June 8, 2023


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Martyn's Law

Communicating in a crisis – Meeting obligations with a mass communication platform

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill – otherwise known as Martyn’s Law – will have wide-reaching implications for the way organisations operate. At IFSEC 2023, attendees heard Charles Weaver and Tony Watson from Peoplesafe explain how mass communication systems can help businesses adapt to the new legislation.

Let’s start with the fundamentals of a terror attack response: “The number one thing we hear that goes wrong is communication. Therefore, we advocate a mass communication capability to deliver important messages against a backdrop of challenging circumstances,” opened Tony Watson.

Want to know more about the role of mass communication platforms and Martyn’s Law? Watch our exclusive on-demand webinar to hear more from the Peoplesafe team, as well as legal insight from Mishcon de Reya:

Register for the webinar today >>

“Attacks unlikely to happen at a convenient time”

At a base level, a crisis command structure in this setting should feature three levels: operational (bronze), tactical (silver) and strategic (gold). Watson reinforced the importance of embedding strategy into the planning process: “What you use Monday – Friday won’t be appropriate during a terror attack,” he said.


Peoplesafe Alert is designed to support organisations communicate en-masse in a crisis situation

“Considering when an emergency will happen is the first step – be it day or night. It’s more likely that an attack will happen at the least convenient time.”

Watson continued: “Planning for situations that impact you directly, your neighbours and remote locations is also important. Expect a burden on communication channels during a crisis and plan for in-house networks to be compromised”.

When an incident is taking place, there will probably be a spike in communications – as well as the potential for disinformation. An organisation’s senior team will be bombarded with questions from the media and other stakeholders. The attackers will likely be fuelling this spread. When channels are compromised, then the knock-on effect is a natural distrust in communication.

Countering the risk – “Getting factually correct information through is essential”

So, what can be done to counter this risk? The first step is to rely on cloud-based services. Crucially, this mitigates the risk of losing infrastructure, as Watson explains: “Using an app-based capability which is installed on phones and desktops is a good idea. This app is only used for exceptional circumstances, and it can play an alert that overrides a phone set to silent mode. Using SMS as a backup channel to communicate with other stakeholders, such as customers, is also advisable.”

This kind of technology also provides increased visibility. End-user locations and responses to messages can be monitored in real-time. The system can also maintain audit logs – which are crucial for post-event analysis.

Watson concluded by stating the importance of maintaining control in a crisis: “Mass Notification Systems can complement the systems we have in place now. Their purpose is to create a useful asset in the event of a terrorist attack and help organisations to comply with the Protect Duty Act.”

“When an incident is occurring, getting factually correct information through to everyone involved is essential.”


Subscribe to the IFSEC Insider weekly newsletters

Enjoy the latest fire and security news, updates and expert opinions sent straight to your inbox with IFSEC Insider's essential weekly newsletters. Subscribe today to make sure you're never left behind by the fast-evolving industry landscape.

Sign up now!

man reading a tablet, probably the IFSEC Global newsletter

Related Topics

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments