A Department of Defense review of the November shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas that left 13 dead and 43 wounded or injured makes a recommendation that mass notification (or warning) systems be incorporated into the emergency response plans of DoD facilities.
Emergency mass notification systems can simultaneously notify thousands of people of emergency situations through laptop or desktop computers, landline or mobile phones, digital PDAs and fax machines. The report found that many Department of Defense installations lack mass notification capabilities.
That’s true, too, of many state and local government facilities, colleges and universities and K-12 campuses. Patrick Fiel, ADT’s public safety advisor, agreed that computer-based mass notification systems can play an important role in most government settings.
“Whether its an active shooter, a chemical spill or a natural disaster, people need up-to-date, accurate information to increase their chances of surviving an emergency event unharmed,” he said.
And unlike telephone-based systems, new mass notification systems can provide verification that the intended recipients received the messages. Fiel said state, county and city organizations and campuses can also use the systems for important, yet non-emergency, communication with citizens.
Also, he said, outdoor intelligible voice systems – capable of being heard clearly up to a quarter-mille away – add another valuable layer of communication during an emergency.
“These relatively inexpensive systems work well and help local governments and campus administrators meet their most important responsibility – protecting lives,” he said.
-- PSW staff