Mass notification systems are critical when it comes to the safety of those who work or visit any facility and those who live in communities surrounding those facilities. Whether you are in a hospital, school, or manufacturing plant, you need a system that can effectively alert everyone in the building and the immediate area in the event of an emergency.
So, how do you choose the right one? No two facilities are set up the same and different industries require different levels of security. To help you answer that question, we have put together some expert tips to help you find the right solution for your building or campus.
Remember that the systems we discuss below can be customized to suit your specific needs.
1. Be Specific About Your Uses and Requirements
Before you even start thinking about anything else, you will want to discuss specific uses and requirements with an expert. This doesn’t include things like what noise you want a siren to make.
What should be discussed are things like how frequent severe weather is in your area, the number of people who will have access to the system, external parties you will need to receive automated information, if your facility is accessible to the public, power outages, etc.
Give your security vendor as much information as possible. We highly suggest writing down every scenario you can think that will require you to utilize the system. It can be difficult to think through all worst-case scenarios but you don’t want to compromise safety.
2. Ask About Integration Across Platforms
Your notification system should be fully integrated. This means that seemingly different systems can interact with each other in case of an emergency.
For example, let’s say that you are the Head of Security for a large medical campus and an armed intruder enters one of the buildings. You will need to act quickly and alert everyone on campus of the situation using an intercom system, lockdown all doors, and alert citizens of the situation that are in close proximity to the building.
These tasks are difficult to effectively carry out individually, especially in the heat of the moment, but an effective mass notification system can do all of these things simultaneously through proper integration.
3. Think About Intercom Placement
Will you need indoor and outdoor intercom systems? Are there large areas that are extremely noisy and have heavy foot traffic? Does your building have specific areas for students or children who are extremely sensitive to sound? These questions and more should be considered when discussing the placement of the system.
Many systems come with multiple mounts and some mounts are specifically designed for outdoor use. Often, phones won’t work in parking garages but there are people in the garage that are planning on entering your building and have no idea that an emergency is happening – this is where the outdoor intercom comes into play.
Make sure you discuss where you think you will need these systems with your vendor. They can then create a plan outlining where the intercoms will be installed and exactly how many you need.
4. Discuss Geofencing and SMS Notification
This is what most people think of when they think of mass notification. We have all heard our phones make a crazy noise and tell us that there is a tornado warning or amber alert in the area. This type of system is intended to protect people in the community.
This technology is best utilized by law enforcement/government agencies, schools, and hospitals. Pretty much any organization that deals directly with the community and community safety can benefit from this type of system.
As we said earlier this can be integrated with other security systems. This is not traditionally offered by commercial security companies but they can work with or recommend other vendors to get this set up for you.
5. Consider Additional Security Features
Security systems have come a long way in the last ten years. Additional features can be combined with more traditional mass notification and security systems. These add-ons offer things like increased security and convenience. You should discuss additional features with your vendor to see if your building could benefit.
Additional features include but are not limited to:
These enhance everything, from the style of the interface to convenience and security.
Some of the features you might notice while comparing intercom system models are:
- Restriction of elevator use
- Emailing of private messages between occupants and guests
- Magnetic tamper switches
- Panic alarm buttons and switches
- Configurable software layouts and themes for a customizable design
- Remote programming options, including operating the system using a computer or mobile phone
- Hands-free capability
- Help button to activate video instruction
- Multi-language options for support
Protection employees, patrons, and the community should always be your number one priority. If your notification systems fall short, you could be putting others at risk.
At TED Systems, we can customize and integrate security systems that will ensure the safety of those in and outside of your building. Click below to learn more about our systems or fill out our contact form today!