Time for a Tune-Up? Get the Most Out of Your Alert System

Picture of Scott McGrath By Scott McGrath


springcleaning1Spring cleaning can take many forms. When it comes to emergency alerting and response, public safety and emergency managers have clear processes for policy and procedure review, both before and after action.

Yet it might also be useful to look at safety software you’re already using to see if new features and functions have arisen that can improve enhance the ways you do things.

From our point of view as a safety software vendor, when we introduce new features in our products we pay careful attention not to disrupt the workflow and utilization of current functionality.  In general, our customers appreciate and rely upon this consistency.

On the other hand, with busy schedules and a lot to do, sometimes keeping up with enhancements and new capabilities may get overlooked. New features are added, but when things are working well, reviewing release notes and new capabilities may not reach the top of your list. You may miss out on high value features that are already included in the tools you license.

It is worth your while to review the utilization of your current tools. Look at new ways to derive value from the safety technology you have already invested in and may be underutilizing.  Explore areas where additional functionality or communications options will streamline and improve what you do on daily basis.

For mass notification, for example, you might find you need additional capabilities to meet new needs, or new features open up new avenues of communication, or at the very least deserve some further exploration:

  • fema2Internal communications scenarios:
    • Callouts
    • Cross-functional team communications
    • EOC Activations
    • Staffing / shift notifications
    • Voice conference bridging
    • Facilities announcements
    • Other departmental notifications
  • Targeted communications:
    • Automated storm-based notifications to your EMA staff or your subscribers for very urgent warnings
    • IPAWS-OPEN notifications
    • Utilizing geo-targeting capabilities effectively
  • New workflows for specific applications
  • Mobile activation usage
  • Reaching subscribers in remote locations
  • Integration with enterprise platforms
  • Optimizing opt-in and opt-out participation
  • High availability “inbound” call lines for voice notifications
  • Utilizing available communication channels:
    • Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) integrations
    • Social network utilization
    • Automated website updates
    • Integration with new safety technologies such as mobile apps or hardware systems
  • Training needs such as training new administrators and refresher courses


New features might provide new functionality, improve the way the system behaves in standard usage, or provide improved usability. A vendor who is paying attention to your real world needs will be focused on enhancements that push your mission forward.

So, make sure to step back now and then to survey your usage of your safety systems. Optimizing safety technology is all about mapping your processes and procedures to the tools that you use, and then making sure you’re organized to take full advantage of the technology.


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Scott McGrath

Written by Scott McGrath

Scott McGrath is Public Safety Solutions Architect and has served in several roles at Rave for over 10 years. Scott works with customers directly as a client resource and solutions architect to ensure that our products are optimized for the specific needs of our customers and focused on best practices - before, during and after onboarding. Scott also works with Rave's Customer Success team on training tools, including Rave Academy online learning management system courseware, live trainings by webinars, and on-site with customers. Scott has 29 years of experience in web, education, and safety high technology, and has worked at Sun Microsystems, Educational Testing Service, Ziff-Davis Communications, AT&T, and Percussion Software as a technology specialist and product manager. On the personal side, he's got abiding hobbyist compulsions for tech gadgetry (computers, headphones, mobile tech), music as both a listener and a player, and a notorious obsession with cows that defies explanation.


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