Using Mass Notification
Installing a system at sporting and event complexes that benefit attendees
- By Paul Shain
- Aug 01, 2019
Event venues and sporting complexes pose unique
security and communication challenges. Numerous
factors, including crowd size, whether the event is indoors
or outdoors and what time of day the event is
taking place all impact how a safety plan is developed.
Officials need to be prepared for large groups of people who will only
be on their premises for a short period of time. Due to the attendance
size and other distractions caused by whatever event people have
come to see, it can be difficult to effectively communicate the proper
actions people should take in the event of an emergency. Communications
need to be quick and clear to provide useful information that
attendees pay attention to and take action from.
Any kind of facility and event whether large or small, needs to
be prepared to communicate safety instructions for the same kind
of emergency situations any organization may face, including active
shooters, fire, medical emergencies and other potentially dangerous
incidents. A mass notification system can help venues plan for these
kinds of incidents with prebuilt message templates that simultaneously
deliver safety information in a variety of formats to a wide
range of devices. This helps cut down on response time and goes a
long way to making sure everyone is aware of what the situation is
and what they should be doing.
This article will explain how different devices can integrate with
a mass notification system to share emergency alerts throughout an
event venue or sporting complex.
Connecting to Digital Signage
Event venues and sporting complexes utilize digital signage to provide
enhanced visual assistance for attendees to see what is happening,
but they can also be used to communicate safety messages. Jumbotrons,
scoreboards, and signage in concourses can all be leveraged
to share emergency notifications with clear visuals and messaging.
But how does that integration happen?
An RSS feed often provides a means for a mass notification system
to integrate with digital signage and triggers alerts. The system
monitors that feed for certain key phrases or commands and then
automatically broadcasts an emergency message with the details from
the RSS. This offers a simple and effective way to quickly broadcast
emergency alerts throughout a stadium in a way that grabs people’s
Leveraging IP Speakers
Visual alerts are an important element of any notification plan, but audio
is just as important. Most venues will be equipped with state-of-theart
sound systems to ensure large crowds can hear what is happening.
Integrating these with a mass notification system can offer an intrusive
way to capture people’s attention and offer information about
an event taking place. Since sound systems often have a greater reach
than digital signage, having IP speakers be a part of a venue’s emergency
communication plan is a must.
Mobile Opt-In Alerts
In addition to broadcasting safety instructions, digital signage and IP
speakers can also be used to relay information for how attendees can
sign up to receive notifications on their mobile phones. Language for
these postings can be displayed around the stadium and should be
straightforward. For example:
“To receive safety notifications during the event, text #safety to
This offers attendees a simple way to receive notifications on their
own devices, and it’s also easy for security officials to manage. Administrators
of the mass notification system can configure lists for
each event the venue hosts. Lists can be built throughout the event as
people opt-in to receive alerts, and then can be set to expire once the
event has ended. This can also be used to thank attendees for coming
once the event concludes and encourage them to get home safely.
When it comes to emergency communication, every channel needs
to be leveraged. Being able to utilize on-premises and mobile devices
makes it much more likely everyone receives the information they
need to stay safe.
Critical Event Management
Of course, in some instances, it may not be necessary to alert the
entire venue about an emergency taking place. You may only want
security personnel or higher level management to be aware and coordinate
an appropriate response using critical event management tools
and practices. In that case a mass notification system can provide assistance
in two ways. The first is by designating groups and zones.
Being able to section off certain areas of a venue, such as security and
management offices, helps deliver notifications to the right audience.
The other way is through integration with devices that won’t broadcast
to an entire venue. Desk phones, desktop computers, two-way
radios can all be used to deliver notifications on a smaller scale than
the methods we’ve already mentioned.
Consider these options for mass notification
to make sure the right people get the right message
to stay out of harm’s way during events and
at sporting complexes.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Security Today.