Flu: Emergency Information

Here’s a quick example of how a mass notification system can help before an emergency.

Recently, as the H1N1 (swine) flu fear was reaching its peak, a private K-8 school in Joliet, Ill. used its system to keep parents of the 430 students aware of preparations for a possible outbreak of the disease.

First the school asked parents to keep sick children at home. A second notification shared the signs and symptoms of swine flu. And a final update at the end of the week let parents know the school had no problems related to the flu. St. Paul the Apostle School, which serves grades K-8, stayed open throughout the week, while two nearby Joliet schools closed.

“The system has been a great success,” said Kim Schlegel, the school’s principal. “And the parents are very happy with it because they didn’t have to call the school to get updates.”

Previously, she had used the system to notify parents of winter school closures and various school announcements and events. Another system benefit is a report on numbers that weren’t answered or out of service. That lets the school make sure their directory is up to date.

-- Public Safety Watch staff