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Find and Share Emergency Digital Signage Solution providers that offer a robust solution set including digital signage software, screens and displays, media player devices, content creation, network managed services, installation, and maintenance. Find a provider that helps you take the guesswork out of planning and developing your emergency digital signage initiative.

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Viewsonic Digital Signage

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7 Easy Steps for Crisis Communications Planning

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Putting together a crisis communications plan.

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Secure Emergency Communication Systems Prevent Misuse

The recent increase in school shootings (more school children have died in the US this year as of writing than service members in the military) has also seen an increase in perpetrators making use of the schools emergency communication system for their own nefarious purposes. The suspects at both Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, and at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, pulled the fire alarm, causing students and staff to leave their classrooms, believing there to be a fire drill. In both cases, the very systems designed to keep students safe were instead used against them.

While the fire alarm is easy to access via its pull stations, its not the only system vulnerable to unauthorized usage. Most perpetrators of school shootings have been current or former students, or have other ties to that school. Therefore, they are more familiar with the schools security and could know the number for the PA system and dial it, either to use it themselves or to prevent security or school administrators from using it. As more violent incidents at schools occur, the more future shooters can learn from the techniques of those who came before them.

It is vital to secure the emergency communication system from unauthorized usage. While this may be impossible for certain parts of the system, such as the fire alarm pull station or even the PA, the system as a whole should be protected with user log in and passwords, as well as different classes of user to restrict which users have access to what features as needed. This in addition to using multiple methods of communication could help prevent further misuse of emergency systems. For example, if students and staff are expecting any emergencies or drills to be announced with both audio and visual PA, it would be easier to know that something was wrong and that it wasnt a real alarm if they heard only the fire alarm.

PA Needs to Be Both Audio and Visual

In emergency situations, audio PA alone often isnt enough to convey emergency communications to those who need it. For example, in the recent tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, one of the first acts done by the shooter was to pull the fire alarm, which caused many students and teachers to believe that there was a fire drill and leave their classrooms before a code red lockdown could be enacted. More recently, at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the fire alarm was pulled, causing students and staff to, believing there was a fire drill, go outside, where they began to hear gunshots.

Fire alarms, by design, are extremely loud the alarm could effectively nullify any attempt to communicate via audio PA. In addition, many types of emergencies could render a substantial portion of the victims at least temporarily deaf, also rendering audio communications futile.

To most effectively communicate during an emergency, audio/visual PA would provide both the audio announcement but also a text announcement that would reach people unable to hear the audio for any reason. In addition, text announcements can continue scrolling, preventing people from missing important information. Its also easier with text announcements to provide different instructions to different locations without the other messages interfering and the message getting muddled or misunderstood.

Even in situations where everyone is able to hear clearly, having additional sources of communication is essential. An audio announcement alone could result in missed information if people were not paying attention quickly enough. Also, any single source of communication could see people seeking corroboration from another source. Audio/Visual PA provides two sources of communication in one and ensures that messages and information reach people in an emergency even in extremely loud environments. Additionally, if all official emergency messages and drills utilize both audio and text, then staff could know immediately that something was wrong if one was issued by itself.

How to Change Comm Control Preferences

The Communication Control, or Comm Control, screen is where users can set how they want to be contacted. It is accessible either from the User Directory or from the User Database Manager by clicking on the Comm Control button in the upper right corner of the window. Either location will take you to the Communications Control screen. Higher levels of user, such as MGR, can access the Comm Control for any user from the User Directory, click the check box next to the users name before clicking on the Comm Control button and from the User Database Manager, navigate to the users account first, then click on the comm control button.

Comm Control Screen

Text Device Control: See How to Set Up Text Device Control

In/Out Whiteboard: The User Directory shows whether each user is In or Out and that status can be changed here.
Forward Communications: To forward all communications to another user, select the users name here.
Cancel Forwarding: Click this button to cancel all message forwarding.
Sign Group: To assign a signs text functionality (LED, MediaPort, IPSpeaker, or PC Alert) to a user, select its Sign Group.
Audio Group: To assign a signs audio functionality (MediaPort or IPSpeaker) to a user, select its Audio Group.
Display Pages on Signs: Select yes to have all pages and text messages displayed on the sign selected in Sign Group.
Authorization List: To limit which users can contact this user, select an authorization list.
User Note: Enter any helpful notes that the user wants visible to other users.

Phone & Voice Mail Settings
Active Phone Call At: Select which of the four phone options is the users active phone. This is the number the system will dial to contact the user by default.
PC Alert Caller ID: Choose whether or not calls with caller ID are announced on the users PC Alert.
Work Phone Number Control: Select whether the users work phone number is listed in the User Directory and/or dialable.
Other Phone: Enter a phone number to be the users Other phone.
Home Phone Number Control: Select whether the users home phone number is listed in the User Directory and/or dialable.
Auth List: To restrict who can contact the users home phone number, select an authorization list.
Cell Phone Number Control: Select whether the users cell phone number is listed in the User Directory and/or dialable.
Autho List: To restrict who can contact the users cell phone number, select an authorization list.
Other Phone Number Control: Select whether the users other phone number is listed in the User Directory and/or dialable.<

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Emergency Digital Signage for Fire and Police Stations

Emergency Digital Signage for Fire and Police Stations

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