moment. Of course, circumstances may change when the emergency happens, but having a good portion of the writing created in advance will help tremendously when you have to tweak or adjust information in real time.

Drill and practice your emergency communication plan.

The plan — and all of your hard work and preparation — will amount to nothing if your people don’t know how to implement it when the times comes. Hold regular drills and open the floor to questions and concerns about the plan. Tell your staff that there is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to saving lives. Update your contact information on a regular basis so that it’s as current as possible. After your drills, gather your staff and discover what had worked and what did not — brainstorm on what could be improved.

Choose an effective, high-quality, seamless emergency notification system that supports your emergency communication plan. 

Your emergency communication plan should cover all bases — from fires to severe weather. It should be able to meet your goals of keeping people safe and your business afloat. Tweeting and posting on social media may not get your message to the right people at the right time, or send the right message to people outside of your organization. Instead you need a system that will let you remain in control — and to control your narrative. Your system should let you be the one, genuine source of authority and guidance in the midst of your emergency.

The mass notification platform you choose should allow you send easy-to-read and easy-to-follow messages in real time. It should give you the power to stay in touch with your staff and reach them on any platform or device they are currently using. You should also have the peace of mind of having the company’s support and guidance, 24/7/365, along with top-notch cloud security in order to protect your data.

Your emergency notification system should include these vital features:

  • Proactive functions: create a contact list in advance, and program how each recipient will receive your messages according to their preferences (for instance, ask them if they prefer getting texts, emails or voicemails).
  • Two-way chat so that you are in touch with your people at all stages of the emergency.
  • Polling (taking a head count or finding out how people are).
  • A direct way to contact your local fire department and/or first responders (you can program this information ahead of time).

Bottom line

In an emergency, communication is everything. You must be in constant touch with your people, provide and receive vital information, and get an accurate head count. An emergency communication plan — created far in advance — means you’re working toward reducing risk, injury, and chaos. The less confusion that ensues, the more likely your plan will be a success, especially if your staff practices the procedures in advance. Finally, a dependable, time-tested platform for mass messaging can make all the difference in the world and may even save lives. details more of the best practices of an effective emergency communication plan. Click here.

Habitat for Humanity offers a communication plan outline that you can use with your family members. Click here.

For more information on how RedFlag can help you with an emergency communication plan for your business, click here.




Ready to Get Started?

See how RedFlag can help you protect what matters most with a 15-minute custom demo.