Notification Fatigue

January 18, 2016

Most people who have signed up with an emergency mass notification system are flooded with irrelevant or non-urgent notifications. This occurs for several reasons.

  • Organizations send out non-emergency notifications about inclement weather and changes in the normal daily routine.
  • Emergency alerts are sent out to individuals on a list, whether or not they are in the area of the incident.

People get notification fatigue when they receive frequent non-relevant security information. This increases the likelihood that they will ignore key notifications when they do occur, or disenroll from the emergency notification system altogether.

Recently in Texas, a tornado warning was issued to residents during rush hour. Residents continued to go about their day, driving home from work and running errands. The tornado ended up hitting during rush hour. People were trapped in their cars with no place to go. The National Weather Service as well as local broadcast stations had blasted the message to take cover, but few people did.

In an emergency, information is the best weapon that a person has. Making decisions without information can lead to indecision or stepping into harm’s way. ArcAngel combats notification fatigue by only notifying people who are in the immediate area of an incident. When a user receives an alert through ArcAngel, they know that they are near danger and need to seek help immediately.