The Role Mass Notification Plays in Event Security
Paul Shain, President and CEO of Singlewire Software talks The Crowd magazine through the role that mass notification plays in event security…
Live events pose a number of challenges when it comes to planning and executing a security plan. Event hosts have a duty of care to keep attendees and staff safe from harm, and without the proper tools in place, this can be a difficult goal to achieve. A strong security plan relies on robust communication, but large venues and sizable crowds make sharing critical information difficult. That’s where mass notification systems can help. With the ability to integrate with multiple devices and send messages in a variety of formats, mass notifications can help keep people informed and events secure.
Mass notifications help tie together disparate systems so events can leverage every communication channel at their disposal to send an alert, should an emergency occur. The venue can pre-build messages for a variety of scenarios, including a terrorist threat, fire or medical emergency, and then have messages broadcast as live or recorded audio, as well as text and images to IP speakers and digital signage. Using audio and visual cues helps ensure people pay attention even in noisy or crowded areas.
Before people even enter a venue though, organizers can have them sign up to receive alerts via their mobile devices. Having attendees text a number can automatically enrol them to receive alerts directly on their mobile phones. This number can also be displayed on signage throughout a venue during an event. This creates a recipient group that can be set to automatically expire once the event is over. Leveraging multiple communication channels offers a better chance of reaching everyone so they can take appropriate action to stay out of harm’s way.
For security staff at an event, they can also use mass notification to manage and coordinate a response should an emergency occur. Mass notification systems make it easy to trigger alerts from virtual or physical panic buttons installed around a venue, a mobile app, or a computer console. Venues can even have notifications trigger if someone dials an emergency number from a facility phone. Mass notification systems also offer integration with two-way radios should mobile devices be unusable in a particular venue – as well as desktop notification so people in back offices can receive alerts. This flexibility means that the moment someone notices an incident unfolding, they can begin alerting people. Certain systems can also integrate with CCTV and provide a hyperlink within the alert to the nearest camera feed from where it was activated. This offers security personnel real-time insight into what is happening.
Notifications can also be configured to reach certain groups or areas of a building. It may not always be necessary to alert everyone at an event of a crisis. With mass notification systems, different messages can reach different groups, such as a select security or response team.
Once notifications have been distributed, security personnel can be invited to join a conference call or a virtual space to begin assessing the situation. During an emergency every moment matters and being able to quickly gather key stakeholders means they can respond to the situation faster.