How do you define the difference between emergency communication and mass notification? It turns out the difference is not so cut and dried. Some experts say the difference is in how messages are communicated — mass notification employs newer methods such as SMS, apps or even social media. Others feel it is more about the direction of the communication; while some say there is no difference at all. However, all the definitions share a common theme: some form of communication between people or systems that know something and the people that need to be informed.
“Emergency communications and mass notification are one and the same and regulated as mass notification systems (MNS),” says Jeff Spille, application engineering – fire alarm, STANLEY Convergent Security Solutions Inc., Fishers, Ind. “A mass notification system is defined as a system that can use intelligent voice communications, visible signals, signage, graphics, tactile or other communication methods. The system can be used to initiate evacuation or relocation or to provide information to occupants.”