Ask the Expert (Crisis Communications)
Is it possible to both integrate and segment communications?
- By Fred Bezat
- April 1st, 2017
Yes! This is an exciting development in
school communication platforms.
Integrators are physically wired to fire
panels, lockdown switches or any electrical
“normally open switch” for reliability and fast
response. The number of switch inputs that
can be monitored depends on your platform
When integrators detect changes in a
switch’s physical status (e.g., a fire alarm is
pulled), emergency alerts on the displays of
your communications platform are instantly
triggered. Detailed instructions can accompany
visual displays and automated notifications
to authorities may be texted or emailed.
Messages are delivered to displays in either
“all-call” or “zoned” deployment. For all-call,
a single emergency switch is monitored by
one integrator, and a single message is created
when the switch’s status changes. Your
entire campus receives the same message; for
instance, “Tornado warning, take shelter!”
For zoned configuration, multiple integrators
are wired to monitor a single switch and the
platform triggers different messages when the
switch’s status changes. Integrators are assigned
to groups of displays, allowing messages to be
tailored for particular groups (zones) even if
the alerts are triggered by the same alarm. For
example, during a fire, all alerts might display “Fire
emergency!” but the instructions may be “Exit
Door A” for one zone and “Exit Door B” for another.
For routine messaging, communications
platforms can deliver tailored daily messages.
Zoned messaging delivers more relevant
communications, especially in emergencies.
Schools are rightfully giving more thought to
granular evacuation protocols, and clear and
instant communications are at their core.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.
Fred Bezat is product manager at American Time, a manufacturer of integrated, custom timekeeping and notification systems. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877/666-1208.