September is National Preparedness Month, and it serves as a timely reminder of the importance of taking precautionary measures before an urgent situation arises. For most people, proper preparedness simply means developing a well thought-out plan or stockpiling supplies. But for those in a position of leadership, whether it is a local community, school district or college campus, a robust communication plan and a reliable mass notification system are a must.

If your community already utilizes a notification service, National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity to remind residents to register or update their contact information in the notification database. With more contacts, and more accurate numbers and addresses, messages are more effective as official information can be received as soon as it’s available. An annual test call or an announcement to local media outlets are also great ways to generate awareness and encourage registration among residents.

At higher education institutions, Federal law now mandates an annual test of the campus preparedness drill. Campus leaders at the State College of Florida, for example, hold a live exercise with faculty, students and staff every year – testing all of their communication systems, including loudspeakers and Blackboard Connect. To watch the live drill, check out this video.

Over the years, clients have often asked us for advice on best practices and sample materials when sharing important information and details concerning public safety. In support of National Preparedness Month, we’ve published a number of resource pages, such as winter weather, hurricane preparedness and H1N1, to help clients craft appropriate messaging when responding to critical situations.  

Mass notification systems, like the Blackboard Connect and AlertNow platforms, are integral components of preparedness plans as they allow officials and administrators to quickly send out critical, time-sensitive information and safety instructions. By ensuring proper preparedness, communities, colleges and schools are able to react and respond in a timely, appropriate manner and assert control over situations. Preparing is the best way to ensure that communities are ready to receive important notifications, information they won’t want to miss.

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