Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

What is Mass Notification?

Mass Notification isn't a system so much as an idea. The idea is to get emergency messages out to as many people in an area as possible. This can be through overhead paging speakers, cellphone messaging, voice phone calls, radio, TV, freeway sign boards, etc.

Email, Big Voice, Text, Mass Phone, Twitter, Radio, Television
Mass Notification Systems are not specific equipment, they're the method used to get emergency messages out to as many people as possible.

By Douglas Krantz

When a disaster or emergency strikes, and everyone in the area is to take action now, a Mass Notification System is a Call-to-Action.

Call To Action

A Fire Alarm System is a type of Mass Notification System; when there is a fire, it calls the evacuation of a building.

On the other hand, a Mass Notification System calls people to action with any impending danger - fire, dangerous weather, terrorist, tsunami, explosion, or even invasion. In an emergency, it's a means of giving of instructions to a large number of people, all at once.

Area Wide

A Mass Notification System covers a larger geographical area than a building's fire alarm system, like:


Not just turning on the fire horns like with a fire alarm system, It gives more instructions. it tells people: In addition to the general instructions, each type of facility - military base, college campus, large hospital, open air arena - has a customized set of instructions.

A hospital, for example, would include in its customized messages: In the above hospital example, pocket pagers and overhead paging systems reach everyone in the hospital. Just to make sure the security department sends out more detailed directions.

Overcoming Communication Problems

The general public, however, isn't so easy to reach.

Single communication systems only pass instructions to a few people at time: By themselves, none of these systems can furnish emergency instructions to large numbers of people, but each of these systems does reach some people: By using all of these methods at once to get the message across, most people in the general public will receive their emergency instructions.

Mass Notification

A Mass Notification System is flexible; it covers any disaster and instructs people about what to do. To get an emergency message to almost everyone at the same time, it is a coordination of many individual communication systems.

Like a fire alarm system, a Mass Notification System gets people's attention. However, unlike a fire alarm system, which only notifies the people of a fire inside a single building, a Mass Notification System reaches people in a community or set of buildings, both inside and out.

A Mass Notification System calls everyone to action.
Life Safety
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