Monday, September 15, 2008

Landline, Cellphone, Email

A classroom parent mentioned they wanted to receive any important notices by email and not using the phone tree.

A phone tree? That is so 70’s.

However, it is important to remember that some people are still “stuck in the 70’s” using old technology. Not everyone advances at the same pace. Not everyone has a cell phone.

If this organization were to go to a unified alerting system, which is the current trend with technology, there is one small problem. This organization has problems with email and their internet provider almost on a weekly basis.

A further dependence on technology might not be the best immediate solution for them.

This brings up several major issues for the school, how do they handle emergency alerting? What happens if something happens to the building and all the records are inside? Can the parents be contacted?

But the real question, which came up as a result of all this, what is their emergency plan for the school? If such a plan were in place, then how to handle student emergency records would not be an issue. It would also be clearly documented the process for taking care of the students and where they might be relocated.

With all these questions that still remain, where do we start?

Understanding the processes that are in place, making sure that everyone knows them, looking at the legal requirements for an emergency plan at a school, and working with professionals to meet those requirements. Then, later in the process, leverage the technology to support those operational business requirements.

We will leave testing the process or conducting exercises for a discussion for another day.

Once you have all of this figured out, what about the company you work for?


Anonymous said...

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provides a thorough Crisis Management Plan template.

Leib Lurie said...

The reference to the 1970's 'phone tree' is no longer relevent. Thousands of schools use a fully hosted, totally reliable, completely automated messaging system that sends phone calls to homes at 5 am when school is cancelled (and no one is checking email), to parents' cell phones in middle of the day when a first grader is absent (is she sick or missing?); AND sends email and text messages when appropriate.

In all events, it is essential to be able to reach every parent, wherever they may be - in minutes; preferrably with the voice of the principal or superintendent; particularly when an incident is in progress.

It is a frightening statistic that 37% of all schools will encounter an emergency lockdown this year, most for weapons in the building or the real threat of them.

Informing every parent fast must be an essential part of any sound crisis management plan.

Leib Lurie, CEO
OneCall Now - when messages matter

Anonymous said...

"No longer relevent"?

It is true that technology exists. And OneCallNow, is just one of the many solutions on the market.

The organization that was referenced solved the problem last night, they will speak to the parent who did not want to provide their phone number.

Some non-profits, even in the United States, need to be seen in the same light as developing countries. Unless you are giving away free technology, with limited funding, money is spent in higher priority areas. Like funding food and supervision for the children.