The Frightening Reality of 911 System Failures

911 System Failures: Why Do They Happen

And Who’s To Blame?

911 system failures baby girl

Unfortunately, 911 system failures are becoming all too common in the news.

The latest involves a lawsuit against T-Mobile for failing to deliver 911 calls which contributed to the death of a 6-month old in Dallas. Previous outages have hit other components of the emergency communications infrastructure. From a public safety perspective, it strikes me that we often think about components and not a holistic system.

911 systems need to work 100% of the time.

We all know this is an unrealistic expectation, but it is none-the-less the expectation of the citizens served. From the perspective of the person facing an emergency, the system is not just the 911 routing network, but the originating network, the dispatch equipment, the radios, the proper handling of the call by trained personnel, and even the responders. It is truly an integrated system. We too often look at single components in a system. Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is a critical enhancement to the 911 system, but only handles the call routing and delivery. If a citizen uses an IP-connected device and the device does not connect to the 911 network, sends a poor location, or the call quality is so poor that the call is intelligible, the system has failed. Our multi-billion dollar investment in FirstNet and NG9-1-1 would not have solved the issue in Dallas.

911 system failures dated technology
Emergency responders arrived too late to save Shanell Anderson from drowning in her SUV.

Thinking back to the tragic death of Shanell Anderson in Atlanta which was the result of flaws in 911 caller location technologies, processes and GIS mapping, we see a holistic system failure. There were a number of points over the course of the tragedy where a holistic systematic view could have provided a safety net to the failing of any single component, whether through training, better policies, or technology.

I don’t mean to infer that T-Mobile’s failure to deliver 911 calls, or the “ghost-dialing” problem in Dallas was somehow the fault of 911 system administrator. In fact, I think it is quite the opposite. As we look at expanding the types of devices that can contact 911, and the trusted systems that integrate into the emergency response process, vendors need to be held accountable. As public safety practitioners, we can identify weak links in the chain. From the FCC (who can regulate the network access components) to the FTC (who can regulate consumer claims made by vendors), oversight authorities exist to help ensure public safety. Public Safety can, and should, take a leading role in sounding the alarm to make sure those authorities are made aware of the systemic risks and not just look at our own small piece of the puzzle.

Running Towards The San Diego Mass Shooting

From Discussing the Trending Attacks on Soft Targets to Experiencing the San Diego Mass Shooting Firsthand

Before The Attack

Just a week ago, I was in Atlanta with the Rave Mobile Safety team and 130 of our customers for our annual User Summit, during which we share our product roadmap and elicit feedback and best practices from our users, with a special emphasis on how products like Rave Panic Button can assist in an active shooter situation. It was a phenomenal event and is always an annual highlight for us at Rave, as it provides us with tremendous insight as we continue our pursuit of providing critical communication and data platform trusted to help save lives.

As part of the Summit, I had the privilege of introducing and moderating a discussion with two distinguished panelists – Juliette Kayyem and Don Aviv – who focused on the increase in attacks on soft targets. Juliette and Don provided commentary on the recent trend of attacks becoming lower tech and targeting locations and events that are harder to defend. Because of these factors, attacks have been easier to plan and faster to carry out, with equally high impact as more sophisticated and coordinated ones. The session was highly engaging and the Q&A was fluid. Much of the discussion centered on the importance of effective communications and collaboration not only among traditional public safety and first response agencies but also with the private sector, as they represent a common target of recent attacks.

scene of San Diego mass shooting
The scene of the San Diego mass shooting on April 30, 2017

During The Attack

Fast forward just a few days to last weekend and I’m back at home in San Diego with my wife, Alex, getting some much-needed rest. Right around 6 pm on Sunday, Alex stepped out onto our patio to jump on the stair master and she immediately came back inside. “Noah…something’s going on outside. I hear people screaming and I think gunshots.” I headed outside and although our view is partially obstructed, I could definitely tell that something was wrong – concerned onlookers, screams and more gunshots. I told her that I was going down there to see if I could help any potential victims (for those of you who may not know, I spent many years as a paramedic and EMS administrator in Houston, NYC, and Atlanta). Of course, being a critical care physician, Alex said that she was coming too.

Even though the incident was just down the street, we headed down to the garage to grab our car where we have a small trauma kit. I also wanted the car for protection, since I wasn’t quite sure what we’d be rolling up on. I figured that we would encounter one or maybe a few shooting victims at the intersection, but that the shooter(s) would be long gone and we could get to work. We quickly realized that wasn’t the case.

As we came down the hill, we were waved back by a frantic bystander that was screaming, “Get back!! He’s shooting!” I told him that we had medical training and were there to help if we could. He seemed momentarily relieved. I also asked where the shooter was located so that we could try to keep from becoming victims ourselves (I suppose that would have been best accomplished by not leaving our apartment, but too late for that). Based on his telling me that the shooter was in the pool area, we quickly determined a relatively safe place for us to go around the corner, where he told his friends to carry the wounded. Shots were still ringing out.

Map of San Diego mass shooting
Map of the San Diego mass shooting incident details.

Exhausted, the bystanders couldn’t make it all the way up to the corner where I was yelling for them to bring the victims, so I decided to run the half block down to where they were and assess the injured. The first female had been shot in both legs, but she was conscious, and the bleeding had been well controlled by her friends. The second victim, a male, was hopping around, also with a non-life-threatening gunshot to the lower leg. The third victim was a female shot in the arm and also superficially in the chest. Although in pain, all three were alert with no immediate life threats, which was a very good sign. At around this time, a security officer in an SUV pulled up and said to load the victims into his vehicle. Along with the bystanders, I helped get them into his SUV and he whisked them off to EMS and Fire crews that were staged several blocks away.

Immediately after the security officer removed the three shooting victims that I briefly saw, the first San Diego Police Department (SDPD) patrol unit screamed towards the scene. I waved the sergeant down to be sure he knew he was headed into an active shooter incident and pointed him towards the pool, just a block away. He would be one of the three officers that confronted and ultimately killed the shooter.

At that point, with more police units arriving and not knowing how the incident would evolve, it was time for me and Alex to get out of there. We headed back to our apartment and followed the incident on Twitter, online and on TV. When all was said and done, the San Diego mass shooting on April 30, 2017, resulted in 7 people with gunshot wounds – one fatally – and a mass psychological impact on the community.  Before the shooter could take more innocent lives, he was killed by responding police officers after he pointed his gun and fired at them. (UPDATE: An additional individual suffered a broken wrist and concussion as he was fleeing the scene.)

The Aftermath

San Diego Shooting victim
35-year-old mother, Monique Clark, killed during San Diego mass shooting.

As a paramedic, I’ve taken care of many shooting victims and been involved in large and chaotic scenes, and I will say that this San Diego mass shooting ranks pretty high on the list. Here are some things that stand out to me about this incident and the subsequent response:

  • Tragedies bring strangers and communities together. Bystanders and witnesses alike not only ran for their lives, but also sprang into action to get their injured friends, and even ensure that others were kept out of harm’s way. Certainly, the security officer who helped get several of the victims to more definitive medical care played a key role in the overall response. All of these actions were taken by people with little to no formal training in responding to this type of situation, yet their instincts kicked in and they responded phenomenally well. There was also a vigil planned for the evening of May 3rd where the community came together to pay tribute to the 35-year-old woman who lost her life, Monique Clark, the injured victims still in recovery, and to denounce violence and begin the healing process.
  • The immediate response was rapid, effective and remarkably well coordinated. Real praise is due to the men and women of SDPD, San Diego Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Services (provided by AMR). First responders arrived rapidly (actually, SDPD’s aviation unit was the first on the scene within minutes) and acted quickly and decisively to limit the number of casualties. A unified command was established and seemed to effectively coordinate the actions of all on-scene responders, following the initial response. All in all, for a dynamic incident with dozens of responders, victims scattered over several city blocks and an active shooter, things seemed to go just about as smoothly as they could have. Public safety agencies train for this sort of scenario and in this case, the response seemed flawless.
San Diego Mass Shooting Police Twitter
San Diego PD Twitter post on day of mass shooting
  • The importance of effective communication. From listening to the police radio traffic after the incident, it is apparent that public safety communications played a key role in the quick resolution of the shooting. SDPD dispatchers did an outstanding job of coordinating the initial response and providing updates to responding units. Additionally, the air unit provided critical situational awareness from the sky and directed the first arriving officers to the shooter (coincidentally, SDPD just partnered with AT&T to provide broadband internet and GPS capabilities to the aviation units so that they can be even more effective in their mission). Once the shooter was neutralized, attention shifted immediately to calling in EMS & Fire to care for the wounded. Communications to the public were also handled well and information was shared in a timely manner, thereby controlling speculation and rumor. SDPD communicated regularly through social media and held numerous press briefings to release the latest details of the incident, once they could be verified. Although not used during this incident, public safety and emergency management agencies should follow best practices for communicating through emergency notification systems during an active incident.
  • Horrific acts of violence can, unfortunately, happen anywhere and to anyone. Just as Juliette Kayyem, Don Aviv and I shared with our audience in Atlanta last week, attacks on soft targets are becoming more commonplace. While the San Diego mass shooting last week did not appear to be a planned and calculated attack as others we have recently seen, it occurred at a public gathering – a birthday party – in the pool area of an upscale apartment complex in a safe neighborhood in San Diego. This has a definite psychological impact on people that is perhaps best summed up by survivor and civilian rescuer, Demetrius Griffin, when he told media, “What I am gonna say is, this is an act of terror, not necessarily an act of terrorism.”
  • Community preparedness and engagement. We all need to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to law enforcement, get people who are experiencing mental health issues to professionals who might be able to help them, and do whatever we can to partner with our neighbors and communities to reduce the likelihood and impact of significant violence. It is also important to make a personal and family preparedness plan. If your city or county has an emergency notification system, such as Rave Alert, to provide rapid communications, then it is important that you opt-in to it so that you can be immediately informed of an imminent threat. Sign-up for San Diego’s alert system here.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Monique Clark, the 35-year-old mother of 3 who died of her wounds, and also to the other victims who are still recovering. I also want to extend my gratitude to all of the first responders from 9-1-1 to police, fire, and EMS who handled the events on Sunday so professionally. It is comforting to the community to know that you are always there to protect us.

Rave Mobile Safety Receives Series of Prestigious Industry Awards and Accolades

safety technology innovation

Leading provider of critical communication and data solutions recognized for
its excellence in innovative lifesaving technology

 FRAMINGHAM, Mass., May 2, 2017Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), provider of critical communication and data platform solutions trusted to save lives, announced today that it has recently won four prestigious industry awards for its excellence in innovative lifesaving technology. The awards were granted from security industry experts to organizations in the public safety and corporate fields and recognize Rave’s place as a leader in the industry.

“2017 has started as another year of record growth for Rave, and we are honored that our peers have taken the time to recognize the advances we have made in our continued effort to save lives,” said Tom Axbey, President and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “With our commitment to providing our customers the best-in-class data and critical communications platform, this recognition is encouraging as we continue to look ahead to advances in our technology.”

Leaders in the security field and members of industry non-profit organizations selected Rave as finalists for awards recognizing innovative mobile applications and projects. These awards include:

Rave Panic Button, the industry leading panic button mobile application, was recognized as the Gold winner of the “Mobile Apps” category by an independent panel of judges from the security industry. The award recognizes outstanding government security products in a variety of categories.

The Rave Panic Button Pilot Program Team consisting of Rave Mobile Safety and SNOPAC 911 received honorable mention for its technical innovation by the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute. The award recognizes technical innovation that has contributed significantly to the advancement of integration and interoperability in a public safety project.

The Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) selected Rave Mobile Safety’s platform as a finalist for its International Awards of Excellence in the Products/Service Provider category. The award recognizes organizations who achieved a level of excellence for corporations utilizing its technology.

The Edison Awards selected Rave as a Bronze award winner of its international award to honor excellence in new product and service development by members of their Steering Committee and Nominations Review Committee. The award recognizes Rave Facility for its excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design, and innovation.

This recognition comes after Rave’s acknowledgment as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies through the award of both SAFETY Act Designation® and SAFETY Act Certification® by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the Rave Alert, Smart911 (the Rave 911 Suite) and Rave Panic Button products.

Nationwide 911 Outage and The Effective Use of Emergency Notification Systems

During the evening of Wednesday, March 8, 9-1-1 centers across the country began reporting a 911 outage with AT&T callers trying to call for emergency service.  Based on our own data representing nearly 20% of the nations calls, across a diverse geographic area, the impact of the outage can be seen in the chart below.  While the issue is being investigated, I thought I’d share a couple quick lessons learned on using social media and emergency notification / mass notification services to proactively communicate with your population.

ATT 911 Calls

Many PSAPs and local government officials took the initiative to tweet about the outage and share their direct dial 10-digit number.

DC notifies citizens of 911 outage

Here are couple quick lessons learned for public safety agencies:

  • Make sure your social media communications clearly describe the region for which any 10-digit number is appropriate.  Social sharing knows no geographic bounds and you can quickly find yourself answering calls from calls across the country if your message isn’t clear
  • Consider using your emergency notification system to message your impacted population.  Not only is this an effective way to get the message out via social media, text message, voice calls and other modes, it also ends up being a great way to advertise and get citizens to opt-in to the service.  Your message should include a prompt to share awareness of both the 911 communications issues as well as the emergency notification service.

Our national emergency number system is robust and outages are rare; however, when a 911 outage or issue arises it is best to be prepared.  Rapid and effective outbound communication can help reduce the negative impact of an outage.

Warwick School Committee Views Demonstration For School Safety

All staff members in the city’s schools can now download the Panic Button from Rave Mobile Safety on their phones. When they open it, they can press one of five buttons: “active shooter”, “fire”, “medical”, “police” or “911 other”.

Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety Announce Joint Technology Deployment

Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety Announce Joint Technology Deployment for Improved Security in Warwick Public Schools

Solution Will Save Lives through Enhanced Collaboration with Police Department, Fire Department and Kent Hospital

Wallingford, CT and Framingham, MA – March 9, 2017 – Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety today announced that Warwick Public Schools enabled faster real-time communication and information sharing with first responders through the installation of their joint solution. The deployment represents the first district-wide implementation of the solution combining Mutualink’s multimedia interoperable communications platform with Rave Mobile Safety’s Rave Panic Button.

Under the leadership of Mark Hatten, Chief Executive Officer, Mutualink, and Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety, the two companies leveraged their experience in emergency communications and public safety to create a safer school environment.

“With the Rave Panic Button, Warwick’s teachers and first responders are in closer contact,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian, Warwick. “Rave Mobile Safety integrating with Mutualink improves the safety of our community by reducing the time to incident resolution. When first responders have voice, video and data information before arriving on site, the outcome is better for all concerned.”

Rave Panic Button activates Mutualink’s multimedia communication platform with the push of a button, while instantly dialing 9-1-1 and notifying stakeholders on the campus. All Warwick Public School teachers and staff will have this powerful tool at their fingertips.

“This is an innovative collaboration tool that spans the entire community. Our schools benefit from the experience our first responders have on the platform,” said Philip Thornton, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools in Warwick. “Our goal is to connect with law enforcement more quickly, creating better situational awareness before they even reach the school. We’re also seeing a better way to work between schools.”

Joining Forces to Protect Warwick Public Schools

Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety rolled out their integrated solution following a presentation to the Warwick School Committee and subsequent contract award. After a quick implementation process, responders and administrators conducted thorough training and scenario planning over several months. Warwick Police Department, Warwick Fire Department, Kent Hospital and the Warwick Mall were early adopters of Mutualink’s collaboration solution and have used the platform for emergencies and training for 4 years.

“Rave Mobile Safety’s industry leading panic button app drastically reduces response times,” said Mark Hatten, CEO, Mutualink. “By collaborating with Rave Mobile Safety, we are leveraging their extensive public safety experience by providing an all-in-one technology solution that improves safety for schools and other critical infrastructure.”

Additionally, Rave Mobile Safety is better protecting teachers and staff by instantly calling 9-1-1 while opening a collaboration session between school staff and the police.

“Over the last ten years, Mutualink has enabled schools to have secure and rapid communications with law enforcement,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “This joint solution protects students, faculty, and staff through better communication and collaboration.”

About Mutualink

Mutualink, Inc. has developed an interoperable communications platform that enables community-wide multimedia sharing of radio, voice, text, video, data files and telephone communications in a secure environment. Mutualink’s system is currently deployed by hundreds of public and private entities worldwide, including homeland security and defense installations, NATO Special Operations Forces, police and fire departments, transit authorities, hospitals, schools, universities, shopping malls, casinos, and more. Mutualink’s technology is on the “Approved Products List” for both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense. Mutualink is a privately-held company headquartered in Wallingford, Conn., with R&D facilities in Westford, Mass., Allen, Texas and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and Defense Services office near Washington, DC. For more information please visit

Rave Mobile Safety logo
Mutualink - school safety

Rockland MA Enhancing Emergency Notification With New Mass Alert System

Rockland Ma Launches rave Alert

Rockland MA Has Announced a New Emergency Notification System.

The notifications will keep residents and travelers informed on potentially hazardous situations involving weather, traffic and other emergencies.

Additional Information: Rockland Emergency Notifications

Community Policing and the Growing Impact of Modern Technology

Community Policing Modern Technology

How Law Enforcement Agencies Are Leveraging Technology To Develop and Support Community Policing

Even before community policing became a common term in law enforcement circles, our clients were driving Rave down the path of creating solutions that foster improved communications and sharing of information with the populations they serve. From mass notification solutions to anonymous crime tips, to scale-able vulnerable needs registries, Rave was nudged down the path of helping enable community policing before we knew what it was.

While many of the concepts of community policing have been tested in projects across the country for years, the concept of community policing began to really take shape and gain momentum following a series of high profile events involving police and citizens across the United States over the past few years. Gallup conducted a poll in the summer of 2015 to measure public confidence in the police:

  • 48% of respondents had “some,” “very little,” or “no,” confidence
  • 25% of respondents had “quite a lot” of confidence

The lack of confidence was even more pronounced in the African American and Hispanic communities. This white paper titled Bridging the Gap: 21st Century Community Policing, details some innovative policing programs from around the country and the fantastic results they have achieved.

We have also seen some really powerful uses of our technology in improving the engagement between the law enforcement community and the broader community they serve. Here are a few examples:

  • An anonymous tip from a concerned roommate, submitted through Rave Eyewitness enabled police to confiscate a firearm before the student was able to use it, averting a potential active shooter incident.
  • Atlanta area community police units use registration with Smart911 as a way to engage with vulnerable needs populations.
  • Communities such as Purdue University are instantly alerted to emergency events such as active shooter incidents, reducing the impact of such events

Read more examples of how Rave’s suite helps speed responses and improve community engagement on our stories page.

Dedham Public Safety Officials Announce New Service: Smart911

Dedham Smart911

Public safety officials in Dedham announced that Smart911 is now available to all individuals. Smart911 is a free service available to all residents and travelers, that allows individuals and families to sign up online to provide key information to 911 call takers should an emergency occur.

Newberry County’s Announces New 9-1-1 Technology: Smart911

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster and all aspects of public safety in Newberry County are excited to announce that Smart911 is now available in the area.

Additional News:

A New Safety App Hits the Campus of Valdosta State University

New Mobile Safety App

Students will now feel safer on Valdosta State campus. The mobile safety app called Blazer Guardian is provided by Rave Mobile Safety. It gives each student an additional layer of security, right in the palm of their hand. To increase the safety on your campus, check out our campus safety solutions today.

Chester County Launches New Safety Initiative: Smart911

Smart911 Service is Now Supported in Chester County PA and all residents and travelers to the area of encouraged to sign up for a free online Safety Profile.

Additional News: ChesterCounty.Gov

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Certifies Rave Mobile Safety

Anti-Terrorism Technologies SAFETY Act

Key Components of the Rave Platform are now on the DHS SAFETY Act’s “Approved List” of Anti-Terrorism Technologies

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., February 14, 2017 – Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), provider of critical communication and data platform solutions trusted to save lives, today announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has formally recognized Rave Alert, Smart911 (the Rave 911 Suite) and Rave Panic Button as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies through the award of both SAFETY Act Designation ® and SAFETY Act Certification ®. Through this award, key components of the Rave Platform are now on the DHS SAFETY Act’s “Approved Technologies” list.

The SAFETY (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology) Act enhances national security by providing additional liability protection to manufacturers of anti-terrorism technologies meeting the stringent requirements of SAFETY Act Designation ® and SAFETY Act Certification ®. This recognition is further evidence of the effectiveness of the Rave platform, and the high-performing organization committed to the development and support of Rave’s lifesaving critical communications and data management platform.

“Evaluation for the SAFETY Act Certification and Designation required rigorous analysis and evaluation, which makes us honored and proud to be designated with such an important accreditation,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “We see this as another step forward for our customers as they can feel even more secure and trusted by community partners knowing that they can utilize our solutions without fearing legal liability if the technology is ever compromised following a terrorist act.”

The combination of Rave Alert, Rave 911 Suite and Rave Panic Button offers a comprehensive suite of solutions which provides a best-in-class, mass notification and emergency communications system. Customized for military, government, healthcare, higher education and commercial organizations, last year the organization delivered more than 400 million emergency notifications and processed more than 25 million 9-1-1 calls.

New Smart911 Service Available to Those Dialing 9-1-1 in Chester County

Smart911 Service is Now Supported in Chester County PA and all residents and travelers to the area of encouraged to sign up for a free online Safety Profile.

Additional News: ChesterCounty.Gov

School Safety Technology: Rave Panic Button and Rand Corporation Research

Technology report highlighting school violence and how modern technology can help

school safety technology active shooter

The Rand Corporation’s 2016 report, “Can Technology Make Schools Safer”, is in-line with the research gathered from speaking with dozens of school safety experts and emergency responders while developing Rave Panic Button.

The Rand report highlights the nature of school safety threats, including but not limited to Active Shooters, and then documents the results of a prioritization exercise taken by leading experts to identify the school safety technology needs for improving overall safety.  The results also align with other school safety studies undertaken by the FBI and NYPD, and emphasize two key technologies:

  • Teachers, administrators and emergency responders need to be able to engage in direct two-way communication during a crisis rather than having to report emergencies to the school’s main office and then have the office serve as the sole conduit for communication with emergency responders. This is often referred to as “victim initiated response” and is a key tenant of Rave Panic Button.
  • Staff members need easier and faster access to information, possibly through all-in-one school safety technology applications, in order to prevent, reduce, and respond to the entire spectrum of school violence. The sharing of this information with responders is also often highlighted as a key gap in communication and interoperability – both between school officials and responders and across responder agencies.  Rave Facility is designed to facilitate the easy, scale-able collection of critical data and enable sharing of that information across authorized users.

If you want to learn more about how Rave Panic Button helps improve communication and cuts response times, check out this school safety case study which highlights the use and deployment of the solution to over 200,000 students, teachers and staff in New York.  This solution is also integrated into remote door lock and video surveillance systems provided by Intralogic Solutions.

Severe Weather Notification Best Practice Tips

How to leverage your emergency notification system and weather the storm

Severe Weather Notification Emergency Alert

As I sit here in the midst of the latest Nor’easter to hit the Boston area I’m tracking interesting uses of our mass notification system to manage the preparation and response and sending of a severe weather notification across the country.  Below are couple quick observations of practices in use by clients that can help you better leverage your emergency notification system and weather the storm.

mass Severe weather notificationAutomated Severe Weather Notification

While the storm hitting the east coast right now was anticipated and surprised no one, severe weather can happen quickly.  Many of our clients configure automated notifications to be sent to select administrators as conditions arise.  Tornado watches and warnings are a great example.  As notices are published by the national weather services for a given area, those who are responsible for making the broader community aware of threats are automatically notified.  Many times, weather watches (or “preparatory” messages) may also be automatically posted to social media channels.  As the severity and likelihood of impact increase, many organizations choose to set that those alerts are automatically sent to the broader community.

Carefully Plan Communications Before the Incident

There are a couple of interesting observations here.  First, thinking in advance about the various scenarios and phases of a severe weather event will help you identify the right messages, audiences, and modes of individual or mass communication.

Prevent Messaging Fatigue

If you are a university and different parts of the campus are susceptible to power outages you may want to consider who would need to be notified in each of those areas.  Messaging fatigue for recipients is a real concern.  You don’t want to be sending non-relevant messages about a power out in a dorm to commuter students.

Define Communication User Groups

Additionally, the details communicated back and forth between staff and facilities maintenance are not appropriate even for those living in the building.  Targeting to that level means you need to have attributes that let you define the different user groups as you need to target them. Increasingly the workflows around what should be communicated to whom and when are contained in incident management systems such as WebEOC from Intermedix (a Rave partner).  From pre-event preparation messages through post incident clean up, these systems help track and coordinate resources.

A Bluelight at Your Fingertips: Rave Guardian, Mobile Safety App

With University of Louisville’s blue lights out of order or needing maintenance, SGA Services Vice President Lauren Greenwell highly encourages students to download Rave Guardian, a mobile safety app.

Scotts Bluff And Banner Counties Launch New Mass Notification System

mass text region 22 alert

Scotts Bluff and Banner Counties replace CODERED mass text and emergency notification system with “Region 22 Alert”.

Rave Mobile Safety Bolsters Life Saving Footprint in 2016

 Rave announces key milestones in the last year that enabled customers to use its revolutionary safety technology to prepare better, act faster & save lives.

February 1, 2017 – Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), the provider of critical communication and data platform solutions trusted to save lives, today announced several 2016 key milestones that enabled customers to prepare better, act faster and save lives. Highlights include, record customer growth, continued industry leading customer retention rates and key strategic partner announcements, and most importantly, lives positively impacted.

“In a year with growing threats and increased violence, our customers leveraged Rave’s platform to enhance preparedness and protection,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “It’s more important than ever for organizations to have the technology and plans in place should an emergency occur. Rave is continually innovating to help prevent emergencies and we expect to bring even more lifesaving results in 2017 for the institutions using our solutions.”

Record Client Growth

For the 21st consecutive quarter, Rave achieved record growth with hundreds of new customers representing more than 1,000 unique deployments across state & local agencies, corporations, critical infrastructure, K-12 districts and higher education.

Furthermore, Rave continued to expand its diverse client roster. For example, Nassau County, New York expanded on its relationship with Rave by electing to deploy Rave Panic Button as a key part of its safety and response infrastructure for protecting all of the county’s schools and critical infrastructure. Additionally, following successful deployments in dozens of 9-1-1 centers, Michigan made Smart911 available to every 9-1-1 center across the Great Lakes State.

Among hundreds of others, new and expanded relationships also include Licking County, OH, Boone County, MO, Montgomery County, PA, Erlanger Health System, University of Alabama, and Santa Fe College.

Supporting this growth, Rave delivered more than 400 million emergency notifications. Additionally, the organization processed more than 25 million 9-1-1 calls enabling emergency responders to rapidly locate callers to save victims encountering medical emergencies, home invasions, and incidents of domestic violence.

Strategic Partner Growth

Rave’s market growth and footprint was highlighted by new strategic partnerships with Intermedix, a global leader in cloud-based emergency management solutions, Mutualink, a leader in worldwide interoperability solutions for public safety and Intralogic Solutions, a provider of security technologies. Each partnership resulted in deep integrations, driven by customer demands and significant client traction and success.

Product Innovation

During 2016, Rave continued to expand upon its lead in providing innovative public safety technology. From Rave Command View which enhances situational awareness and provides a common operating picture shared between 9-1-1 and responding agencies, to Rave Analytics which enables 9-1-1 centers to analyze call patterns to improve staffing and other operational decisions.

In recognition of continued innovation, Rave garnered four new patents in 2016 covering mobile smartphone safety apps, delivering data to 9-1-1 and enhancing emergency communications.

Additionally, Rave’s products were touted by third parties as among some of the best safety and security applications in the world. Highlights include:

  • Government Security News (GSN) Homeland Security Awards, “Best Lockdown and 9-1-1 Notification in Active Shooter Situations” for Rave Panic Button
  • Campus Technology 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards, “Gold Award” for Rave Alert
  • Business Intelligence Group, “Big Innovation Award” for Smart911
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act’s “Approved Technologies List”

Saving Lives

From helping facilitate a rapid and effective response to active assailants and shooters at colleges and universities, ensuring faster and informed aid to heart attack victims or enabling proactive reporting and engagement of employees on work place violence or human resources issues, Rave was involved in assisting agencies to respond to everything from large scale disasters to individual incidents and assisted in saving countless lives throughout 2016. Examples of how Rave’s revolutionary safety technology impacts public safety can be can be found on the recently updated website.

Kentucky State Police Support New Alert System to Notify Residents During Emergencies

Residents Encouraged to Sign Up for the Free Service and Stay Informed of Potentially Hazardous Situations

Date of News Release: 1/06/2017

Campbellsburg, KY (January 6, 2017) – Public safety officials in the counties of Henry, Owen, and Trimble (HOT) are excited to announce that H.O.T. Alert, a service of Smart911, is now available to all residents. H.O.T. Alert is a free service that allows individuals to sign up for notifications sent from state and local authorities. H.O.T. Alert keeps residents and travelers informed of potentially hazardous situations involving weather, traffic, and other emergencies.

“This new H.O.T. Alert system enables us to notify the community in real time,’ said Rebecca Mills, Communications Supervisor for Kentucky State Police Campbellsburg. “This service allows for critical communication with the public and provides individuals with the information needed to stay safe or take precautions during emergencies”

H.O.T. Alert, a service of Smart911, enables residents and travelers to Henry, Owen, and Trimble Counties to sign up for free at to receive timely and actionable emergency alerts via email, text, or voice messages on their cell phones and landlines. Residents can also identify when and how they are alerted and communicated with before, during, and after emergencies.

“Residents may have signed up for our pervious alert system, Code Red. A few months ago the 911 board for Henry, Owen and Trimble Counties made the decision to replace our old service with HOT Alerts. The number one reason we switched systems was cost. The new system is more cost effective and more user friendly. I would like to stress to all residents that you have to sign up for the new system. Especially if you’ve changed numbers or no longer have a landline.” said Rebecca Mills.

Citizens of these Counties are encouraged to sign up for H.O.T. Alert and input their information and notification preferences today on the secure Smart911 online system. Their information will immediately be available to 9-1-1 for use in sending them emergency notifications. H.O.T. Alert is private, secure, and is only used for emergency situations to inform the community.

For more information or assistance with signing up in Owen or Trimble Counties please contact your local County Judge Executive’s Office. Henry County residents please contact 1-502-465-3052. Don’t forget to visit

Action Ambulance Offers Smart911 Service to Over 1 Million Residents in Greater Boston Area

Residents in Ipswich, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Winthrop are Encouraged to Sign Up For the Free Service That Provides Emergency Responders With More Information to Save Time and Save Lives

WILMINGTON, Mass., – Action Ambulance, a leader in Emergency Medical Services for over 30 years, announced today that they their medical secondary PSAP [Public Safety Answering Point] will support Smart911 on all 9-1-1 calls that require a medical response.  Smart911 is a free service that allows individuals to create a Safety Profile for their household that can include any information they may want 9-1-1 call takers and first responders to have in the event of an emergency, then if they need to dial 9-1-1 their Safety Profile will immediately display on the call taker’s screen saving critical seconds and even minutes in response to the emergency.

Smart911saves critical time in an emergency and has proven to save lives nationwide.  The additional information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know exactly where we are going and what medical assistance is necessary, those details can help us respond faster and more efficiently.

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile at 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. Additionally, individuals can opt-in to receive notifications about emergencies or critical situations and receive alerts regarding necessary actions, such as evacuation and shelter-in-place.

In an emergency medical situation, callers are panicked and cannot always relay important information.  Often it is the worst day of their lives. With Smart911, the additional information can speak for them and help us help them faster.

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.

Smart911 is currently available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities across the country, and has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes including a missing child in which the girls photo and physical description were immediately available to 9-1-1 and responders, as well as a heart attack victim where an address and medical notes allowed responders to be dispatched to his location quickly.

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

Smart911 Comes to Central Dispatch

No automatic alt text available.Livingston County’s Central Dispatch is launching two new safety initiatives to better protect county residents during emergencies: Text-to-911 and Smart911.

Text-to-911 allows individuals to send a text message to 911 from their mobile devices if they are in Livingston County. Central Dispatch has been testing this service since early October.

Smart911 is a free service that allows individuals and families to sign up online and provide key information to 911 centers. This information enables more effective emergency response by law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services.

“We are very proud to be able to offer the Text-to-911 service to our residents and visitors giving them this tool that provides another avenue for individuals to contact 9-1-1 during a time of need,” 911 Deputy Director Chad Chewning said.

“The Smart911 Safety Profiles can save critical time in an emergency when seconds can be the difference between life and death and the additional function of the Smart911 platform helps us respond more efficiently,” he added.

Experts advise that the location of an emergency is the most vital information in the text service. Once a person uses this service, he or she should be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from Central Dispatch.

Photos and videos cannot be sent via the Text-to-911 service, and it also cannot receive of group texts.

A text or data plan is required to send a text message, and this service is not available everywhere in Michigan. Senders will receive a message if the service is not available.

Smart911 enables residents to create a “safety profile” at for their entire household.

Residents can customize their profile and share any information they want Central Dispatch and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. All information is private and secure, and it is seen only when the resident dials 911.

Livingston County residents are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911 today to have their information immediately available to Central Dispatch and first responders.