Orange County and Community Engagement for Public Safety

November 13, 2017

Andrea LeBron

How Orange County Stays One Step Ahead with Community Engagement for Public Safety


“Orange County has leveraged Rave’s products to not only enhance emergency response, but to also build community engagement for public safety by inviting them to own a part of 911.”



In the historical Orange County of Virginia, Nicole Tidey, Director of the Orange County Emergency Communications Center, is leading emergency management efforts for over 35,000 residents. In this webinar, Nicola discusses how her county unified its community engagement for public safety strategy by leveraging Rave’s 911 Suite and Alert products.

Outlining Orange County’s Emergency Communications Center Structure

Orange County EmergencyCommunicationsCenter Structure_v2Nicola starts the webinar by introducing the Orange County Emergency Communications resources and gives an overview of its structure. Currently, emergency services live in two centers and include:

– 5 Fire Departments
3 Law Enforcement Agencies
3 EMS Agencies

Nicola then talks about how the county is in the process of consolidating its emergency centers into one building and have already begun operating as one 911 center. Nicola’s team captures all types of calls, not just dispatch calls, to understand the workload on the dispatcher, especially with wireless calls as they require action to process that call. Increasing efficiency, reducing response time, and saving lives are all important to Orange County, but just as crucial is getting the community to view the emergency communications center as an invaluable asset.

Increasing Community Engagement By Assigning Ownership

After providing an overview of the Orange County emergency communications structure, Nicola jumped into how her team managed to get their residents to become advocates for filling out Rave’s Smart911 profiles, which is part of the Rave 911 Suite package the county currently uses. Nicola stressed that by framing the Smart911 profiles as “…a piece of 911 that you own”, residents take that ownership to heart and provide key medical information within the secured Smart911 profile system.

Watch clip 1 of 2 to learn more about what made promoting Smart911 profiles to the public so successful.

Experiencing the Priceless Benefits of an Integrated 911 System

Nicola spent a few minutes talking about the Rave 911 Suite being used in the emergency communications center. One of the key features is the SMS texting tool, which is slightly different from the “text-to-911”. Rave’s SMS texting allows the dispatchers to reach out to any mobile number and has even changed their 911 wireless protocols by allowing dispatchers to text 911-hang-ups before taking time to call them back. This has saved the team a lot of time in chasing down what in most cases turns out to be false flags. Nicola also recalls how the SMS texting features helped save seven lives in suicidal or overdose cases.

Nicola mentions another great story of how the Smart911 profile helped save the life of resident, John Nettles, who called 911 while having a heart attack. The two-minute video features Mr. Nettles himself recounting his experience and gratitude to the 911 dispatcher.

Going from 911 Resources to Community-wide Notifications

Nicola ends her presentation by discussing how Orange County will also begin using another tool, Rave Alert, very soon. The tool is currently in the testing phase, but Nicola talks about how easy it is to use to send out community-wide notifications.

Watch clip 2 of 2 to learn more about what Nicola appreciated most about Rave Alert.

Want to learn more?

The full recording of the webinar is less than 30 minutes long and includes more details on how Nicola and her team have been able to save lives and increase efficiency. The Q&A session also includes questions from the webinar audience, including a brief explanation of what Nicola’s biggest challenges have been so far in trying to consolidate two centers. Check it out here or let us know if you’re interested in attending more webinars.


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