Your mood and your productivity are affected as much by the sound of your world as any other sensory input. In fact our sense of sound is our only sense that is not selective. Just try not hearing something! We can close our eyes and hold our breath, but we cannot turn off our ears. Our sense of sound is critical to our survival. Cars have horns, smoke alarms have piercing signals, and your alarm clock buzzes you from even a deep sleep. Alarms, however, are only effective if the information they convey is understood. It's fairly simple to interpret the buzzer from your clothes dryer at home. When it buzzes, you have to at least open the door or it will make you crazy. When your doorbell rings, you answer the door. But what should you do when the fire alarm is triggered at work? Do you remember what to do from the last drill? Are you in the same part of the building as you were when the last drill was conducted? This is when clear and intelligible communication can mean the difference between life and death. Where should I go? What should I do?
The message from your fire alarm system may be loud, but is it clear? Can it deliver more local information than just "An emergency has been reported! Please try to remember what to do next! "?
Mass Notification and Emergency Communication (MNEC) systems are more sophisticated and are now capable of delivering information that is designed to truly save lives. Emergency messages should be relevant to the location of the recipient. You may not want to evacuate to 15th floor if there is an emergency on the 2nd floor. Let's get the right message to the right people.
I found this video to be enlightening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lx2oBz1PBfw
- Matt Oeler, President, Oeler Industries, Inc.,
Intelligent Solutions for Sound