At the heart of any successful emergency response situation is the ability of risk and safety managers to communicate instantly and effectively.
When choosing an appropriate critical communication solution Jeremy Sharp, Director of Adtec Communications, believes risk and safety management need to consider the following elements:
A guaranteed mechanism that kick-starts a conference call as soon as an emergency hits:
Emergencies are by nature unexpected events, requiring people to respond on-the-fly. If your communication solution has no mechanism in place to guarantee kick-starting a conference call as soon as an emergency hits, the response team will have no co-ordinated effort to counter any of the problems at hand.
Voice page broadcasting capability:
A voice page assembles emergency teams together in a few minutes. The key is to have a critical communication solution that provides an external mechanism which is activated to automatically notify all appropriate personnel. This eliminates the need to have an individual make multiple phone calls.
SMS broadcasting capability:
A simple and effective way of activating an emergency response is via SMS broadcasting. A pin number initiates the response and the message is sent to all members of your emergency team.
The ability to notify all stakeholders irrespective of their location:
Consider whether the chosen critical communication solution needs to offer mobility. As members of an emergency team are rarely found in one, fixed location the solution will more than likely need to include the use of multiple networks. Consider also whether the solution needs to allow communication across different handheld devices.
Ensure your solution can be initiated from anywhere and by any team member:
For maximum flexibility and success in an emergency situation, ensure that your chosen solution can be initiated by any member of the team regardless of their location. Notifying all relevant personal immediately is paramount, even if they are widely spread.
Ensuring the safety of a solo employee at a remote site:
Does your chosen critical communication solution need to take into account staff that work alone and or remotely?
WorkCover statistics suggest that employees working alone and remotely face a potentially high level of danger, as there is no one with them to help raise the alarm in the face of adversity.
Ensure that your chosen critical communication solution includes devices that can keep track of your staff's well being.
Devices such as Adtec's Heartbeat technology help reduce this danger by calling the employee at predetermined intervals and raising the alarm if an immediate response is not given.
Monitoring events in real-time:
The ability of the critical communication solution to monitor events in real-time is fundamental. Members of an emergency response team require communication capability between each other and a central base.
In disaster scenarios, communication difficulties are often hard to separate from co-ordination difficulties, and great co-ordination difficulties are often inter organisational.
Having a system that works over multiple disparate networks lets different teams communicate effectively with each other and with a central command base.
Post-analysis of a response to an emergency situation is critical in improving planning, response and recovery.
An effective critical communication solution should be able to record all voice traffic on the system. It should also have a readable log of all events that have taken place.
Ensure your disaster recovery plan is simple and easy to implement:
Your system should be quick and easy to implement. Needless to say, it should be regularly practiced, checked and trialled in mock emergency situations.