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Mass Notification Solutions: Why You Need an Alert System for Active Shooters

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August 23, 2023 Posted by in Crisis Communications, Mass Notification

Today’s businesses simply cannot maintain a safe work environment without mass notification solutions that provide an alert system for active shooters. This relatively modern threat to employee safety requires an advanced warning system that can function in real-time to alert authorities, communicate critical information to both individuals and groups — and ultimately keep your people out of harm’s way.

Unfortunately, not all mass notification software is created equally. You need a mass notification solution that offers a wide range of features capable of adapting to your unique needs. This article explores some of these necessary features to help you find the right solution for your workspace while simultaneously saving time, money — and most importantly, lives.

Active Shooter Mass Notification Solutions

The FBI’s latest annual findings reports that 2022 saw 50 active shooter incidents. These crisis events resulted in 313 casualties and 100 deaths. They occurred in places of business, education facilities, houses of worship, health care buildings, and government spaces, just to name a few. Thirteen of these incidents met the FBI’s criteria for designation as mass killings. Such horrifying statistics should not be ignored.

How often have you heard victims and witnesses tell the news reporter, “We never thought something like that would happen here”? There’s no risk in being prepared for an emergency that never occurs. However, sitting idly by will leave you lost when the unexpected does occur. Stop thinking, “It won’t happen here,” and start thinking, “What’s the plan if it does?” It’s time to put a plan in place.

Emergencies are by nature “not expected,” and companies cannot afford to remain unprepared should the worst happen. This is why organizations like FEMA maintain that “an important part to responding to an active shooter event is an emergency notification system.”

In 2022, Congress even introduced the Active Shooter Alert Act to authorize a national communications network that encourages state and local authorities to establish a government emergency communication system for active shooter incidents. Clearly, the need for mass notification solutions cannot be understated.

But how do mass notification solutions really work? How do they prepare your people to stay safe in an active shooter emergency? And what system is ultimately right for you? The following sections will address these questions.

How does the mass notification solution work?                

Communication is key in any emergency event, but the volatility and immediate danger of an active shooter incident demands that people know exactly what to do, where to go, and when to act in order to stay safe.

A cutting edge, multi-channel mass notification system is one of the most powerful tools you can use for crisis communication in the workplace. Mass notification systems offer a simple and nearly instant way to communicate via email, text, voice call and more to groups of any size – from 1 to 1,000 and beyond. For example, in the event of an active shooter incident, you’ll want to know the answers to questions such as…

  • What personnel will take which exit?
  • If people can’t exit safely, what’s their contingency plan?
  • How will employees stay apprised of the situation in real time?

Answering these questions requires intentional planning, building a crisis-management team, and access to the right technology to send potentially life-saving alerts and messages.

When a crisis unfolds, you can’t waste time collecting contact information, adding recipients to a “to” line or manually dialing a phone. Employees rely on real-time active shooter alert messages to stay apprised of volatile situations – and ultimately, to stay safe.

Some of the best systems will allow you to store your communication templates, save specific audiences, and execute your messages within 30 seconds. Multi-channel delivery increases the chances that your messages will actually reach your employee in time (vs sitting unread in their inbox).

Fast, reliable, up-to-date communication can make all the difference when seconds count. That’s why an effective notification system offers certain features that ensure success.

5 features you need from your mass notification system:

  • Easy to Implement – You want a mass notification system that makes it simple to gather your employees information. This is why RedFlag allows you to easily add recipients via third party import, self-registration portal, or with text-to-join functionality. You can build customized groups easily and manage contact information so that you’ll always be able to reach people, the way they prefer, when it matters most. You can even upload the information you already have and allow recipients to complete their profiles.
  • Segmented Multi-Channel Alert – You want a system that enables you to create a message, designate the delivery time and select which recipient group will receive it. RedFlag enables you to do this via text, voice, email or posts on social media.
  • Two-Way Communication – You want to stay apprised of the situation on the ground and keep your people informed in real time. This is why RedFlag empowers you to receive and analyze vital feedback from recipients by asking them to acknowledge or respond by utilizing a unique link. You can even integrate with a conference bridge provider and create a one click link so message recipients can easily join a call. This allows you to manage a critical situation with speed and ease.
  • Geotarget Messaging – You want the right information to go to the right people at the right time. RedFlag meets this need with geotarget messaging that enables you to personalize communication to offer location-based alerts to your employees, vendors, and stakeholders.
  • Easy to Manage – You want a streamlined system that empowers you to mold its features to meet your unique needs. RedFlag enables you to manage all of your notifications with an easy-to-use dashboard, generate detailed reports, and automatically import users’ data from third-party software.

How will this better prepare my workplace for active shooters?

Your employees stay safe when they can stay informed with real-time alerts. Multimodal mass notifications are key to any effective active shooter alert system because today’s employees communicate on a wide variety of platforms. You need the capability to deliver action-oriented notifications within thirty seconds to groups of any size. This means alerting employees through a variety of platforms, including:

  • Desktop alerts
  • Email
  • Phone calls
  • SMS notifications
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Social
  • Mobile app

Check out RedFlag’s emergency notification app to see the benefits of this platform!

Once you have the right notification solution, you can gather your crisis management team to develop a crisis response plan specific to your needs.

Be intentional about this process. Make sure your personnel are aware of the plan once it’s formulated, and take time to train your people using the mass notification solutions as the framework for helping them understand what to do in the event of an active shooter. Your efforts will save lives should the worst occur.

Of course, you want to be prepared for the worst, but even if your workspace never experiences an active shooter threat, you’ll be happy to know that RedFlag’s emergency mass notification system was designed to meet a variety of communication needs.

More Answers to Your Mass Notification Solution Questions

Hopefully this article has demonstrated the need for utilizing emergency notification software.

If you have any remaining questions, you can check out this complete buyer’s guide to mass notification software. Then feel free to reach out to request a demo of RedFlag’s real-time crisis communication system and discover how this award-winning software can benefit your company and protect your people.

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