Mass notification during a lockdown

May 27, 2015


By Charlie Howell, Division 28 Consulting

Planning for an emergency lockdown involves answering four key questions:

1. How will we lock all perimeter doors quickly? Electrified electronic hardware can secure a facility or campus in seconds.
2. How will we initiate a lockdown? Determine the trigger mechanism for initiating a lockdown.
3. What will we say? Create language and terminology for announcing the lockdown.
4. How will we notify people quickly? Choose the most appropriate system for announcing the lockdown.

While many Security and Life Safety leaders are keenly focused on the first three questions, the answer to the fourth question is equally important. There are significant benefits to using a mass notification system for communication during an emergency or lockdown.

Intercoms can only communicate through the cabling in speakers in the building(s) and are often inadequate for emergency situations. If the announcements are not heard, safety can be compromised.

A mass notification system utilizes multiple audible and visual channels: intercom, cell phone, social media, email, SMS texting, voice/data networks, and AV equipment to broadcast critical information.  A mass notification system will also alert system administrators if components, such as speakers or microphones, are not operational.

The increasing trend in emergency response is to take over AV systems during an emergency.  Using existing monitors and speakers that are already installed can be a very cost-effective way to improve communication during a lockdown or emergency. Digital displays can be used to provide point specific evacuation notification or routing.  Presentation room or assembly area audio and visual equipment can be interrupted and the emergency status, notification, or evacuation directions can be shared using these systems.

For help creating an integrated mass notification system that utilizes a variety of channels, including existing AV systems, contact:
Mike Botten, 952-808-3444,
Tom Fuxa, 952-500-6725,
Scott Harrold, 952-842-2189,

Categories: Security