Preparing for an Evacuation: 8 Must-Have Capabilities to Look for in Event, Crisis, and Evacuation Planning Software
The successful outcome of any incident response or crisis management effort depends in large part on the quality of pre-planning in place long before the event.
Incidents that can put communities at risk can range from adverse weather or cyber events to active shooters or train derailments, and much more.
But it’s not only adverse events that demand comprehensive strategic and tactical pre-planning to ensure well-organized, coordinated response. Communities look forward to festivals, concerts, and sporting events. Citizens exercise their rights to speech, expression, and assembly at rallies and public demonstrations.
Pre-planning allows authorities to get the right resources in place, to coordinate with mutual aid partners, and to ensure a comprehensive approach. Whether the incident is a planned event or an emergency, public safety is assured and communities can feel secure and resilient.
But the quality of any incident response plan relies on these critical elements:
- Complete, up-to-the-minute geospatial knowledge
- Comprehensive situational awareness
- Connected, unified response by all agency and mutual aid partners
An incident response planning and management software solution that consolidates and coordinates every tactical element under a single, strategic control center can make a difference — one that can be measured in lives saved, property protected, and resources put to their most effective, efficient, and appropriate use.
It can be challenging to evaluate software solutions for their incident pre-planning capabilities, but the right suite of features can go a long way to help you develop and optimize planning, response, and recovery for incidents of any size and complexity.
With that in mind, here are the most important characteristics to look for in an incident management software solution:
1. Be Fully Informed with Multi-Layer Mapping
Mapping options that allow multiple users each to set their map view preferences enable everyone to work better in a coordinated response. Seamless integration of input from multiple sources, including weather, live traffic, GPS tracking of fleet vehicles, and more, better inform decisions, both in advance and while actively managing an event. The result is more effective egress and response route planning and well-informed on-the-fly changes, if needed.
2. Integrate with Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Software
Integrations with industry-leading CAD systems, and even custom interface development, mean that a standard 911 call to dispatch can trigger an event plan, enabling pre-planned responses to deploy without missing a beat. That optimizes every cooperating agency’s response capabilities and minimizes risk to lives, public safety, and property.
3. Unified Command: Issue Tasks and Track Simultaneous Events
A unified, map-based command board allows all locations, resources, and situational details to be viewed, monitored, and managed from a single source and location, no matter how simple or complex the incident. GPS tracking, timers, and alarms make it easier to track individual officers during response to ensure ongoing safety, awareness, and accountability. Simplified integrations make it possible to collaborate and coordinate responses with nearby jurisdictions, to prevent egress bottlenecks, overwhelmed medical facilities, and other adverse outcomes.
4. Integrate and Display External Information Sources
Situational awareness that extends well beyond the immediate geography of the incident can be critical to improving response and preventing subsequent incidents. Live news feeds, weather tracking, open-source mapping layers, CCTV feeds, social media feeds, and much more can contribute to a comprehensive, 360-degree view of any incident, and even enable crowd-sourcing of intelligence at critical moments.
5. Log Event Notes Both Automatically and Manually
An auto-generated event log that also enables users to manually add notes allows for a more comprehensive, consolidated source of information — not only better serving all parties during incident response, but also building a more complete picture for post-event response, recovery, reporting and assessment. Users can create manual log entries to note radio communications, observational notes, and more.
6. Upload Custom Files
Look for the ability to upload and attach virtually any digital file type, wherever it’s needed in the response plan. Ensure ready access to floor plans of critical buildings. Provide photographic images of important structures, entrances, security perimeters, individuals, vehicles, and more. Share access to safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals or other materials involved in any incident. Circulate demonstration fliers, event posters, and rally agendas. Add contact information spreadsheets for event personnel.
If there’s a file that can simplify decision-making, shorten response time, or provide more accurate information to incident command, it should be easy to add, locate, and access when you most need it.
7. Run Reports Quickly and Simply
Reporting is fundamental for all responding agencies to get a comprehensive view and a thorough understanding of where response efforts succeeded, and where improvements can be made. Accurate reporting improves agencies’ awareness of resources used — including budgets, personnel, consumable supplies, and subsequent repairs or maintenance needs on equipment or property.
8. Easily Fill FEMA ICS Forms and Incident Action Plans
When your incident management solution partially auto-fills forms using event data gathered from your automated incident log, you have a head start on forms completion. Report sharing allows multiple users to complete their accountabilities simultaneously, using multiple devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones) for faster, more efficient, complete and compliant event reporting. ICS forms are downloadable and printable as formatted PDFs.
Easy reporting can help your community move farther down the road to recovery with greater efficiency and speed. And that can help build further trust and cooperation for a stronger future.
Choose a Proven Incident Management Solution
Even with all the right information in place, incident planning, response, and recovery can challenge your safety, security, and critical response teams. But the right incident management solution works to eliminate unknowns and empower your response with informed decision-making, comprehensive situational awareness, and coordinated efforts. Selecting the right software should be the easiest part of your pre-planning work. Eliminate guesswork by choosing an incident management solution that’s been proven in some of the most challenging coordinated multi-jurisdictional responses, including:
- Hazardous materials releases
- Weather-related disasters
- Multiple large-scale mass gathering events
For more than 20 years, Omnigo software solutions have been the preferred choice for law enforcement, education, healthcare, gaming, hospitality, and corporate enterprises. Currently, Omnigo’s solutions are used by over 2,000 customers in 20 different countries. At Omnigo, we’re committed to helping customers secure their organizations’ property, control operational costs, and ensure the safety of the general public.
We believe our customers deserve the best support available to protect their people, assets, and brand. We also understand how challenging it can be to protect the community without the proper resources. We’re here to arm users with the best tools in the industry. With a team that includes former law enforcement, first responders, and other public safety professionals, we’re uniquely qualified to understand exactly what our customers need to protect their community.
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