How to Deploy Emergency Notification Systems: Safety Experts Speak Up

Published: 2017-07-27

According to our sister publication Campus Safety’s 2017 Emergency Notification Survey, emergency notification and alert systems continue to be a popular technology purchase for schools, universities and hospitals. CS asked safety experts what advice they would give to campus officials regarding the installation of security systems. Here’s what some of the survey respondents advised:


Emergency Staffing, Personnel and Buy In

  • “Adequate and appropriate staffing is vital for deployment, no matter how good the system is.”
  • “Allow staff to use it for a host of reasons … familiarity with the system has served us well.”
  • “Deciding who is responsible for message development and then actually building the messages is critical.”
  • “Get administrators out of the building and operation as much as possible.”
  • “Get buy-in from users and supporters of the system. Don’t do it alone!”
  • “Have a consistent message system, and ensure that all members know what that system is.”
  • “I would recommend that it be made very clear to the administration that any message sent through the system should truly be important and the system should not be overused. You don’t want your recipients to start ignoring messages due to overuse on non-emergency messaging.”

Vendor, Integration and Emergency Notification System Selection

  • “Do not rush to find a vendor. Talk to others that are already using systems and have had success.”
  • “Do your research as not all systems are the same and give you what you need. Gather a multi-disciplinary team to evaluate. Spend time up front negotiating price as most companies want your business and are willing to listen within reason. Spend time determining your audience and the information they want vs. what they need.”
  • “Find a system that integrates messaging systems.”
  • “Get a fully integrated system. All our systems are stand- alone and must be activated separately.”
  • “Have more than one type of system and a back-up plan when those systems fail.”
  • “Have one company install everything from the beginning to the end. We have tried to have our internal maintenance department install parts of systems, and vendors install other parts. This failed us because when an issue arose, it was a battle of whose fault and responsibility it was.”
  • “Identify required communication methods that will allow a central system to push notifications through all available channels and ensure that your central system can speak those languages.”


  • “Integrate all forms of communication to your notification management software so that a single message is sent at the same time from one place.”
  • “Find the most user friendly interface for your alert staff to use. Otherwise mistakes will be made during a time of crisis.”
  • “Integrate with social media — Facebook Safety check.”
  • “Make the integrator show you that they can integrate your systems before purchasing.”
  • “Systems are constantly increasing capabilities and options. Once you have bought into a system, your contract may prohibit you from changing or upgrading the capabilities of the system, so bear this in mind with any purchase or agreement.”

Read the full article on our sister publication, Campus Safety.

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