The Butt Dial Burden

Accidental 9-1-1 calls (more colorfully known as “Butt” dials) continue to plague our 9-1-1 system.  This epidemic is everywhere  in the country and is getting worse, wasting tax payer money and increasing the risk of delaying the emergency response to real 9-1-1 calls.

What is a real emergency and what is not?

cayci1Fifteen years ago I began my public safety career as a 9-1-1 call taker and like many of us public safety “Lifers” I can remember a time before there was a smartphone in every pocket.

Back then, when someone called 9-1-1 and hung up or didn’t respond to questions like “What is your emergency?  Are you able to speak freely?” this often meant there was a real emergency.  Maybe the caller collapsed from a medical problem or maybe the caller couldn’t speak freely because of domestic violence.

So today, with all these extra 9-1-1 calls coming in, it’s hard to tell what is a real emergency and what is not.  To figure this out, we try to reach the caller using the resources we have —  including sending officers to check it out. Without an exact location to respond to ( a common mobile phone problem), there is little to go by.  The result? Both 9-1-1 and law enforcement may not be able to determine when and where real emergencies are happening and  spend considerable amounts of time resolving non-emergency situations .

Is this the best use of our resources?

cayco2With the frustrations of taking call after call that isn’t a real emergency, or when you can’t reach a person to ask why they called, it can be easy to forget why do what we do for every call every day..

But, let’s remember that in public safety, making broad assumptions and becoming complacent costs lives.  We cannot afford to assume that every 9-1-1 call when the caller does not speak directly in the phone or, is disconnected before speaking with an operator, is just an accidental dial.  We need to investigate every call to determine if there is an emergency.

So, how bad is it really?

cayco3The FCC has taken an interest in this growing epidemic.  Last fall, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly identifies the issue in his blog on Harmful Consumer Wireless Behavior and Practices.  O’Rielly identifies “pocket dialing” as “a huge waste of resources, [that] raises the cost of providing 911 services, depletes PSAP morale, and increases the risk that legitimate 911 calls – and first responders – will be delayed.” He is absolutely right.

While there are no official national numbers, over the last 2 years, reports from across the U.S.,  indicate that 10% to 50% of all 9-1-1 calls in that respective area were accidental . This includes Washington State, where 32% (That’s 1 in 3!) of all 9-1-1 calls processed in 2014 were identified as accidental dials.  Commissioner O’Rielly estimated that half of 9-1-1 wireless calls received while he was visiting New York City and an Anchorage 9-1-1 center were accidental.

According to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA):

  • 240 million 9-1-1 calls are made in the U.S every year
  • In many areas, 70% or more of those calls are from cell phones

Assuming 70% is the national average that would mean 168 million 9-1-1 calls are made from a cell phone, annually.  Even if 10% of those calls are accidental, that is 16.8 million accidental 9-1-1 calls every year.

With resources already stretched thin in public safety, it is hard to accept that even 1 out of every 10 calls, let alone more, are unnecessary.  More calls mean more money spent on additional staff to process these public service calls.

So, what can be done?

In his FCC blog, Commissioner O’Rielly suggested a two part solution:

  • Public education and outreach
  • Send 9-1-1 open line and hang up calls a text message so they know they accidentally dialed

While outreach has great value, it takes time before making the most impact.  Think of all the PSA’s you have seen around the dangers of “texting and driving.”  While these do help spread the message, changing behavior, in most cases, takes more than simple awareness of the problem.  Personally, I drink way too much coffee.  I know, because my doctor reminds me every time I see him, that there are negative consequences for this behavior.  I am fully aware and yet, I still do it.  Now, I’m not saying we can’t achieve results through public education and outreach.  When done well, using a multifaceted approach, it gets the job done but it takes time.

cayco4While working on spreading the word, many 9-1-1 centers I work with are focusing on more immediate results by taking on the second proposed solution – text messaging.  I am referring to using tools, such as Smart911, that allow you to text message back a phone that has dialed 9-1-1.

In addition to providing accurate detailed caller data, the Smart911 system allows 9-1-1 call takers to use the Smart911Chat feature to send a text message to any mobile number.  It even includes pre-canned messages to make this step as efficient and effective as possible.  Human behavior what it is, when calling back a 9-1-1 hang up, people do not answer the phone because of the caller ID,  –either they do not recognize it coming from a 9-1-1 center ,or they really don’t want to talk to the 9-1-1 call taker.

Text messaging resolves these issues because the recipient knows that it is the 9-1-1 center contacting them, and can easily reply. In addition to getting real information about these accidental calls, I have seen many cases where using Smart911 messaging has allowed 9-1-1 and first responders to identify real emergencies and gather critical information like the address where help is needed.

Mobile phones have caused the drastic increase in accidental dials to 9-1-1. Thankfully, solutions like Smart911Chat leverage mobile phone technology to resolve these issues more quickly and with fewer resources.

 

An AED Doesn’t Work If It’s Left On The Wall

claire1Claire Crawford is a 17 year old high school senior who, thanks to early CPR and an automated external defibrillators (AED), will live to graduate later this year. Fortunately, for her, she collapsed on the volleyball court in the middle of a match at her school, where several staff members trained in CPR and the use of an AED were in attendance, and an AED was hanging on a nearby wall. Watch the video of her collapse and rescue here.

But what if Claire had collapsed elsewhere, such as at home, behind the wheel of a car, or on a remote hike in Central America from where she had recently returned? Quite simply, she would have died.

As a former paramedic and EMS administrator, I can share with you firsthand that if a cardiac arrest victim hasn’t received bystander CPR by the time we arrive, the outcome isn’t good. The brain suffers irreversible damage after being without oxygen for about 4 or 6 minutes. Even the best of CPR is generally not enough on its own to “bring someone back.” Electricity through the administration of an AED is, in most cases of sudden cardiac arrest, the only thing that can reverse the electrical disturbance in the heart. You might be thinking, “Great! I’ll be fine. There are AEDs everywhere now.”

defibWhile it’s true we have seen a surge in the number of “public access” defibrillation programs in high density and other high-risk locations – schools, airports, casinos, fitness clubs, and shopping malls – it isn’t quite so straightforward.

AEDs are exceptionally easy to use, even by the lay rescuer with minimal or no training. Once powered on, the device talks the rescuer through each step to assist the victim. The trouble is, without tight coordination with local EMS and 9-1-1, many of these devices have gone unused, even when the cardiac arrest victim is step away from an AED.

Why is that?

In a public setting, the first witness to a cardiac arrest often has no affiliation with that location. Even if they do, they still might be unfamiliar with onsite procedures, AED locations, and the like. To further complicate the matter, even if the local 9-1-1 center is aware of the location of a nearby AED (which is generally not the case), typically they don’t have the capability of notifying onsite responders who can arrive at the victim’s side much faster than local fire and EMS responders can.

chainofsurvivalAt Rave, we address these gaps in the Chain of Survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, from a few different directions.

Through Smart911Facility, a component of our Smart911 application, the 9-1-1 call taker can receive immediate information about the location of nearby AEDs.

Rave Panic Button, another application that ties into Smart911, gives authorized employees at a location the ability to connect with 9-1-1 and immediately notify their coworkers of the location and nature of the emergency they are witnessing through a single button press. Through Smart911, 9-1-1 call takers also can deliver a rapid notification to onsite employees at a facility that uses Rave Panic Button, to allow them to initiate an onsite response. All of these capabilities combine to make for a fully integrated approach to cardiac arrest response, not to mention any other type of emergency.

February is American Heart Month, with a goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. So, what can you do as an employee, a parent, first responder or 9-1-1 telecommunicator to participate and even strengthen the Chain of Survival?

  • Prevention is the first step. Know your blood pressure, take medications as prescribed, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and reduce sodium intake.
  • Recognize the early warning signs of heart attack and stroke.
  • Get trained in hands-only CPR and the use of an AED.
  • Become a champion at your workplace – encourage your employer to train employees in CPR and purchase an AED. Work with local first responders to help establish an internal response team, and practice the response plan frequently, until it becomes second nature. Eliminate single points of failure in the plan. For example, don’t keep the AED in a locked office that only one or two people have access to.
  • Learn more about how the capabilities of Smart911, Rave Panic Button, and Smart911Facility can strengthen the Chain of Survival in your community and in your workplace by clicking here and ask your employer and local officials to do the same.

The next person who goes into cardiac arrest will be thankful that you did.

Eloy 911 Calls Will Include Profiles

ELOY — Emergency responders in Eloy are rolling out a new technology, called Smart911, a free service that provides information to police officers and firefighters right when they receive a call, which saves valuable time.

“It can dramatically improve the outcome of emergencies, especially when dialing 9-1-1 from a mobile phone,” said Eloy Police Chief Bill Pitman in a press release about the system.

Smart911 works as an opt-in database where citizens can create a safety profile that would include any information they would want 911 responders to know in an emergency situation.

For Eloy resident Shannon Smith, a mother of five, the system gives her some peace of mind. She signed up for Smart911 mostly due to her 4-year-old son, who is non-verbal autistic and has a tendency to wander out of their house at any given moment.

“If we leave the door unlocked, he’s out that door,” Smith said.

Now, in the event that he does go roam down the streets and gets lost, as has happened in the past, dialing 911 would instantly give the responders a picture of her son and let them know that he is non-verbal and has a tendency to wander.

The technology can give an address when a call is made from a cellphone, even if the call is dropped. The profile can also detail the easiest ways to enter homes in the event of a fire, as well as provide accurate numbers for the amount of people and pets in the home. For those that have medical issues, allergies or other co-morbidities, the safety profile would outline important details on how to treat patients. The profile also includes emergency contacts in the event that no one in the family can be reached.

Eloy is the third region in Arizona to start employing this technology, which is in place in 40 states and over 1,500 cities across the country.

“With the ability to shorten response time when every second counts, I have no doubt that Smart911 will have a lifesaving impact in our community,” said Sgt. Brian Jerome, who is the communications supervisor of the Eloy Police Department.

For citizens interested in making a safety profile so that 9-1-1 responders can better suit their needs, they can go to www.smart911.com.

All the information in the profile is only made available to 911 responders when there is an emergency.

By Tanner Clinch, Staff Writer

02/04/2016

Is 9-1-1 Still the Number To Call in an Emergency?

Over the past few years, technology has transformed entire industries – from Uber’s rewriting the rules for the ride-for-hire industry, to AirBnb’s impact on the short term rental market, to GPS-based mobile apps that provide directions and nearby restaurant recommendations (putting a huge dent in my duties as my wife’s personal OnStar). This same transformation is coming to emergency communications. The big question is how to reconcile the new communications technologies with robust, proven response processes and protocols. In the end, a key question is if 9-1-1 is still the number to call in an emergency.

emergencyOf course we in the emergency communications industry know the answer is a resounding yes, but I would not hold it against any consumer for thinking otherwise given the increasing “buzz” around smartphone apps that profess to improve emergency response by actually side stepping the 9-1-1 system. Whether a phone app that calls a third party center which then relays a call to a PSAP, an app that dials a local law enforcement center’s 10-digit line instead of 911, or an app that “calls 911” via a 10-digit line routed through a VOIP-positioning center – the reality is that consumers are increasingly being bombarded with a message contrary to the message to “dial 9-1-1 in an emergency” that the industry has spent years cultivating. Further, many of these solutions put an expectation on PSAPs to modify their protocols to accommodate their commercial solution (we all know who will get blamed if something doesn’t work). As Trey Forgety, NENA Government Affairs Director, writes in the Winter 2016 edition of The Call magazine, “a truly universal means of contacting emergency services, regardless of location or affiliation, is preferable… it will become increasingly tempting to opt for quick-and-dirty fixes. Together, however, we have the power to make sure that this dystopian view of future 9-1-1 systems never comes to fruition.”

What is that “dystopian view”? Imagine a caller trying to figure out which app to use to call for help based on their location. Is this supported here? Am I supposed to use my dialer to call 9-1-1? Ooopps… don’t have internet here, I better call 9-1-1 directly now. On the call taking side, you are left trying to interpret call types or special fields and invoke custom processes that are rarely used. That is “dystopian” and a recipe for disaster.

Unlike these “end around” means of contacting emergency services, 9-1-1 system providers are accountable to regulators (one need look no further than the massive fines handed out by the FCC last year as proof), 9-1-1 is ubiquitous and understood by consumers (“911” is perennially one of the most recognized brands), and PSAPs have proven processes for managing emergency calls for service. Additionally, while there is clearly lots to be done to improve indoor location accuracy, and accelerated the adoption of NG911 so that we can better support new call types, the 9-1-1 system is far more reliable and robust than most commercial communication technologies (any Skype user can attest to this fact). The reality is that many commercial technologies upon which these new entries to the public safety market depend, are not designed for the highly availability and fault tolerance necessary for a life critical service. Opening your Google Maps app and waiting for it to hone in on your location is great for navigation, but the time required to fetch an accurate location can seem an eternity while someone is facing a life or death emergency. The current emergency communication architecture, and the improvements being actively worked on by the industry as a whole, have things like redundant location gathering methods and extremely short call set up times as core requirements (meaning – when you dial 9-1-1, there is no delay in the call being connected).

Roger Hixson, NENA Technical Issues Director, refers in the same edition of The Call magazine, to technological disruption “leading to the non-integrated world that predated the adoption of 9-1-1… apps need to be used in conjunction with NG9-1-1, not to partially or completely bypass it.” I couldn’t agree more. We need to work together to help secure the necessary funding and political support to accelerate NG9-1-1 adoption.
9-1-1 is and should be the basis of emergency communications. We have invested countless hours working in NG9-1-1 working groups and committees to help design a robust system that addresses the changing communication preferences and technologies of today’s consumers while providing PSAPs with unique capabilities that provide them flexibility and unique tools under the umbrella of vetted operational and technical standards. In the end, this collaboration both enables innovation while also ensuring the appropriate system robustness.

At Rave, our applications are designed to augment the existing 9-1-1 system and are proven to inter-operate with both E911 and NG911 systems – our Smart911 system touches nearly 10% of calls in the country, Rave Guardian is the most widely deployed campus safety app, and Rave Panic Button is used to connect users at schools and other critical infrastructure settings directly to 9-1-1 while also notifying key on-site personnel. We work with agencies to integrate our solutions into their processes, and make contractual agreements around liability and availability of the solution. We look forward to adding even more capabilities and products and PSAPs come online with NG9-1-1 and the associated enabling architectures in those systems

Rave Guardian to Provide Campus Safety at WKU

ac7ae49c-c06e-11e5-b51a-1768b80e54eeA new safety app funded through the Division of Student Affairs will be coming to WKU within the next year.

Similar to Eastern Kentucky University’s LiveSafe app, RAVE Guardian will be a guide to security.

Student Government Association President Jay Todd Richey outlined the idea behind the app.

“One of the primary goals of the WKU Student Government Association is to enhance campus safety,” Richey said. “It would enable students to be proactive in reporting dangerous situations, reduce the severity of campus crime and cause students to have an additional layer of safety on campus.”

Campus police Capt. Dominic Ossello said friends and family of students can also download the app.

The app will be able to track the student’s location and tell responders where the student is located and possibly where they’re going.

Ossello said the app is not ready to be used by students yet.

“We have a meeting scheduled to go over with IT later this week. We are suppose to sit down and check out the logistics and see if we’re able to get it up and running,” he said.

Ossello also said it might be available sooner rather than later for students to access.

“We’re hoping to get it out by this time next semester,” Ossello said.

According to Ossello, the app will also be available for regional campuses to use.

Since this is a smartphone app, it will be able to work anywhere in the country, but it is designed specifically to fit WKU’s students’ needs.

“I’m just here to make sure the police know what’s going on,” Ossello said.

Elizabeth Madariaga, staff counselor in the Counseling and Testing Center, helped headline the new safety app for students.

“It provides different functions to help create a safety net for the students,” Madariaga said. “It’s not to take the place of the police officers or to keep crime from happening. It’s there to help assist students.”

Madariaga wants students to benefit from this app and use it as an extra survival tool on campus. If students feel uncertain about their safety, this resource is there to help.

Students can set a timer from when they leave a certain destination, and the app will record how long it takes them to reach their last destination. If the student fails to turn off the timer, then campus police and others to whom the student allows access can see it and respond in case danger occurred.

Madariaga agrees students will think the new app will be helpful in some situations.

“Because we’re so technological, it’s just another layer to offer students safety,” Madariaga said.

Unfortunately, the app is not available to the whole Bowling Green community.

“It’s for WKU students, faculty and staff. But the parents can be invited to join the app as well as long as you have a link to WKU community,” Madariaga said.

The app will provide calling features for campus police and 911. It will also sound an alarm on students’ phones in case they cannot reach the blue emergency towers located around campus.

Madariaga feels the safety of campus is an important endeavor for WKU to invest in.

“It’s letting students know that we care about them and what happens to them,” Madariaga said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep our students safe as possible.

 

By Marcel Mayo, 02/02/2016

Speed Art Museum Cleared After Bomb Dog Search

On Jan. 26 around 8:30 a.m., the U of L Speed Art Museum received a potential threat from an unspecified source. Students and faculty were cautioned to avoid the area for up to an hour that morning.

Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said a “nonspecific threat” led U of L to calling LMPD to the Speed Art Museum that morning. LMPD completed a sweep of the building with bomb dogs, but nothing was found.

This incident occurred about three weeks after LMPD received an anonymous threat against all educational institutions in the Louisville area on Jan. 8. Despite heightened security, JCPS reported that only 45 percent of its students attended class that day. Average school attendance is 93.6 percent.

In light of these recent events, U of L has taken many safety measures in order to proficiently inform and protect its students and staff. While protocol for these kinds of threats varies, there are some steps in the process that remain consistent.

“Immediate communication to all students is crucial in order to avoid these threats from escalating,” said U of L spokesperson John Drees. “For this particular threat, we evacuated the building and sent out a Rave Alert telling all students to steer clear of the area. We also blocked off the alleyway on campus that leads to the museum, and shut down the parking garage.”

Communication professor Karen Freberg, who studies social media, believes that there are other ways to effectively inform students and staff of a shooting or bomb threat.

“Social media is one of the primary ways to communicate to key audiences in a time of crisis. While U of L has been putting in substantial efforts in their online presence and message strategy on Facebook, it is Twitter where people are looking for real-time updates in a crisis or tense situation,” said Freberg.

Many students said that the Rave Alerts and social media updates were vital for ensuring their safety.

“I remember getting a Rave Alert that morning while I was walking to campus” said sophomore Jacob Markert. “It was good to know that U of L and the police had the situation under control, because those kinds of threats are really unpredictable.”

No new information has been found on who issued the threat, or if they intend to release another one. While LMPD did not respond to repeated requests for a comment, ULPD Assistant Chief of Police Kenny Brown says an investigation is “still being held” between local police forces and federal authorities.

Currently, the Speed Art Museum has been operating on a normal schedule since being cleared by LMPD.

 

By Phillip Lentsch 01/28/2016

Smart911 Service Can Cut Minutes Off First Responder Times

STAFF PHOTO BY DAN BROWNWith Smart911, having resident information entered in advance will help the Aiken County 911 Dispatch Center get information to first responders more quickly.
STAFF PHOTO BY DAN BROWN With Smart911, having resident information entered in advance will help the Aiken County 911 Dispatch Center get information to first responders more quickly.

In an emergency, minutes, even seconds, can mean the difference between life and death.

How fast first responders arrive on the scene of an emergency means more time spent attending to the sick or injured or putting out a fire and less time trying to find the location of the emergency in question. “Anything that saves response time and gives first responders more information could save a life,” said Cherie Moritz, GeoServices manager with Aiken County.

Moritz has been tasked with spreading the word and raising awareness of Smart911, a service free to county residents, which could help shave several critical minutes off response times by providing necessary information such as address, number of family members, elderly family members or family members with specific medical conditions in advance.

Even pets.

“It is a service available to every resident of Aiken County, and it could save your life one day,” Moritz said. With Smart911, information is time, as in saved time. Information such as address, layout of the house, including bedroom location, members of the family and their ages and any pertinent medical information that might be helpful for first responders answering the 911 call. “If there is a fire and you have elderly family members that may be on oxygen, it’s good for first responders to know this as they enter the house,” Moritz said.

When residents access the Smart911 website and enter their family information, they can enter as little or as much information as they feel comfortable with. “Even if it’s just an address, it is information the dispatcher doesn’t have to gather over the phone during a stressful 911 call,” Moritz said. Moritz guaranteed all information is confidential, and it is linked to a person’s cellphone number.

“What Smart911 does is it provides information to 911 dispatch,” Moritz said. “Let’s say you have a fire in your home, and you have to call 911. The house is full of smoke, and you cannot speak. Information about address, how many people live in the home, pets, where the bedrooms are located – ground floor or second floor; whatever information you provide in your profile, helps first responders know what’s in your home.”

Moritz invites Aiken County residents to go online and fill out as much information as they feel comfortable with giving. “The only time 911 dispatchers can see your information is when you call 911, and this information is only available for 45 minutes,” she said. “This is an invaluable tool during an emergency. We need to spread the word.”

Residents who would like to learn more about Smart911 can visit www.smart911.com or those without the Internet can call the Aiken County non-emergency 211 information line to learn more.

“Smart911 is peace of mind for Aiken County residents,” Moritz said. “In the Information Age, information means saving time, and time saved means saving lives.”

Dan Brown is the government reporter for the Aiken Standard.

Looking Backward and Forward at “Panic Button” Technologies and Requirements

The first month of a new year is a natural time to look back at what was learned and look forward to opportunities for applying your hard-won knowledge. Sometimes you change direction, but hopefully you did a few things right over the past year and look to “double-down” on those activities in the coming year.

panic1blogpostThis year, our retrospective included Rave Panic Button. This is an area of great growth for Rave’s public safety platform. In reviewing our original understanding of the challenges faced by our clients, we feel the guiding principles we established when first developing this product continue to hold up, even while supporting thousands of new Rave Panic Button sites, including a state-wide deployment.

2015 was a break-out year for the panic-button solution category, and we expect interest to grow further. Consequently we expect many public and private organizations will spend 2016 evaluating such technologies to better protect the health and safety of employees, customers, students, patients, and visitors.

If your organization’s New Year’s resolutions include improving safety and security, we encourage you to consider what we at Rave believe panic button solutions must do to effectively serve a community:

  • Active Assailant Situations are high intensity and short duration. Good safety technology must embrace this:
    • On-site personnel must be immediately notified so response plans can be put into motion without delay.
    • The selected technology must be easy to use and work from any device. Make sure you consider those that rely on landlines or non-smart (a.k.a. “feature-phone”) devices.
    • checklistMost facilities are not castles. Even incidents identified “off-campus” can present a threat to your community. How might you be able to stay ahead of this?
    • 60% of active shooter incidents are over before police arrive. Therefore 9-1-1 will be in charge during the event. They must have the information and tools to coordinate the right response.
    •  The tools provided to public safety must fit seamlessly within existing 9-1-1 workflows and technology. You cannot expect adherence to a non-standard process during a high-intensity event.
  • Good safety technology must support all health and safety incidents. Fortunately, active assailant incidents are rare when compared to other daily health and safety needs.
  • Good safety technologies should bring schools, hospitals, businesses, places of worship closer to 9-1-1 and first responders through the selection, deployment and use of the solution.

This year, we are excited to have new Rave Panic Button features under development. If you are a client, we look forward to improve your safety with this new technology and getting your continued feedback. If you are not yet a client, I hope this list helps. And I am always available to speak with you to better understand your needs, answer questions, or get general feedback..

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe new year!

Missoula Chamber: Missoula County Offers Service To Enhance Business Preparedness

missoula countySince February 2012, Missoula County has provided Smart911 to area residents for free. This important service enhances family emergency preparedness by allowing residents to opt in to receive timely and actionable emergency alerts via email, text or voice message on their cell phones. Additionally, Smart911 allows families to create their own Safety Profiles, which pop up on a 9-1-1 dispatcher’s screen when an emergency call is made. This information helps emergency responders tailor their response to a family’s unique needs. It is easy and free to sign up for this service atsmart911.com.

Missoula County is also now providing another free service to area businesses, called Smart911 Facility. Smart911 Facility helps businesses prepare for emergencies by creating a facility profile that also pops up on the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s screen whenever an emergency call is made by a phone number registered within the profile or when a cell phone calls 9-1-1 from within the business’s physical boundaries. Business managers and owners set the organizations boundaries on a map when they create their business profile. Once an emergency call is made and the Facility Profile pops up, pertinent information within the business profile can be relayed to emergency responders in the field to help responders adjust their response activities as needed. Facility information may include points of contact, utility shutoffs, floor plans, access codes and hazardous materials stored on site and just about any other information a business owner would want an emergency responder to have. Additionally, during emergencies dispatchers can search for profiles of nearby businesses and facilities to alert other businesses that may be impacted by the emergency.

Smart911 Facility works well for organizations of all sizes. With a hierarchal structure that starts with the main business organization and can include multiple campuses and buildings, businesses with many locations can put all of their emergency information under one profile and small businesses can easily navigate through the system to create their profile. Business owners and managers can create their Facility Profile at smart911facility.com.

 Smart911 and Smart911 Facility help individuals, families and businesses enhance their emergency preparedness and reduce the negative impacts that emergencies bring. Signing up with both Smart911 and Smart911 Facility is an easy process. Emergency responders in Missoula and other participating communities strongly recommend Smart911 because these services have proven to be lifesaving in communities around the nation.

Responders hope that signing up with Smart911 will help families and businesses initiate a deeper conversation regarding emergency preparedness and plans, such as where to meet up and how to communicate when an emergency occurs. To learn more about family emergency preparedness, visit missoulacounty.us/government/public-safety/office-of-emergency-management/emergency-preparedness.

Writing for the Chamber of Commerce, Nick Holloway is the projects coordinator for the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management.

What are you overlooking during your emergency notification system evaluation?

ENS1Over the past few years, Emergency Notification Systems (ENS) have evolved from simple alerting to comprehensive communication systems that integrate phones, mobile devices, email, social media, alarms, and many more communication channels.

ENS now intersect and interact with national weather and emergency systems. They are no longer used for only emergencies. Many institutions leverage emergency notification systems for internal alerting during non- emergency situations. With the latest capabilities, alerts aren’t always blasted out to the entire system. Instead, administrators can segment audiences to ensure the right person is getting the right message at the right time.

When evaluating mass notification systems, a lot of time and effort focuses on system up-time and capacity. Indeed, those metrics are critical to any decision, and many vendors won’t pass that test. However, beyond that first level of analysis, a number of overlooked areas can determine why notification systems, not just the technology – but the system of notifying people of an incident — succeed or fail.

Process

One of the emergency notification evaluation areas I want to highlight today is process.

Lack of clearly defined processes often lies at the heart of emergency notification issues. Fuzzy approval criteria or poorly defined lines of authority can result in a delay, or ambiguous message content can contribute to confusion.

Implementing a sound ENS process includes:

brain• Document clearly defined roles. Identify who can send alerts and what approvals are required. Within your emergency notification system, take the time to set up the proper privileges for your users.

• Establish criteria. Determine which types of notifications are sent to which groups of individuals in what time frames. Separate your management and operations into distinct notification groups.

• Create templates. Whether there is an active shooter or campus closing for a snowstorm, a template lets an administrator send out an alert fast. Pre-created templates develop consistency and make it easy to send accurate communications in highly stressful situations.

ENS_AREAS to ConsiderA clearly defined process is one of 6 overlooked criteria highlighted in the white paper, “Emergency Notification Systems Evaluation: 6 Overlooked Areas to Consider.”

As you implement or upgrade your emergency mass notification system, reduce the likelihood of a failure by considering the entire spectrum of issues in Rave’s full guide here.

Rave Guardian Selected by Palm Beach Atlantic University to Protect Students

Rave’s Guardian App Transforms Mobile Phones into Personal Safety Devices for More Than 4,000 Students, Faculty and Staff

 FRAMINGHAM, Mass., January 19, 2016– Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), the trusted software partner for campus and public safety, today announced that Palm Beach Atlantic University has deployed the Rave Guardian Campus Safety App to increase protection for its more than 4,000 students, faculty and staff.  Rave’s Guardian App is the first and most proven technology of its kind, protecting students at more than 1,200 higher education institutions across the United States.

The technology behind the Guardian App is based on Rave’s heralded public safety expertise, transforming mobile phones into personal safety devices that can also engage an entire campus community in safety and policing efforts. It greatly improves communication and officials’ ability to respond to incidents and protect students, faculty and staff, by delivering critical information in real-time.

“Prior to Rave Guardian our students had to rely solely on either calling our non-emergency number or finding an emergency call box near them to notify us of an emergency. Rave Guardian provides an extra layer of security for our students, faculty and staff that brings them peace and comfort for our downtown urban campus,” said Cameron Carver, sergeant at Palm Beach Atlantic University. “Students, faculty and staff appreciate that they can take advantage of it on their own phone – a device with which they are well familiar. The app is user friendly and brings peace of mind to everyone on campus and off campus who uses it.”

Founded in 1968 and located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is an interdenominational Christian institution and encourages students to strengthen their faith through their coursework and mission trips. Students are required to volunteer at least 45 hours each year, either on campus or in the surrounding community, and must attend at least 24 sessions in the campus chapel each year. PBA has two satellite campuses in Orlando, Fla and Wellington, Fla.

Rave Guardian lets users create a virtual safety network of friends, roommates, family and campus safety. Users can then set a “Safety Timer” session. Once activated, “personal guardians” in a virtual safety network can monitor a user’s status updates and location, and be notified at assigned check-in times. If the timer expires, or the user initiates a panic call, Rave Guardian automatically notifies trusted safety resources on campus.

Additional features of Rave Guardian include:

  • Anonymous Tips & Multi-Media Messaging: Allows Rave Guardian users to communicate anonymously via 2-way messaging with campus safety officials. Text and photo content is securely transmitted via Rave’s geo-redundant public-safety grade infrastructure.
  • Campus Safety Connect Button: In the event of emergency, a special “button” on a user’s mobile device immediately connects to campus safety, and a rich profile of the caller and their GPS location is automatically displayed.
  • Opt-in Safety Profiles for Faster Emergency Response: Student-created Safety Profiles containing details such as residence address and medical condition information are automatically presented to campus safety officials during emergency calls for faster, more precise response.

Rave Guardian is a fully hosted Software-as-a-Service solution. Higher education institutions deploying Rave Guardian get access to a dispatcher console configurable to their specific campus operations. The secure system easily integrates into existing procedures and student information systems. It is also accompanied by 24/7 customer support.

The Rave Guardian App – branded for each institution — is available for free download at the Apple App Store for iOS devices, including the iPhone/iPad and Google Play for devices running the Android operating system.

With more than 1,200 college and university customers, Rave Mobile Safety is the market leader in campus safety technology. Its emergency communications notification system protects more than 40 percent of the entire higher education student population in the U.S. In addition to Guardian, Rave’s campus safety products also include Rave Alert, the most reliable broadcast emergency notification solution on the market, and Rave EyeWitness, which allows students to confidentially text campus police about threats or safety issues.

“The Rave Guardian App provides students and staff with a direct link to campus safety on the device they carry with them every day,” said Tom Axbey, chief executive officer of Rave Mobile Safety. “Our solution is highly scalable and is quickly and easily deployed at campuses of all sizes, from large schools like the University of Miami to medium-sized ones like Palm Beach Atlantic. Rave is very pleased to be trusted to protect more students in southern Florida.”

 

About Rave Mobile Safety

Rave Mobile Safety is the most trusted safety software partner, connecting millions to those they trust to protect them, by providing safety officials with innovative tools to prepare better, respond faster, and communicate more effectively during emergencies. Used by leading education institutes, enterprises and state and local public safety agencies, the award-winning portfolio of Rave Alert, Rave Guardian, Eyewitness, Rave Panic Button, Smart911 and SmartPrepare protects millions of individuals. Rave Mobile Safety is headquartered in Framingham, MA. For more information, please visit http://www.ravemobilesafety.com.

National Sheriffs Association, Here Rave & Smart911 Comes!

2016 Winter showcase

Rave Mobile Safety will exhibiting at the National Sheriffs’s Association on February 6- 8, in Washington, D.C. Be sure to visit Jhan Frias, Michele Nelson, and Brian O’Donnell at Booth #6. Please stop by to see the latest improvements to the Smart911 emergency communication and data platform. This is a good opportunity to get a fresh look at Smart911 and other Rave products such as Rave Alert (emergency communication system) and Rave Panic Button (Immediate 9-1-1 and Key On-site Personnel notification system).

Jhan Frias
Jhan Frias
Michele Nelson
Michele Nelson
Brian O'Donnell
Brian O’Donnell

Rave attends the 2016 Wisconsin Police Leadership Foundation Training Conference!

wisconsin

Join Rave Mobile Safety at the 2016 Wisconsin Police Leadership Foundation (WPLF) Mid-Winter Training Conference being held February 7th through 10th at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. Take a moment to visit Tim Convery and Mark Tobin at Booth #10 where they will be discussing Smart911, critical immediate data for emergency response, Rave Alert, and Rave Panic Button.

Mark Tobin
Mark Tobin
Tim Convery
Tim Convery

Join Rave at the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts Conference!

 

FCAM

 

Rave Mobile Safety is excited to be exhibiting at the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts Development Conference in Worcester, MA taking place at the DCU Center on February 9 -11.

Please be sure to visit Mike Shields and Peter Caliri at Booth #49 where they will be discussing Smart911, Panic Button, and Rave Alert!

 

Mike Shields
Mike Shields
Peter Caliri
Peter Caliri

Rave Mobile Safety Reports Strong End-of-Year Results with Significant Customer Growth Across Products

Year Highlighted by Continued Customer Success and Innovation Recognition

Tweet: .@RaveMSafety Reports Strong End-of-Year Results with Significant Customer Growth Across Products http://bit.ly/1SiVKbJ

 FRAMINGHAM, Mass.,January 14, 2016 Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), the leader in creating data and communication software that safety agencies trust to help save lives, today reported strong results for the 2015 Fiscal Year. Rave’s eighth consecutive year of double-digit growth was fueled by new customers selecting Rave as their safety partner across product lines and markets. Rave’s solutions are used by thousands of public and campus safety organizations in every U.S. state, building upon a market leadership position punctuated by a 99 percent customer retention rate.

Examples of the many 2015 milestones achieved by Rave include:

  • Added 250 new contracts representing more than 1,000 unique deployments across state & local agencies, critical infrastructure, K-12 districts and higher education. New customers include the cities of Denver, Honolulu, Seattle, Tulsa, Baylor University and the University of Maryland Delivered a quarter-billion timely, emergency mass notification messages.
  • Processed nearly 10 percent of all 9-1-1 calls in the United States through Smart911, enabling emergency responders to save victims encountering medical emergencies, prevent domestic violence and more rapidly locate callers.
  • 9-1-1 call takers used Smart911 Chat’s unique ability to text with mobile hang-up/pocket-dial callers to close thousands of cases without having to dispatch a first responder, saving time and millions of dollars.
  • Supported nearly 100,000 immediate on-site notifications on mobile calls from more than 5,000 different buildings and facilities using Rave Panic Button.
  • 50 new colleges and universities launched the Rave Guardian mobile safety app to enhance community safety and promote anonymous crime and incident reporting.
  • Won an Edison Award for Rave Panic Button.
  • Won first place at the CTIA eTech Awards for Smart911 Location capabilities.
  • Four additional patents were issued for Rave’s unique technologies, covering advanced means of improving communications with emergency callers, delivering emergency notifications, and automatically notifying community members in emergency situations.
  • Continued close collaboration with governing industry bodies including the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and the NG9-1-1 Institute.
  • The Rave team grew by more than 30 percent, with continued expansion planned for 2016 across all departments and products lines.
  • New offices were opened in Arkansas, Arizona, Washington, Kentucky and Maryland
  • Bolstered Rave’s Advisory Board with the addition of Juliette Kayyem and Richard Serino. Juliette Kayyem is the founder of Kayyem Solutions, a faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a national security analyst for CNN. She is formerly the assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. Richard Serino has more than four decades in public service and is a distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. He has held posts such as deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is considered a founding father of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Rave continued to invest in infrastructure security and performance, successfully completing a third-party security audit and significantly increasing messaging capacity and throughput.

Customers all recognize the increased safety created by Rave’s advanced communications tools. “We are already seeing a return on our investment,” said Jeffrey Miller, chief of emergency communications in New Castle County, Delaware. “Smart911Facility helps us streamline the collection and use of key holder data and alarm data, as well as floor plans.  Smart911 Chat reduces dispatches for hang up calls, and we are seeing personal safety profiles through Smart911 that help us better respond to citizens.”

In Arkansas, the 2015 School Safety Act was signed into law by Governor Ava Hutchinson enabling hundreds of k-12 schools to deploy Rave Panic Button before the 2015 academic school year. The original bill was co-sponsored by Arkansas State Senator, Jane English and Arkansas State Representative, Scott Baltz. “Through the School Safety Act, the state of Arkansas created a law requiring all of our more than 1,000 public schools to be equipped with panic button technology,” said Senator English. “This will allow our first responders to minimize response times which is critical during crises situations, especially ones involving active shooters.”

“Given Rave’s industry reputation as the leader in public safety communications, it was an easy decision to trust them to increase protection for our almost half-million students,” added Rep. Baltz. “In fact, within just a few weeks of deployment, Panic Button saved a life in the Blytheville School District.”

“Our growth and success is a direct result of our continued focus on helping our customers protect the lives with whose safety they are entrusted,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “As one of the fastest growing public safety companies, we are thrilled to not only see our client base grow so substantially, but also to see our existing clients expanding their relationship with Rave by extending the number of products they utilize. We are proud to deliver innovative solutions that help our clients achieve their goals.”

 

National Stalking Awareness Month

stalking111Today, there is heavy focus on campus safety, particularly on the threat of active shooters.  In January during National Stalking Awareness Month, we are asked to take a step back and focus on another threat to college students: stalking.

The statistics are shocking. 7.5 million people are stalked each year in the United States. About half of all stalking victims are under the age of 25.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control Report, the most commonly reported stalker tactics include:

  • Approaching the victim or showing up in places when the victim didn’t want them to be there;
  • Making unwanted telephone calls
  • Leaving the victim unwanted messages (text or voice)
  • Watching or following the victim from a distance
  • Spying on the victim with a listening device, camera, or global positioning system

Given that the highest rate of stalking occurs with 18-24 year-olds, college students can take the following steps to improve their safety:

Stalking Safety Tips:

  • Trust your instincts. If you’re somewhere that doesn’t feel safe, either find ways to make it safer, or leave.
  • Vary your routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places you frequent regularly. Limit time spent alone and try to shop at different stores and visit different bank branches
  • stalking22If possible, have a phone nearby at all times. If you have a smart phone, download the Rave Guardian app. The Rave Guardian app lets you notify people you trust to check in on you if you are alone or in an unfamiliar place. You can easily communicate with those you trust within the app and you can call safety officials directly for help.
  • Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately.
  • Consider obtaining a protective order against the stalker. Some states offer stalking protective orders and other victims may be eligible for protective orders under their state’s domestic violence statutes.

Stalking is one of the few crimes where early intervention can prevent death. Remember to trust your instincts and rely on those you trust for help. Use the above safety tips to remain safe on campus and call Campus Safety or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

A Look Back: Top 5 Emergency Communications Trends of 2015

It’s that time of year when we look back at the past year and forward to the next. To understand where we are going, it’s helpful to look at the road we’ve already traveled. In that spirit, here is a look back at the Top 5 Trends that had the biggest impact on Emergency communications in 2015.

20156Costly Failures. 9-1-1 needs to work. This message was heard loud and clear by service providers when earlier this year, the FCC doled out fines totaling more than $20 million to Verizon Communications Inc., CenturyLink Inc. and Intrado Inc.. No technology is perfect, and occasionally issues happen, but the FCC’s aggressive response clearly showed that our public safety communication infrastructure needs not only redundancy at all steps but rigorous process and timely notification and visibility into corrective actions. As the industry moves to enhance networks, software and processes we can’t lose site of the difference between the cost of a consumer application not working and a public safety service not working. If an app “locks up”, a data connection drops, or a 10-digit call fails, we simply try again. We don’t really know or care why it didn’t work. It is simply a minor annoyance. It’s more than a minor annoyance when lives are at stake. 9-1-1 is different. It needs to work and we need to continue the process of continual improvement to build resiliency into the entire emergency call handling chain.  It’s why we tell people to call 9-1-1 and not some other number.

Kari’s Law. While the tragic death of Kari Hunt Dunn was in 2013, 2015 was the year her impact on public safety was most felt. Starting with legislation in Suffolk County, Long Island, it spurred changes in the existing Illinois law, and new legislation in Maryland, Pennsylania, and Texas where it came to the attention of Congressman Louie Gohmert who filed a Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would expand on the Texas law requiring direct dialing of 9-1-1 and on-site notification for multi-line telephone systems.  The tireless work of the Hunt family and supporters like FCC Commissioner Pai and Avaya Public Safety Architect Mark Fletcher, ENP resulted in rapid action across the country. While the changes to the MLTS configurations are clearly needed, this event makes my Top 5 list because of the example set in turning a tragic event into trend to solve a “hidden” issue, resulting in untold lives saved in the future.

Location, Location, Location. I grew up with a mom who sold real estate. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard about how it is all about location. Well, that is true in 9-1-1 as well, and 2015 was the year the FCC took aggressive action to improve both visibility into the location information being provided to PSAPs as well as the quality of that data (especially indoors). In February 2015, The FCC issued enhanced locations standards. Following on the indoor location roadmap endorsed by NENA, APCO, and the 4 leading wireless carriers in late 2014, the rules drive improved location accuracy for indoor callers over the next 7 years. The carriers, the CTIA and ATIS took quick action in developing standards and moving aggressively towards improving location. While meeting the standards will take a mix of different technologies, an RFP has already been issued for the NEAD (National Emergency Address Database) which will provide location information on WiFi access points – a key part of the indoor location mix. While those of us in public safety always want things to move faster, the reality is that a national roll-out, of a public safety grade solution, done correctly, on the timeline required is an aggressive undertaking and I applaud the FCC for creating consensus and driving the process. Within a short time frame, we will begin to see vast improvements in indoor location accuracy delivered by the carriers to PSAPs.

FirstNet Drives Public Safety Investment.  In December 2015, FirstNet’s board approved the Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) and directed management to take all necessary actions to release the RFP in early January. While this is clearly a huge step towards a first responder network, the work towards defining the NPSBN and the level of momentum sustained by FirstNet is why this made my list for 2015. A by-product of this effort is an increased level of interest and investment in public safety by both the venture capital community and established companies that have traditionally been active in tangential markets (e.g. federal, defense, health care). The level of innovation and resources brought by these companies can only serve to help improve the options we have available to us in providing better service and response to citizens.

Technology Adoption Marches On… and Into Public Safety. According to the CTIA, more than 47 percent of American homes use only cellphones, and 71 percent of people in their late 20s live in households with only cellphone. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center Study, “nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type”. To improve service and offload the rapidly growing network traffic, the carriers have begun enabling WiFi calling on mobile devices (see this blog post for our WiFi calling to 9-1-1 testing results and implications). Well known to any parent, Pew also reports that Facebook remains the most used social media site among American teens ages 13 to 17 with 71% of all teens using the site, even as half of teens use Instagram and four-in-ten use Snapchat. So what does this mean for PSAPs? Already nearly 10% of the country gets additional data on calls from Smart911, regions are rapidly rolling out NG9-1-1 to facilitate new call types, and despite the worries of many about getting swamped with text messages, texting-to-911 is becoming common place across PSAPs. Social media is also creeping its way into public safety with an increasing number of fusion centers and crime centers actively monitoring social media. As communication trends evolve, so too will our emergency communications capabilities.

U of Alabama Safer with Rave Guardian App

UAB campus police are recommending a new smartphone app that seeks to protect students on campus by using a virtual buddy system. It’s called the Rave Guardian app. Anyone can download it to their smartphone, but UAB has customized it and made it available to all students, faculty and staff.

 

WSFA News 12/15/2015

WiFi calling to 911: Testing Results and Implications

Recently, mobile carriers began enabling Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling on specific devices, where the device is connected to a Wi-Fi access point. Such VoIP calls are placed from the phone’s native dialer, yet are completed over Wi-Fi rather than the carrier’s traditional mobile phone network. Of the “Big 4” TMobile was an early adopter, followed quickly by Sprint and then ATT and Verizon. Each of the carriers has taken a slightly different route to enabling devices on their networks, turning it on different operating systems and specific handsets, but the net results is the same: an increasing portion of calls are being off-loaded from the carriers networks to VoIP. This obviously has benefits to the carriers in reducing costs and load on their networks, but also has significant implications (and benefits) to public safety especially as the number of devices supporting WiFi calling rapidly increases.

Rave Mobile Safety recently worked with select clients to determine what affect mobile VoIP calling to 9-1-1 has on the experience of the 9-1-1 caller and Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) staff. While not exhaustive, and we continue to refine the testing scenarios, the initial results and some potential implications are listed below.

Initial Findings

• This limited testing demonstrated mobile VoIP 9-1-1 calls to be similar to 9-1-1 calls placed over the carrier’s traditional mobile network. While some variances were identified, none of the variances appear to have impeded the 9-1-1 caller’s ability to communicate with PSAP personnel, nor did the variances appear to degrade the information available to the PSAP.
• Devices seamlessly move to WiFi/Voip without any action from the caller when the connection to the carrier network is degraded (the exact definition of “degraded” seems to vary per carrier but in each instance was seamless). Once enabled on a device, Wi-Fi calls are placed through the phone’s native phone dialer; no additional “apps” need to be installed, nor is the end-user actively involved in selecting which network (carrier mobile or local Wi-Fi) is used to complete a given call. There was no additional call set up time or manually processes required.
• On some carriers, calls are routed as a wireless class of service and on others they are routed as VOIP class of service
• When completed to the PSAP, all calls were accompanied by ANI data which correctly identified the device placing the 9-1-1 call and provided call back information and the caller location. On some calls, the ALI was accompanied by the address pre-registered with the mobile Wi-Fi service, in addition to an estimated location.
• Where attempted, the 9-1-1 call did not interfere with the calling device’s ability to receive an SMS message sent through one of Rave Mobile Safety’s SMS Short Codes
• The location information provided by the caller was accurate, although more testing needs to be done in adverse indoor locations or areas where caller location information is known to be poor.

The implications

From the perspective of public safety, the benefit of Wi-Fi calling includes support for mobile 9-1-1 calls from locations where there has traditionally been poor carrier mobile network coverage (including indoors). This works natively without any change to user behavior (e.g. use of a special app) and does not require any change to existing PSAP operations or training.

Because the class of service was handled differently than traditional wireless calls in some cases, there is a significant potential impact on secondary PSAPs. In some regions, staffing is designed around a primary PSAP triaging mobile calls and then transferring as need be to local or secondary PSAP (e.g. most of the state of Massachusetts operates under this model). Because more wireless calls will be routed as VOIP, they will go directly to the secondary PSAPs, increasing their call volumes (potentially significantly).

Because the phones did not go into “emergency mode”, the devices were actually able to perform data functions that are some times locked out when a caller is dialing over the usual mobile networks.  For example, call takers can communicate via text with the callers (this is a feature of Smart911) and even share photos or videos back and forth (e.g. picture of patients wound or nearby landmark).

While most calls are handled effectively by the existing mobile networks, it is fantastic to see the carriers improve the ability for callers to communicate with 911 even in places where poor mobile network coverage may exist. WiFi calling also works exactly the way consumers expect it to – they simply dial 9-1-1 and the call is answered by the nearest PSAP, without any need for special steps or a custom app. Where Smart911 is installed, the additional features enabled by Smart911 also work seamlessly with WiFi calling – providing call takers additional information on the caller and enabling text based communications with callers who are unable to verbally communicate. We applaud the carriers for what seems to be a well thought out and beneficial implementation!

How to Speed up Response to Active Shooters in Higher Ed

By their nature, higher education institutions are generally open environments with minimal control over who has access to their facilities and grounds.  In today’s world, that means colleges and universities are forced to address the reality of increased active shooter incidents across the country. The number and frequency of active shooter incidents is increasing, and the amount of time first responders have to respond and impact the event is limited and seems to be decreasing.

The recent FBI study found that 69% of active shooter incidents last less than five minutes. In such a short time period, it’s no surprise that officers arrive before the end of incident only 31% of the time.

The window for students, faculty, and staff to respond in an emergency is also small. Even the best notification systems require key personnel to be notified, access the notification system, draft, and send the emergency alert. As past active shooter incidents show, there is not enough time for even the most prepared staff to respond.

As outlined below, you can see how the current chain of reporting consumes precious minutes and delays responders from arriving to the scene.

initial1panicbutton

This chain of notification slows down response time and costs lives.Rave Panic Button short circuits that notification chain and immediately  and directly  notifies staff, faculty, 9-1-1 and key personnel of an emergency, the type of emergency, and it’s location on campus.

panicbuttoneffect1

This eliminates built-in delays in notifying campus security, 9-1-1, and first responders of an emergency on campus.  When seconds matter, Rave Panic Button saves time and lives.

ravepanicbutton11111Rave Panic Button Speeds Up Emergency Response By:

  1. Immediately notifying on-site resources of an incident with a 90% improvement over traditional notification systems.
  2. Instantly engaging on-site personnel so they can initiate lockdown procedures and send help.
  3. Improve situational awareness for first responders by providing caller’s location and type of emergency.

When you consider technology to speed up emergency response on your campus, remember that your planning and SOP development should include not just officials at your institution, but also your local 9-1-1 center and first responders. These are the people and agencies you will rely on in an active shooter scenario and it’s in everyone’s best interest to be on the same page when it comes to saving lives. We’ve found that when Rave Panic Button is deployed it helps develop closer working relationships and trust among schools, local law enforcement, 9-1-1, and first responders.

 

Mountain Valley Emergency Communications Is First in New Jersey to Use Smart911 to Enhance Public Safety

Public Safety Officials Encourage Residents to Sign Up for the Free Service That Provides Emergency Responders with More Information to Save Time and Save Lives

mountain valley 911 logoNEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. December 2, 2015 – Public Safety officials at the new Mountain Valley Emergency Communications Center announced today that they are the first in New Jersey to implement Smart911, the national public safety service to enhance 9-1-1 emergency services. Mountain Valley Emergency Communications Center provides 9-1-1 dispatch services for the City of Summit, Borough of New Providence and Township of Millburn.

“We are extremely proud to be the first in the state to offer this lifesaving service to our citizens,” said Scott Ruf, executive director of Mountain Valley Emergency Communications Center. “By allowing our citizens to provide vital details to our response teams prior to an emergency, we have the ability to positively enhance our response times and ultimately, the outcome the situation.”

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile at www.smart911.com for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. Responders can be aware of many details they would not have known previously, and now fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

“Smart911 is a great step forward in emergency response,” said Chief Robert Weck, Summit Police Department. “When you dial 9-1-1, you are not having your best day, and even the simplest of details can be difficult to communicate in a time of panic. Now we can approach the scene of an emergency more safely, as well as provide faster and more precise response.”

With Smart911, citizens can link both home and work addresses to mobile phones, which can be passed on to responders in the field for more a detailed, rapid response. Additional information including pets in the home, vehicle details in the event of an accident and even emergency contacts can all be included in a Safety Profile. All information is optional and the citizen has the ability to choose what details they would like to include.

“Having the information that is available through a Safety Profile can greatly affect the way we respond to an emergency,” said Chief J. Michael Roberts, Millburn Fire Department. “If we know exactly where we are going and who we are looking for in a house fire or at the scene of a vehicle accident, those details can help us assess and then respond to those citizens more efficiently.”

Smart911 is currently available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations and saving lives across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas, a heart attack victim in Tennesee and a man trapped in a house fire in Michigan. As a national service, anytime a person with a Smart911 profile dials 9-1-1 in any location in the US that support Smart911, their profile will appear to dispatchers allowing for more information to be available at the time of an emergency.

Citizens are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911 today to have their information immediately available to 9-1-1. Smart911 is private and secure, is exclusively used for emergency responses, and only made available to the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency call.

Tech Trends: Rave Guardian Campus Safety App

(KRON) — One of the hardest parts of parenting is seeing your kids off to college.

And parents cannot help but worry about them, especially lately with all the news of shootings taking place on campuses, as well as sexual assaults and violent hazing incidents.

Tech Trends reporter Gabe Slate shows a new mobile app that he says every student should have downloaded to their phone.

And it is one that can offer peace of mind to students and their parents, and help keep them safe.

Watch the above video to see Gabe demonstrate the Rave Guardian app on the California State University, East Bay campus.

Source: kron4.com

 

Smart911 Partners with American Association of Kidney Patients

National Partnership to Increase Critical Medical Information Available to First Responders during an Emergency; Life-Saving National Safety Service “Gives Sense of Security” to Kidney Patients

American Association of Kidney PatientsFRAMINGHAM, Mass., Dec. 1, 2015 — There are more than half a million people in the U.S.  suffering from kidney failure, many of whom must undergo regular treatments such as dialysis, which can cause serious medical complications. To assist individuals affected by kidney disease Smart911, the life-saving, national safety service that gives 9-1-1 extra intelligence when responding to an emergency, has partnered with the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP).

Smart911 is a unique system that gives kidney patients a sense of security that help will be available quickly should they ever need it. Patients affected by kidney disease are strongly encouraged to create a Smart911 Safety Profile that lists their medical conditions, medications, emergency contacts, as well as other key information that can provide more details in an emergency. Because dialysis treatment can cause serious medical complications, the Smart911 profile can give a 9-1-1 call taker the critical medical details needed to get emergency medical services to the patient as quickly as possible.

“AAKP takes great pride in helping to empower patients to take ownership of their healthcare. Partnering with an organization like Smart911 strengthens our mission in providing patients with tools that help maximize their everyday lives,” said Gary Green, executive director of the American Association of Kidney Patients. “We know our patients will take advantage of this unique service which provides them a safeguard for their well-being.”

The American Association of Kidney Patients is run by patients, for patients with the purpose of keeping their voice and interests in the forefront. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life for kidney patients through education, advocacy and the fostering of patient communities.

Through Smart911’s free Safety Profiles, individuals can provide any information they would want first responders to have when responding to their call, such as identity of residents, medical conditions including medications taken, photos of children, pets and location of bedrooms. Safety Profiles are kept secure and only appear when the associated phone number calls 9-1-1, allowing for a more effective and precise emergency response, saving time and lives.

“As a national organization that reaches more than one million kidney patients, we are proud to partner with the American Association of Kidney Patients, says Tom Axbey, chief executive officer of Rave Mobile Safety. “By partnering with the most impactful patient organization in the renal community we can give kidney patients the peace of mind that medical help will be faster and more efficient thanks to Smart911.”

To learn more about the American Association of Kidney Patients, visit https://www.aakp.org.

To sign up for Smart911 and create your free Safety Profile, please visit: https://www.smart911.com

About American Association of Kidney Patients

The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) is the only patient centered-patient focused non-profit in the renal community. We exist to provide education to patients and their care partners, helping them achieve their best outcomes possible. AAKP’s offers resources in a variety of mediums such as print, online/web, live and via smart devices to ensure all patients regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or demographic has access to the information necessary to improve their health. For more information, please visithttps://www.aakp.org.

 

Cal State East Bay Launches Rave Guardian Safety App for Students

Cal State East Bay is launching a safety app for its students, faculty and staff. School officials say it’s easy to use and provides peace of mind.

HAYWARD (KTVU) – Cal State East Bay is launching a safety app for its students, faculty and staff. School officials say it’s easy to use and provides peace of mind. With a smartphone and the Rave Guardian app, students can quickly get help or send a tip to campus police.

“You give them an app that they can have on their phone and they’re actually going to use it. They’re so tech savvy,” said CSUEB Police Chief Sheryl Boykins.

Translating tech savvy to safety savvy is the goal of this free new app. By touching the panic button, a person can alert campus police or 911.

“We’re going to get your GPS location and your profile information,” said Desi Calzada, CSUEB Police Administrative Manager.

As long as there’s internet connection, school officials say the app will work.

“Anywhere they go…the app can go.” said Calzada. If the student is off campus or even out of state, campus police will notify the nearest law enforcement agency.

Another function of the app is a safety timer. For example, a student walking to their dorm can set the timer for the estimated length of the trip.

“The timer allows you the comfort of knowing that someone is tracking your location,” said Calzada. Upon safe arrival, the student deactivates the timer.

But if the student doesn’t arrive within the estimated time, a text alert will go out to a person the student designates. If the student designates campus police, an alarm will sound at police dispatch.

“I would use it just because I live in the dorms and I don’t always have a ride home,” said Emerald Sanderlin, a CSUEB student. School officials say the safety timer function also works off campus.

“I walk home from work sometimes and I do get scared especially the weather and how dark it gets so I would actually like it because if I feel unsafe I can let my friend know,” said Jennifer Vo, a CSUEB Student.

Students say as long as they get to designate who gets the alerts and when, they plan to use the app.

“I feel like it’s better than you tell your friends, text me when you get home, people forget. I feel like the app will make sure we’re not worried. We know that you got home,” said Gianna Thomas, CSUEB student.

The app also allows students to send tips to police through text message and photos.

School officials tell KTVU San Jose State and other college campuses around the country are also using this app.

Even people who are not part of a college campus can use a version of this app. You can check it out yourself if you go to the Rave Guardian website.