Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

Immediate information is something we’ve come to expect in our daily lives.  Notifications arrive via cell phones and emails providing an update on any number of items: delivery of a package we’ve been expecting or a recent purchase at the grocery store.  But are any of these notifications critical? Do they significantly change the course of our day to day activities? Yet they are delivered with the utmost urgency, sent immediately through automated means.  Can this message automation and expedience be used in emergencies where time IS of the essence and immediate notification can help save lives?  Can it be shared with building occupants AND first responders?  Yes, it can be – and it’s happening in businesses and schools that utilize automated emergency notification devices.

Computer Automated Information Makes Significant Contribution in Critical Incident Response 

Consistent, accurate information is essential to eliminate or significantly reduce the time necessary to obtain and clarify information before notifying building owners, building managers, building stakeholders, and first responders.

A critical incident notification system operates entirely by computer technology. It dramatically reduces the time needed to accurately notify building owners, building managers, building stakeholders, and first responders of the critical incident.


  1. Building Occupants and First Responders Initial Response to Critical Incident 

Options to respond to a critical incident necessitate building occupants to have accurate information about the occurring event to respond and act safely. As with a critical incident response plan (ALERRT, ALICE, Critical Incident Response Plan, National Response Plan, NIMS, ETC) , building occupants need accurate, timely, and understandable information to choose the safest options to respond to the event and keep themselves and others safe.

An option ideal for immediate and accurate information transfer and currently available, computer-automated Information systems is a dual notification system – a system designed to inform building occupants AND first responders of critical information.

Building staff and frequent occupants can be more aware of building design and building area location designations. (ex. blue hallway, the resource center, room 32, etc.)  First responders who have not attended building training or are not aware of the interior building design may not possess the necessary understanding to effectively and quickly respond to the incident’s location within the building. The most common and critical question asked by a first responder is where exactly is the incident occurring within the structure, ex., “where is the shooter?”

Clear communication plans are essential for incident response at all levels. 

2. Emergency Dispatches, Building Notification Centers, 911 Centers

Many emergency dispatch centers’ first question is, “What is your emergency?” The second question is, “What is the location of the emergency?”

When a caller is under stress or is distracted by the event, it can take a longer time to obtain information and clarify the caller’s information. The process adds a delay when entering the data into the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and the radio dispatch transmission, which is how first responders receive information. The possible result is inaccurate and incomplete information conveyed to first responders.

An ideal option for immediate and accurate information transfer and an option available is a computer-automated dual alarm notification system. What is a “computer automated dual notification system? “The automated computer system eliminates transferring information to one person, then another person, then to an emergency dispatch center operator, then to a building manager, and finally to a first responder.  The computer-automated system immediately transfers information directly and simultaneously to both the emergency dispatch center and building managers.  (note: the individuals who are a part of the building operation can receive immediate notification. The building manager regulates the notification system and is updated when changes are needed.)

The dual notification provides two forms of location information. The first form of the system is for the building occupants. How the building administrators decide to name/label the different building areas significantly affects immediate and accurate notification information. (ex. blue hallway, the resource center, room 32, etc.) The building manager determines the name/label of location information provided to the notification system and is updated when changes are needed)

The second form of dual communication is for the first responders and emergency dispatch center. The immediate and accurate information sent is generally/commonly understood by individuals who may not be familiar with a specific building labeling system. (Examples – cardinal location North, South, East, West side of the building, Street name and building address, floor level 1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor, and closest entrance location when possible. As corresponding to form one, the building manager determines the name/label of location information provided to the notification system and is updated when changes are needed)

3. First Responders

First responders require accurate location information to begin their emergency response. Receiving immediate and precise information transfer reduces the arrival time. When a first responder receives location information where the critical incident occurs, the first responder knows the location. This location information allows the first responder to concentrate on their plan to physically address the critical incident and improve decision-making on how to respond.  Improvement is accomplished via a computer-automated system with a dual communication option.


A computer-automated dual notification information system increases the essential accuracy of incident information and considerably reduces the time of notifying building occupants and first responders.  The first goal is to lead law enforcement to the threat and stop it as rapidly as possible.  The second is to increase building occupant’s notification time to have more options to choose from their critical incident training/planning.  By providing consistent, accurate, and timely, automated information to building occupants and first responders, a significant difference in critical incident response can occur.  This considerable difference saves time, which ultimately helps save lives.

To find out more about computer-automated dual notification information systems and how they can enhance your emergency response plans, reach out to us at