How to Choose a Mass Notification System
- By Laura Williams
- Sep 01, 2011
Given the myriad options businesses
have when choosing mass notification
systems, we set out to find what factors
system managers should take into
account when they select a solution.
First, figure out what you’ll need
to be notifying people about. Is your
facility vulnerable to severe weather?
Hazmat spills? Terrorist attacks?
Choose a system that will work best
for the type of calamity you’re hoping
After that, you’ll want to consider
the demographics of the group you
are seeking to notify -- and size isn’t
everything here. “A 200-person nursing
home, for instance, is going to
have different considerations than a
200-person office building,” said Revan
Davis, fire alarm engineer at Safe
and Sound Alarm. While office workers
may immediately open every e-mail or
text message they get, nursing home
residents are unlikely even to have
such messaging accounts, and so auditory
and visual notifications would be
best for them.
You’ll want to consider, too, whether
the population is stable or transient,
Davis said. System administrators can
collect contact information for members
of a constant population and notify
them personally via SMS or e-mail.
But at, say, a shopping mall, the population
will vary widely from day to day
and needs upfront visual or auditory
The security industry loves leveraging
its products for other functions.
So what else can you use an MNS for?
Systems with high-quality speakers
can be used to pipe in background
music. In addition to saving the cost of
buying another device, using the voice
function of a system in place of a public
address system saves wiring space
in ceilings -- which is hot real estate
This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Security Today.
Laura Williams is content development editor for Security Products magazine.