Among the many lessons that Sept. 11 taught us was the absolutely critical need for an ability to notify people in an emergency situation. For example, being able to notify employees quickly about emergency situations can get them out of harm's way, or keep them from getting in a difficult situation in the first place.MessageOne has just announced AlertFind, a system designed to notify large numbers of people quickly during an emergency situation and to solicit information from them if necessary. AlertFind's database of contacts is built through a regular synchronization with a variety of external sources, including enterprise directories, human resources directories and other sources.When an emergency situation arises, authorized users can send a communication to any group of contacts in the database via the predetermined communications devices that have been specified, which includes cell phones, BlackBerries, home telephones, etc. AlertFind will continue to attempt contact with each person on all of the devices specified in the database until each contact has been reached. AlertFind can also request responses from recipients, set up live audio conference bridges between them and conduct polls. The system also allows administrators to obtain real-time reports on who has been contacted and other information.AlertFind is already in use by organizations charged with emergency management tasks. For example, the Town of Vernon in Connecticut has deployed AlertFind to replace its unreliable and time-consuming call-tree system for emergency notification. While AlertFind will be used to notify responders quickly during an emergency situation, the system can also be used to warn school administrators of school closures due to snow, for example. The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) has also deployed AlertFind. Shortly after deploying the system, ILEAS was able to mobilize 150 volunteers in one day to respond to the State of Louisiana's call for assistance following Hurricane Katrina.Emergency notification is an increasingly important component of a good messaging management system, particularly for geographically distributed organizations and in places that are susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, riots or other emergencies. AlertFind is among several products in this category, with others offered by 3n Online and WiredRed, and deserves a look if you need to notify people quickly and efficiently.