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Using Intranets in Emergency Management. Presented by Steve Davis Principal, All Hands Consulting. Communicating During an Emergency. During an emergency, we need to communicate two basic types of information: details on the situation live, needs to be generated “in real time”

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using intranets in emergency management

Using Intranets in Emergency Management

Presented by Steve Davis

Principal, All Hands Consulting

communicating during an emergency
Communicating During an Emergency

During an emergency, we need to communicate two basic types of information:

  • details on the situation
    • live, needs to be generated “in real time”
  • procedures on what to do
    • reference, should have been prepared long in advance
typical approaches
“Real time”

Face 2 Face

Conference Calls


Voice mail


Hallway Meetings




Contact lists


File Server



Typical Approaches

Wouldn’t it be great to combine the two?

Emergency Messaging SystemCan you get your staff the information they need during an emergency or crisis?
  • There's an emergency in your building.
  • You use an announcement to put your staff on standby for evacuation.
  • Employees wait at their desks, wondering what's going on, trying to remember what they're supposed to do for this evacuation scenario.
  • They don’t know what they did with that emergency procedures leaflet that you sent everyone six months ago, after their last miserable performance on an evacuation drill.
what do staff need to know
What do staff need to know?
  • What is going on
  • What they need to do
  • Event status
  • Company procedures
  • Situation reports
  • Current information
  • Corporate response to the event
how do they find out now
How do they find out now?
  • Print Announcements
  • Bulletin Boards
  • E-mail Messages
  • Intranet Surfing
  • Face-to-Face (Hallway – Elevator)
  • Rumors and Gossip
  • Staff Meetings
printed materials
Printed Materials
  • Portable and flexible
  • Does not rely on technology

But it’s

  • Slow, expensive to produce and distribute
  • Wastes paper
  • Easy to overlook or ignore
  • If updates are needed, must reproduce
print what people say
Print: what people say…
  • "Our company newsletter is interesting, but by the time I get around to reading it, most of the stuff is out-of-date."
  • "We find posters good for promoting the corporate values, but they are expensive to print and disseminate, and eventually people stop 'seeing' them."
  • "We are trying to promote occupational health and safety without bombarding people with emails, so we use more "passive" means - cups, posters, pens, books, etc. We use striking designs to attract attention, but it's expensive and quite inflexible."
e mail pros and cons

cheap and timely

easy to create and distribute

most staff have skills

can be forwarded with comments

environmentally friendly

targeted at subgroups

hyperlinks and attachments

can indicate priority


easy to overuse - email overload

easy to ignore

requires action (file, delete)

priority settings often not used by sender

high potential to use staff time unproductively and create stress

can clog up system resources

E-mail, Pros and Cons
e mail what people say
E-mail: what people say…
  • “I seem to spend hours every week going through messages which are totally irrelevant."
  • "People don't act on the urgent messages because they can't find them amongst the junk."
  • "If we send only one email about a new procedure it doesn't seem to have much impact; if we send it out multiple times they complain!"
  • "Our network resources are running out because there are so many 'all staff' messages, and people don't delete unwanted messages."
solving the primary communication challenge
Solving the Primary Communication Challenge
  • To be effective, internal communication needs multiple exposures.
  • We need to create continuous, low cost internal communication campaigns.
  • You want to reduce the number of emails and print materials bombarding your staff, while increasing the effectiveness of your internal communications.
we are in the 21st century
We are in the 21st Century
  • Staff connected through computer networks
  • Information stored on company intranets
  • We just need to expose staff to the information

"If only we knew what we know“

- COO, Dell

new approaches in using the net
New Approaches in Using the Net
  • Push information
    • Warnings
    • Alerts
    • Reminders
  • Pull information
    • Plans
    • Resources
    • Intelligence
  • Training
    • Drills
    • Exercises
    • Simulations
  • Documentation
    • Plans
    • Incident Logs
    • Checklists
new concepts in intranet usage
New Concepts in Intranet Usage
  • Sending pop-ups for warnings
  • Publishing to Screen savers
  • Sending alert messages that link to resource materials
things you can share
Things You Can Share
  • Threat Assessments
  • Tip of the Day
  • Server Status
  • Planned Outages
  • Virus Alerts
  • Training Reminders
  • Forms
  • Timelines
  • Contact Lists
  • Inventories
using the intranet for messaging an integrated approach
Using the Intranet for MessagingAn integrated approach
  • Send instant messages as “Pop-Ups” to all or selected computers
    • Interrupts whatever staff are doing
    • Gives them “real-time” information
  • Include a link to material on the Intranet
    • Link to evacuation plan while waiting for the signal to go
    • Updated Threat Assessments
alert features
Alert Features
  • Bypasses normal e-mail system
    • useful in virus alert situations
  • Appears instantly on all computer screens
  • Can give multiple staff the ability to send messages (password protected)
  • Display who sent, and who authorized, the message
    • credibility, minimizes risk of hoaxes
alerting all employees viruses
Alerting all employees - viruses
  • A new computer virus is discovered. Maybe it's already in your network. You need to tell your staff about it quickly: what it looks like, what to do, and most importantly, what not to do.
  • You usually do all-staff communications via email, but chances are, some people will open infected messages before they read your email warning. Your best communication tool is compromised.
a safer way of dealing with viruses
A safer way of dealing with viruses
  • Network alerts lets you send instant messages across the network without using the email system.
  • They pop up on everyone's screens, no matter what they’re doing, so there's no delay.
  • You can give people the vital information they need. And you can link it directly to an existing intranet page on virus procedures.
intranet pros and cons
Intranet Pros and Cons
  • Great for reference material
  • Can store lots of information
  • Flexible in size, can have small to large documents
  • Can be environmentally friendly (depending on whether people print)

But It’s

  • Passive, not a "push" technology – we need to use another means to promote the contents of the Intranet
intranet what people say
Intranet: what people say
  • "We put all this great resource information on our intranet, but people just don't know it's there."
  • "The search engine on our intranet is great, but if I don't know that something is there, I don't think to go searching for it."
  • "The company has just decided to promote what's on the intranet. I've seen a few pages of interest to me, but I'm sick of going through all the e-mails
a better way pushing content
A Better Way-Pushing Content
  • Turn every computer in your company into and emergency broadcast system.
    • Use pop-up messaging.
  • Convert "dead" screen saver time into an internal advertising system.
    • Every time the screen saver activates, your staff will see important company messages.
how the intranet can deliver
How the Intranet can Deliver


  • Replaces "all staff" e-mails and print circulars
  • Saves money
  • Effective for messages which need repetition
  • Timely or can be scheduled ahead of time
  • Complements static material
  • Promotes pages without being annoying
  • Easy to highlight different areas at different times
when do staff see messages
During / after a phone call

After going to see the boss

After talking with a colleague

After making a cup of tea

After a "comfort break"

After going to the printer

After going through their paper in-tray

After reading some papers

When Do Staff See Messages?

Are your other communications seen this many times?

  • Company news page
  • Training Material
  • Company strategy and direction
  • Company mission & vision
  • Industry and project updates
  • Human resources information
  • People and recognition
  • Safety guidelines
promote your intranet
Promote your Intranet
  • Your intranet site is a great resource for your staff. But do they know what's there?
  • How do you promote the content of your site to the people who should be using it?
  • How do you remind them of the many tools and resources they can now access?
internal communication tool
Internal Communication Tool
  • Raising awareness of new procedures
  • Creating cultural change
  • Promoting company vision and values
  • Reminding people of coming events.
  • Creating community at work
  • Employee of the month announcements…
continuous education
Continuous Education

The Intranet can be used as a vehicle for creating a learning organization, by:

  • Reminding people of training schedules
  • Promoting the value of learning and continuous education
  • Providing knowledge and skills about working effectively
plenty of vendors
iManage WorkSite







Smart Delivery

WebCast Pro




Plenty of Vendors
pop ups

“Real-time” information

– pops up over whatever is on your screen

contact information
Contact Information

Steve Davis, Principal

All Hands Consulting

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