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Blog > Emergency Management   4 min read

How to Speed Up Employee Mustering with SMS Roll Calls

by iLobby
July 20, 2023

During routine drills or emergency events, employee mustering speed matters. Slow, manual processes mean longer downtimes and greater risk for those still inside.  

Operations leadership needs access to an efficient, reliable emergency roll call system to gather employees quickly and accurately. It is also essential for them to remain prepared for any unpredictable situation. By implementing an SMS roll call system for emergency responses, organizations improve their mustering processes' speed and accuracy while keeping employees safe.   

With this capability, organizations directly notify each member where they should be and heighten situational awareness across the entire business. Not only do these messages help reduce response time, but they also help avoid bottlenecking of employee responses in manual mustering. In this blog post, we'll explore how SMS roll calls help speed up mustering and keep employees safe during emergencies.

Speed up mustering during an emergency with SMS roll calls

How SMS Roll Call Speeds Up Mustering 

In an emergency, quickly mustering all employees can be the difference between a successful response and a costly disaster. The traditional approach to mustering requires a manual process of tracking each employee's response and confirming attendance. This is time-consuming and tedious. SMS roll call makes mustering easy and fast, with a single, automated message sent to all employees. It also provides instant confirmation of attendance and tracks responses without additional manual effort. The following are some ways SMS roll call speeds up mustering: 

8 signs your organization needs to digitize its emergency management

Provides Immediate Details Directly 

As a rule of thumb, it is important to access the right information in an emergency situation quickly. The information is critical to making the right decisions and taking immediate action. SMS roll call speeds up mustering by providing those details directly, without delays. Therefore, responses to emergencies are much more efficient and effective. With an SMS roll call system, vital information – like who is on or off-site – is available in real-time, drastically reducing emergency response times.  

Some details necessary in the mustering process include: 

  • Real-time status updates 
  • Safety measures 
  • Full name 
  • Department 
  • Medical condition 

With an SMS roll call, the muster leader quickly and accurately monitors people on board without any delays. This makes it easier to meet safety protocols and enforce emergency evacuation plans. 

Individuals Can Mark Themselves Safe from Their Mobile Devices 

Individuals Can Mark Themselves Safe from Their Mobile Devices 

Knowing where everyone is and if they're safe is important during an emergency. With SMS roll call, individuals mark themselves safe from their mobile devices with just a few taps, significantly speeding up the mustering process. This gives the emergency response team data on who and where people require evacuation aid.  

Save valuable time and reduce the chances of errors and miscommunication that come with traditional mustering methods. Avoiding errors in an emergency response plan is paramount, so having a reliable and modern solution like an SMS roll call makes all the difference. Not only does it keep everyone safe, but it also makes the evacuation process smoother.  

The ability to respond to roll calls through SMS is particularly valuable when employees are away from their expected muster locations. If an employee is elsewhere in the building during an evacuation, they may be headed to a different location. Confirming their safety via mobile device keeps safety officers up-to-date so they don't lose time searching for someone who's already safe. 

Mobile headcounts are faster and offer greater oversight for all safety personnel. 

Speed Up Mustering With SMS Messaging Quote

Helps Avoid Bottlenecking 

When relying on traditional mustering methods, processes are prone to bottlenecks. This leads to delays and confusion, making it harder for emergency response teams to locate and help people in need. Digitizing mustering helps avoid bottlenecks like: 


  • Limited access control points: In an emergency, bottlenecks occur when there are few access control points. SMS roll call eliminates this problem by providing a quick and easy way to check the status of many people simultaneously. This avoids long lines and time-consuming processes that slow down mustering. The system provides one-touch verification, which reduces delays in the mustering process. 
  • Lost employee badges: Lost or forgotten badges can create a bottleneck during mustering. To prevent this, an SMS roll call allows individuals to register their presence without a physical badge.  
  • Physical limitations: Manual roll call mustering takes considerable time due to physical limitations, such as the speed at which a person speaks and counts or physical disability. Coupled with the hysteria of a crowded room, this creates a bottlenecking effect, further slowing down the muster process.  
  • Incomplete or inaccurate information: Manual roll call also carries the risk of not collecting complete or accurate information. For example, if a person is absent, they might still get marked present due to the inaccuracy of manual counting. 
  • Mobility of employees: Uncontrolled mobility often characterizes active emergencies, as people flee or search for safety. An SMS roll call provides an accurate and up-to-date way to keep track of people's whereabouts.  
  • Panic and confusion: When an actual emergency strikes, it's easy for people to become confused or panicked and neglect to follow instructions. Everyone is trying to find out what's happening and where to go. Without a proper system, this leads to bottlenecking as people wait for instructions. SMS roll call prevents this by providing an efficient and easy-to-follow system that allows organizations to check in on everyone's whereabouts quickly. It also sends further instructions to individuals or teams, ensuring everyone knows their tasks and roles. This helps provide clarity in chaotic situations and reduces the chances of bottlenecking. 


Avoid Bottlenecks

Prioritize Your Employee's Safety with the Best Emergency Management 

From ensuring compliance with important internal and external standards to enhancing employee safety and security, iLobby is the go-to resource for employee mustering with SMS roll calls. With EmergencyOS™, your organization can quickly create and manage emergency action plans tailored to specific organizational needs. Effortlessly assign muster points, run real-time drills, and track evacuee progress while empowering your staff to take control in an emergency. This helps you rest easy, knowing that your organization is ready for anything and that your employees are safe.  

By adopting our comprehensive emergency management system, you maintain peace of mind with fast and accurate employee roll calls while meeting all the necessary regulatory needs of your organization. To learn more about how our system helps businesses, please schedule a demo today for an in-depth review of all the features and benefits we provide. 

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iLobby is the global leader in facility and visitor management for complex enterprises and regulated industries. Deployed across more than 6,000 sites worldwide, iLobby’s FacilityOS platform powers complex work environments by optimizing and automating key facility processes to achieve regulatory compliance, enforce safety protocols, and drive site security requirements.

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