The Symbiotic relationship between Incident Management and Emergency Notification Systems

June 28, 2016

Todd Piett

Incident or crisis management solutions provide users a powerful way to manage information, tasks, and statuses during an incident.  Effective solutions work in both planned and unplanned incidents to ensure everyone is on the same page and have both a common understanding of what steps should be taken as well as a common operational picture of the current state of affairs.  But how do these systems interact with emergency notification systems?  Rave Mobile Safety recently announced an integration with WebEOC, the leading crisis management system and a product of Intermedix.  The combination of these best of breed solutions demonstrates how incident management and mass notification systems work together to improve the ability of agencies to mitigate, prevent, prepare, respond and recover.

Phases of Emergency ManagementMitigate risk through a common view of prevention, preparation, response and recovery processes.  Risk management is about identifying procedures to minimize the impact of an incident.  While no system can codify every potential scenario that might occur in the “fog of war”, the reality is that prior preparation greatly reduces risk.  How do you prepare?  You identify key scenarios, responsible parties, action plans, and communication processes.  When done correctly these tasks and scenarios are malleable enough to handle the majority of situations chaos can throw at you.  Crisis management solutions allow you to define and track all these different process and scenarios.  An emergency notification solution allows you to deliver targeted, timely messages across multiple modes of communication to each person or group that needs to be involved in the incident.

Enhance operational effectiveness by providing real-time visibility into operational workflow statuses and communication processes. When fully integrated to the crisis management solution, responses to messages delivered by the notification system can be automatically fed back into the appropriate tasks and work flows in the crisis management system based on users and their responses.  This reduces the time consuming and error prone, manual, back and forth coordination all too common in most incidents.

Enable real-time collaboration and communication across all constituents.  Depending the incident, the constituents involved in the response process may be a small internal team, or a large community.  Each of these groups have different information needs and preferred modes of communication.  A team manning an operational Emergency operations center may be best reached via email and a dynamic task list within an application they are using.  A remote response team may be best reached via text message.  A large community may be best reached via social media and broadcast channels like FEMA’s IPAWS / Wireless Emergency Alerts.  For each of these groups of recipients, the content is different. The instructions provided to a response team of trained professionals is very different than a general evacuation notice sent to an entire flood plain region.  A crisis management system and emergency notification system combine to make sure the right message is delivered to the right person at the right time.

Correctly document actions taken.  During the heat of a major event, you need to focus on the response.  Unfortunately, we often forget to properly document steps taken.  This documentation is needed for compliance reporting (e.g. Clery Reports for Higher Education), funding reimbursements, and other internal and external compliance requirements.  An integrated crisis management and emergency notification system simplifies the reporting process and ensure each action is documented and captured throughout the incident.

Together Rave Alert and WebEOC provide a powerful platform for end-to-end incident response management and communication.  We are excited about the roadmap further integrating the two products and providing joint clients with a solution that greatly improves incident planning and responses – from planned sporting events, to the unplanned disasters that hit our communities.

Conversations to have at the 2018 National Hurricane Conference

Conversations around improved emergency communications will be important to have at the 2018 National Hurricane Conference

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