4 Tips for Creating an Effective Emergency Notification Message

Make sure crucial messages and notifications aren’t falling by the wayside

4 Tips for Creating an Effective Emergency Notification Message

An emergency messaging system is a valuable tool your school needs to communicate quickly and effectively with the community during emergencies. But to promote swift action, you need to make sure students, parents and teachers are reading and engaging with the notifications. An unclear or poorly written message can lead to confusion, wasted time and inaction — all the things you want to avoid during critical situations.

At ASAP Security Services, we have some tips to help you clean up your messages for better results. Keep reading to learn four ways to improve mass notifications in your San Antonio, TX, school community.

SEE ALSO: 4 Essential Features You’ll Want in a Mass Notifications System

Follow KISS: Keep It Simple, Silly

Emergency notifications should be short and easy to read and digest. Time is of the essence during a critical situation — if your message takes longer than roughly 25-30 seconds to read, you cost the recipients valuable time when they should be responding and taking action.

You can keep your notifications short and sweet by only sending the most relevant information your audience needs to know. Relevant information includes a brief overview of the event or situation and simple, clear instructions for an action the recipient needs to take.

Provide Clear Follow-Up Options

Along with the relevant event and action information, emergency messages should include clear directions for how the recipient should respond. Enabling your emergency messaging system with two-way communications ensures that recipients can swiftly confirm a received notification. If you need a response to determine someone’s whereabouts or safety during an emergency, conclude the message by asking the recipient to respond with “YES,” “NO,” or a custom answer.

You may not need an immediate response in less emergent notifications, but you should still provide follow-up options if recipients have lingering questions or concerns. For example, if you sent parents a notification about a schedule change, include a website link, email address or phone number with the message so that recipients know how to contact you.

Plan Ahead With Templates

One of the primary benefits of a sophisticated mass notifications system is creating and saving templated messages. An emergency could arise at any time — having pre-planned responses ready to deploy can save you precious response time during critical events.

On the administrative level, your school officials should brainstorm a list of possible incidents that require time-sensitive messages — a shooter on campus, a severe weather incident, a fire, a school-wide IT outage, and so on. Then you can create templated messages for each event.

Not only will templates save you time during an emergency, but pre-planning allows you to get feedback from others to ensure your notifications are clear and easy to understand before distributing them to parents, teachers and students.

Draft Multiple Messages

Not everyone needs to receive the same information during an emergency. For example, if there’s an armed individual on campus, parents need different instructions than teachers do. Instead of sending one notification to everyone in your community, draft multiple messages with relevant information for each audience. Distributing a single message with several sets of instructions can leave recipients feeling confused and unable to act quickly. Luckily, creating multiple notifications per event is easy with templating options.

Make sure you’re prepared to communicate effectively during a critical situation. Contact ASAP Security Services to discuss the right mass notifications solution for your school community. Call us at 877-418-ASAP, submit a contact form or reach out using the live chatbox on your screen. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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