One of the first steps senior living communities should take when creating their IT disaster recovery plan (IT DRP) is to establish a hotline or call center for emergency situations. This allows them to have a secure and efficient way to communicate with their staff, residents, and residents’ loved ones.

When regular operations are hindered by a disaster–whether it be a weather-caused, a cyber-attack, or another event, it’s important to have an off-site call center. This may be established at another local senior living community or the site of the community’s headquarters. Regardless of location, it needs to be identified in the plan, with details of the logistics–how and when the call center is set up and the roles and responsibilities of individuals for establishing the call center.

As senior living communities set up their emergency call centers and hotlines, there are several ways to keep key stakeholders informed. Here are some ways to do so.

Announcements

If an emergency arises, your senior living community can create a recorded announcement for callers that informs them of the situation and updates them with necessary information and instructions. It can include an alternate phone number or other ways to contact those they are hoping to reach.

Call Forwarding

If your main phone line does not work, you can have your senior living community’s phone service provider set up a call forwarding service. Instead of reaching the recipient at the typical location, the callers will be automatically redirected to an alternate phone line. This can be set up in a variety of ways, for instance, if the main line’s phone rings a specified number of times, the call may be forwarded to the new number before reaching the voicemail box.

Changing Voicemail Message

When many callers may be calling your senior living community’s number all at once, and you don’t have the staff or support structure to answer several at a time, it’s likely that many calls will be sent to the voicemail box. In this case, it’s a good idea to update the voicemail greeting with a message about the current situation and give the callers further instructions and information, if necessary.

Voicemail to Email

As noted above, there will likely be an influx of calls during an emergency situation as your senior living community staff, residents, and residents’ loved ones are trying to gain awareness of the situation. When expecting a lot of calls to your phone line that you cannot answer as they come in, you can try a system that converts voicemail messages to emails. This way, you can view each one at a time and respond accordingly when you are available to do so.

Create ‘Rules’ for When Callers Receive Announcements

During emergencies, there may be times in which your senior living community has the ability to speak with callers, but it may not be possible at all times. Set up “rules” with your phone line during certain hours in which callers will reach a live person, and other hours in which they will hear an announcement or be directed to leave a voicemail.

Create a Hotline

Set up a pre-identified phone number that residents and staff can call in the event of an emergency so that if the main phone line is down, they may still reach a line that either has a live person who can give them needed assistance or has a message with the information they need.

RSN Technologies Can Help with Call Solutions and More

RSN Technologies can help with your call solutions so that your senior living community is completely prepared in the event of an emergency. Not only that, we can set up your entire infrastructure, monitor and administer your IT systems (hardware, software, and networks), provide helpdesk support, and more. We have disaster solutions that are built-in and have even been put to the test in actual evacuations. If you’re interested in keeping your senior living community prepared for disasters and want to ensure quick recovery if one occurs, get in touch with us.