School Computing

Mass Notification Systems

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For a list of vendors and recommendations on hardware and software for mass notification emergency alert systems, please see: Emergency Planning

These systems and software packages will help a school communicate with its community in the first few minutes of a crisis and throughout the duration of the event. The first section, Emergency Mass Alert Notification Systems, lists some resources that pertain to campus-wide systems that would broadcast, generally via PA speakers, strobes, sirens, automated phone dialing, or text messages, an alert message to your local constituents with instructions as to how to proceed during an emergency.

Types of Emergency Mass Alert SystemsEdit

A. Current Systems

  1. "sneaker net"
  2. sirens
  3. bell systems

B. Telephone System Based

  1. Features
    1. automated phone calling messages
    2. add-on to current campus telephone systems
    3. PBX then sends messages (dials phones OR text across screens)
  2. Concerns
    1. slow (limitations of trunks)
    2. must be near telephone (or conversion device)

C. Analog Paging Systems

  1. Features
    1. Microphone / dial-in access at "head end"
    2. wired connections to remote locations via campus network
    3. remote locations contain ampliers
    4. speakers hard-wired to amplifiers
    5. the "ideal" (security experts)
  2. Concerns
    1. heavy wiring costs

D. VOIP solutions

  1. Features
    1. use existing VOIP (IP telephone) implementation to broadcast over speaker phones & text (and IP speakers, if installed)
  2. Concerns
    1. use of campus data network
    2. power

E. IP-based solutions

  1. Features
    1. use existing IP network to control IP-enabled devices
    2. can be speakers, sirens, strobes, pagers, text messages
  2. Concerns
    1. use of campus data network
    2. power

F. Wireless-based Solutions

  1. Features
    1. use central transmitter to control wireless (paging frequency) enabled devices
    2. can be speakers, sirens, strobes, pagers, text messages
  2. Concerns
    1. dead spots
    2. interference

G. Fire Alarm System (voice enabled)

  1. Features
    1. use existing voice-activated fire system to broadcast voice
  2. Concerns
    1. code issues
    2. confusion?
    3. expensive if not already installed

H. Hybrid

  1. Features
    1. combination of systems listed above

Mass Notification Diagram

Retrieved from ISED-L list-serv 2007, CC3.0 a, s-a, nc license

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