The Front Lines of the Mental Health Crisis

In Addison, Illinois, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 hang-up call. Fortunately, the resident had registered a Smart911 Safety Profile that showed her adult son had a cognitive disability and violent nature. The information provided through Smart911 alerted responding officers that the son would not respond to verbal commands. Consequently, officers used other communication methods and de-escalated the situation without any physical injury to the man or themselves.

This instance is one of the 3-10% of police contacts are mental health-related nationwide.

GRAPHIC1_Police and the Mentally Ill-01Law enforcement agencies bear the brunt of our inadequate mental health system as they become default first responders to those having a mental health crisis.

Without appropriate training, officers may not identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness. This situation can quickly escalate to the point where an arrest is made or worse, an officer involved shooting. Even officers trained to support people in crises have limited options to divert those living with mental illness to healthcare providers instead of jail. Commonly, the only option is hospital emergency rooms.

At the front end of emergency response is the 9-1-1 call center consisting of 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers who are a critical component of mental health crisis response. In many cases, the ability to identify mental illness involved calls is obstructed due to inadequate protocols, limited training, lack of data, and gaps in communication with police. That combined with a culture that (rightly) emphasizes speed of response can impede accurate identification of the caller situation.

White Paper-- Police and teh Mentally IllThe U.S. mental health system is failing and the impact on 9-1-1 and law enforcement is profound with unarmed and armed individuals with mental health conditions calling 9-1-1 and confronting police officers on a daily basis.

Download “Police and The U.S. Mental Health Crisis” to learn how 9-1-1 and law enforcement can leverage today’s technology to better protect those with mental health conditions and first responders.

Using Uber? Let Your Rave Guardians Know

“One of the concerns in a college town is drinking and driving. There have been studies since Uber has come about that show that in cities that use the service there have been significant reductions drunk driving arrests and crashes,” Susan McCallister, Associate Director of Public Safety said.

While many students see the benefit of Uber being in town, some are still not sold on the idea of getting into a car alone with a stranger.

“I think it is better than people driving under the influence, but I wouldn’t take it by myself, I would rather people take it with a group or something like that,” Uber user Victoria Popenfoose said.

but if you feel unsafe while using a rideshare application, public safety officials say you can use the Rave Guardian App. The app acts as a safety timer on your smartphone.

“Maybe you are going for your Uber ride and it will take you 15 minutes,” McCallister said. “You set the timer for 15 minutes and select someone as your guardian and they can track where you are going during that time. If you don’t turn off the timer you get an alert that your timer is in alarm and that they need to check on you.”

For more on this story, visit WTVM.com

Louisville Announces Enhanced 9-1-1 Service: Smart911

Public Emergency Notification System Enhanced With Increased Capability for Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, and Washington Counties

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

 

LOUISVILLELouisville Logo, Ky., August 16, 2016 – Public safety officials from the city of Louisville, Bullitt County, Oldham County and Washington County announced today new enhancements to the region’s emergency notification system and encouraged all residents to sign up for the free service.

The new service allows individuals and families to sign up online to receive emergency notifications and to provide key information to 9-1-1 call takers during an emergency. Residents should visit their local jurisdiction’s website in order to sign up for the new service.

This system will replace the current service provided by CodeRed Alert. CodeRed Alerts will no longer be available as of August 17, 2016; therefore, public safety officials are encouraging residents and visitors to sign up for notifications. The new service provider is RaveAlert/Smart911TM.

The emergency notification system demonstrates the partnership of the four counties and their commitment to maintaining interoperability and enhanced communication across county lines. Louisville/Jefferson County led the process and will brand the service for its residents as Louisville Emergency Notification System – LENSAlert.

“The new capabilities of LENSAlert will provide us with an even better ability to issue real-time emergency alerts and notifications to help inform residents of severe weather, hazardous materials incidents and other emergencies in our community,” said Louisville’s Emergency Services Director, Jody Meiman. “This will improve safety in our city and help inform residents of potentially lifesaving steps they may need to take during emergency incidents.”

In addition to receiving notifications, individuals can create a Safety Profile for themselves and their household that can include any information they want 9-1-1 and first responders to have in the event of an emergency. When individuals make an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right responders to the right location with the right information. Information about medical history, allergies to medication, number of residents in a home and even a picture of the family dog can all be added to a Safety Profile.

“The benefits of this information on a 9-1-1 call from a cell phone are immeasurable,” Kevin Nuss, Director of Emergency Management and Central Dispatch in Oldham County, said. “In situations like a house fire, the information in a Smart911 Safety Profile can allow 9-1-1 and first responders to know additional details about the household that can help save lives.”

For Louisville residents, sign-up here:  https://www.smart911.com/smart911/ref/reg.action?pa=JeffersonCountyKYEMA

Contacts:

Jody Duncan, Office: 572-3457 Cell: 475-3577

Mitchell Burmeister, Office: 572-3547 Cell: 565-7842

Smart911 System Coming to Kentuckiana

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – If you’ve received an automated call telling you that you should sign up for a new 911 system, you’re not alone. After thousands of these calls went out across Kentuckiana we decided to see what the buzz was about.

At midnight Jefferson, Oldham, and Washington County are switching to a Smart911 system that you need to register for.

The entire process takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but it could help save your life.

When you call 911 you expect to hear a calm voice on the line, but Louisville Public Service Director Doug Hamilton says often dispatchers hear just the opposite.

“Generally speaking it’s going to be a caller’s worst nightmare,” Louisville Public Services Director Doug Hamilton said.  “You’re not going to be thinking particularly straight, and you’re not going to be thinking of all of the things you should know.”

By replacing the old CodeRed Alert system, which was mostly used for weather notifications, with Smart911 dispatchers will now have information such your name, address, emergency contacts as well as your medical information.

“When you call 911 that profile that you entered is going to pop up on a screen so they’ll be able to pass that information along to dispatchers and give vital information to first responders,” Jefferson Co. Emergency Manager Jody Meiman said.

“If there’s severe weather we’re going to send it out,” Oldham Co. Emergency Manager Kevin Nuss said.  “If there is HAZMAT on the interstate or something we’re going to send that out, but that’s not every day.  The Smart911 feature is something that we will use every single day in the dispatch center.”

The best part about Smart911 is that it works across multiple agencies.

If you are traveling to major cities such as Nashville, Seattle, or Dallas and get in an accident or have an emergency your information is just a click away.

“The name of the game is expedient response,” Dana Spratt said.  “The faster that we can get the information, especially the first responders, we definitely want to get information and have it available the more quickly we can get the right resources to the right people at the right time.

“This is a lifesaver,” Meiman said.

You can share as much or as little information as you want on your Smart911 profile depending on how much you want to disclose.

 

By: Holden Kurwicki, WHAS

08/17/2016

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Rave Command View and Rave 911 Analytics

Innovative Cloud-based Software Gives Real-Time Visualization of Critical 911 Information and Simplified Access to Current and Historical Call Data

Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), a trusted partner for safety software protecting millions of individuals, today announced two innovative new features RCV_1Page_APCO_RR-01_Social2of the Rave Platform, Rave Command View and Rave 911 Analytics. Rave Command View gives 9-1-1 managers and dispatchers interactive, map-based views of critical information, such as 9-1-1 call patterns and critical facility data during active emergencies. Additionally, Rave 911 Analytics provides easy, anytime web-based access to historical call reporting and analytics.

“In an emergency, it is vital that 9-1-1 call takers and managers have quick access to as much detailed information as possible,” said Todd Piett, Chief Product Officer at Rave Mobile Safety. “Rave Command View is a next generation tool that consolidates the most up-to-date data available so call takers can react and respond faster to emergencies.”

Rave Command View provides integrated views of all 9-1-1 activity including information collected through the Smart911 platform and gives 9-1-1 and first responders access to a 9-1-1 callers’ Smart911 Safety Profiles, Smart911Facility profiles, and Rave Panic Button activations. Managers and dispatchers can see and react to real-time 9-1-1 call traffic and trends and easily drill down from the map to call details, as well as support overloaded call takers. The overall impact is faster and better 9-1-1 response.

Rave 911 Analytics gives 9-1-1 managers easy, direct access to critical 9-1-1 call history. The map-based view of data offers intuitive insight into 9-1-1 call history and works on all call-taking platforms. Simple to create, read, and interpret trend reports provide data and logic to support staffing and funding decisions. Reports show call volume and activity by workstation, shift, hour, day, and week.

“An emergency can escalate very quickly, making rapid response time vital to success,” said Kurt Mills, Executive Director, SNOPAC 911, Everett, WA. “We rely on our talented supervisors and tools like the Rave Command View to best position us to save lives.”

Rave Command View and Rave 911 Analytics will be introduced at the 2016 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Annual Conference and Expo at Booth 415 in Orlando, Florida. It is now available in beta for current customers of the Rave Mobile Safety platform of emergency solutions. A full version will be available in later 2016. For more information on Rave Command View or the Rave platform of emergency solutions, please visit http://www.ravemobilesafety.com.

IntraLogic Solutions to announce first ever National Common Operating Picture (COP) Platform

As recently reported by Government Security News, Intralogic Solutions, Inc. a leading global school security, and government developer and integrator, and Rave Mobile Safety, a respected creator of innovative public safety and communication software have announced a partnership to develop an integrated service offering that will benefit both schools and first responders during crisis situations, including ones involving active shooters.

According to the partners, the new solution combines Rave’s Panic Button application and 9-1-1 data delivery capabilities with robust video surveillance, interactive rich digital floor plans, One Button Lockdown and access control technology. The combined solution will allow first responders full access to critical information about a situation from any location, including while en route via a secure, mobile broadband connection.

In an August 10 interview with Intralogic CEO Lee Mandel, GSN learned that the integrated technologies offer a unique technological breakthrough experience that no other company is presently offering. Rather than the traditional 9-1-1 process to call police, the new, integrated technology can send critical information within milliseconds to a 9-1-1 call center.

“When someone hits the panic button in a school, the 9-1-1 center is immediately activated giving operators full command and control to help find the shooter while the first responders are still in transit. They can then remotely open the doors and guide the responders to exactly where the shooter is,” said Mandel. “No one else on a national level is offering this comprehensive solution. Additionally the panic button can initiate a lockdown which will, locks all the doors automatically, flash strobe lights, send text messages to parents, teachers, and students, and take over all computer screens while playing a pre-recorded message over the P.A. system.”

Mandel indicated that the technology is a first of its kind agnostic platform that allows integration from any manufacturer. IntraLogic considers this an advanced PSIM solutions.

Mandel and his company have been getting a lot of attention from major companies in the field who understand that clients have never been able to customize in this manner, “with one common operating picture.”

Founded by Mandel in 2004, IntraLogic focused mainly on software development in its early years, working for a lot of businesses on Long Island, NY and other nearby states. The turning point, said Mandel, was when the company got on its first government contract which enables any government agency to purchase products from pre-bid, published lists. Currently, the company serves over 160 School Districts nationally including 49 of the 57 districts in Nassau County, 30 in Suffolk County and over 80 throughout Upstate New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and across the United States.

IntraLogic’s overall list of clients include schools, townships, municipalities, as well as a contract with the MTA Long Island Railroad, which buys its Cameras, Fire Alarms, Burglar Alarms and Command Centers. On the private side, the company works with some very well known National Retail chains with hundreds of locations throughout the U.S. and overseas.

As impressive as these entrepreneurial accomplishments may seem, Mandel made it clear to GSN that another major breakthrough is going to be announced in early September, although he is not at liberty to announce who this major client is – except to assure us that the pending client is a very significant organization.

“We’ve been working with our clients as an integrator, manufacturer, and software developer. Our goal is to offer a one stop shop for our clients and partners.”

“With our new Common Operating Picture we can now take all school districts, malls, schools, hospitals, municipalities, villages and other critical assets and tie them to a centralized platform. We can go to any government agency around the world and create this without replacing their existing technology. It’s the first of its kind agnostic platform that allows us to integrate technology from any manufacturer.”

Along with many readers, GSN is eager to learn more about this exciting new platform, and how it will enhance technology and security around the globe!

More information

Muhlenberg County Enhances 9-1-1 Services and Emergency Notification with Smart911

Public Safety Officials Encourage Residents to Sign Up For the Free Service That Sends Emergency Notifications and Provides Emergency Responders with More Information

 

Public safety officials in Muhlenberg County are excited to announce today that Smart911 is now available to all individuals within our county.  Smart911 is a free service that allows individuals and families to sign up online to receive emergency notifications and to provide key information to 9-1-1 call takers during an emergency. THIS SYSTEM WILL REPLACE THE CURRENT CODE RED ALERT.  CODE RED ALERTS WILL NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE AS OF JULY 31, 2016. We want to strongly encourage all citizens to enroll @ www.smart911.com or fill out a paper application which can be picked up and returned once completed to our 911 Office located at 504 Doss Drive, Powderly, KY 42367 or Judge Executive Rick Newman’s Office on the second floor of the courthouse in Greenville, KY 42345.  If you have any questions about this please call 270-338-2000 or 270-338-2520.

“Smart911 saves critical time in an emergency and has proven to save lives nationwide,” said Kristi D. Jenkins, Muhlenberg County 911 Director.  “The additional information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know exactly where to send first responders and who they are looking for in a house fire or at the scene of a vehicle accident, those details can help them respond faster and more efficiently.”

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 first responders 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 us to send the appropriate responder/s 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.

“Citizens will receive notifications that will improve safety in our county and help inform residents of potentially lifesaving actions they may need to take in an emergency,” said Jenkins.  “The information in Smart911 Safety Profiles and the emergency notifications allows both residents and first responders to be better informed in an emergency situation.”

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.

“The benefits of this information on a 9-1-1 call from a cell phone are immeasurable,” said Jenkins.  “Mobile phones do not provide an address to the 9-1-1 call taker. In situations like a weather emergency, seconds matter and the additional information in a Safety Profile allows help to arrive fast.”

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.

Town of Milton Announces Smart911 to Improve Emergency Response and Help Save Lives

Public Safety Officials Encourage All Residents to Sign Up For the Free Service That Better Protects Residents in an Emergency

MILTON, Mass., August 8, 2016 – The Milton Police Department announced today that residents can sign up for a new emergency preparedness initiative, Smart911, which is available to all individuals.  Smart911 is a free service that allows individuals and families to sign up online and provide key information to 9-1-1 centers. This information enables faster and more effective emergency response by law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services.

“The Smart911 platform saves critical time in an emergency when seconds can be the difference between life and death,” said Sergeant Brendan Douglas.  “The additional information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know exactly where we are going and what assistance is necessary, those details can help us respond faster and more efficiently.”

Smart911 enables residents to create a Safety Profile at www.smart911.com for their entire household. Residents can customize their profile and share any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. All information in the Safety Profile is private and secure, and it is seen only when the resident dials 9-1-1. When a resident 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.

Smart911 provides 9-1-1 call takers with improved data and communications on each call. When a 9-1-1 call comes in, the 9-1-1 call could display a Safety Profile about the caller and their location.  Additionally the 9-1-1 call taker can send an outbound SMS text message to mobile phone callers who cannot safely communicate.

“In an emergency situation, callers are panicked and cannot always relay vital information,” said Sergeant Brendan Douglas.  “Often it is the worst moment of their lives. With Smart911, the additional information can speak for them and save lives.”

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 first responders. 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.

 

Contact:

Milton Police Department

40 Highland Street

Milton, Ma 02186

617-698-3800

Attacks in Paris, Orlando, Dallas, Nice: What Can We Learn?

Recent tragedies highlight the valuable roll technology can play in emergency response, while also identifying areas for improvement.

Social Media for Mass Communications in Orlando

During the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, social media played a powerful role in communication for the city police department and the nightclub owners.  Approximately 11 minutes into the shooting, Pulse posted an urgent message on their Facebook page telling people to get out of the club “and keep on running.”

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While I don’t know if this message was successful in notifying those unaware of the shooting, the situation is eerily reminiscent of the Bataclan theatre massacre in Paris, last November when three terrorists stormed the historical venue with high-powered assault rifles, shooting everyone in their path.  For the people trapped inside the Bataclan, Facebook became a communication lifeline.

In addition to Facebook, Twitter has proven an effective tool during a widespread emergency.  For instance, the Orlando PD used Twitter multiple times throughout the night to post warnings and share updates with on-lookers, victims, and the general public.  At 3:58am, or about 2 hours into the shooting, Orlando PD tweeted, telling everyone to stay away from the area.  In a clearly well-coordinated operation, at 5:05 am, just as an explosion was detonated inside the building, Orlando PD posted to Twitter stating the loud noise was a controlled explosion and to “Please avoid reporting inaccuracies at this time.”

At Rave, our emergency mass notification product, Rave Alert, is regularly used to programmatically post to various social media sites utilized by our customers.  Over time, this has become a pretty standard process; however, the close coordination between the communication team handling social media and the tactical teams during the Orlando response is a great learning point for all agencies.


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Facebook Safety Check in Nice, France

Facebook Safety Check, a feature that allows individuals to connect with friends and loved ones during a disaster situation, was initiated and used extensively during the Bastille Day attacks in Nice, France.  This event marked a change to the criteria which Facebook uses to initiate the feature.  Here’s how Facebook Safety Check works:

  • The feature is quickly activated by Facebook in the wake of a natural or man made disaster.
  • Upon activation, users in the designated incident area or those who have listed that area in their profile, receive a Facebook notification asking if they’re safe.
  • Users have the option to respond stating they are outside the affected area or “I’m Safe”. The response generates a notification and is added to the users’ News Feed, which can be viewed by friends. Friends can also mark other users as safe.

At present, public safety agencies have no means to solicit Facebook to turn on the check-in feature for emergencies.  Facebook alone determines which events are worthy of activating Safety Check.

Facebook Safety Check can be valuable providing comfort to loved ones. It also can reduce the burden on already overloaded public safety communications infrastructure.  By reducing calls to 9-1-1 (or 112 in this case) that deflect critical resources and reducing the number of individuals that “self dispatch” to check on loved ones, the safety of everyone involved can be improved.

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Other interesting “check in” type technologies that have the potential to provide visibility into the safety and status of friends in a more dynamic manner include:

  • Glympse – simple way to share your location in real time with friends and family
  • Life360 – a family locator, messaging tool and communication app all in one
  • Rave Guardian – create a location-aware virtual safety network of friends, family, and police

 

Digital Floor Plan Access During Stand-offs

Unlike most Active Shooter events over the past 2 decades, the Pulse Nightclub and Dallas Police shootings involved protracted stand-offs.  Initial reports had the Dallas shooter holed up in a parking structure. However, subsequent reports made it clear that 25-year-old Micah Johnson had moved to an El Centro Community College building in downtown Dallas.  For about 4½ hours, Johnson hid around a corner near the end of a long, narrow hallway of classrooms on the second floor of El Centro’s Building B. While navigating toward him, police attempted to negotiate before finally killing him with an explosive delivered by a robot.

Similarly, in Orlando, police actively negotiated with the shooter, Omar Mateen, for nearly 40 minutes between 2:48 and 3:24 am.  They then began a series of maneuvers, which helped some trapped victims to escape and culminated when officers breached the building and killed the shooter at 5:15 am.

After the events, images of both crime scenes show investigators consulting floor plans as they gather evidence.  I couldn’t help but wonder how they got those floor plans.  In Dallas, police from El Centro Community College were actively engaged in the incident and surely provided some level of tactical intelligence. However, I’d be very surprised if during the traumatic events occurring in the middle of the night in the Orlando nightclub, the officers had anything more than spotty descriptions of the building interior provided by distraught witnesses.  These events demonstrate the importance of providing tactical intelligence before dangerous situations unfold.

Smart911Facility, for example, securely hosts thousands of floor plans for various structure types across the US. Launched in 2015, Smart911Facility ensures facility information is readily available to responders directly in the field on their mobile data computers (MDCs) and phones.  Because building owners manage Smart911Facility information themselves the model is scalable. It ensures agencies and first responders have floor plans for an entire property, right down to individual units (or nightclubs).

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While technology advancements can present challenges to 9-1-1 and first responders (such as the 47% of cellphone-only households in the United States), it’s important we take advantage of modern tools to facilitate response and communication during a crisis. For instance, consider using social media for mass communication, and equipping responders with essential facility information to heighten field awareness (thus improving responder safety) and reduce the overall response time.

 

Muhlenberg Co. Enhances 911 Services and Emergency Notification with Smart911

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (7/29/16) — Public safety officials in Muhlenberg County are excited to announce today that Smart911 is now available to all individuals within Muhlenberg County. Smart911 is a free service allowing individuals and families to sign up online to receive emergency notifications and to provide key information to 911 call takers during an emergency.

This system will replace the current Code Red Alert. Code Red Alerts will no longer be available as of July 31, 2016.

MuhlenbergCounty911DispatchMuhlenberg County 911 strongly encourages all citizens to enroll at www.smart911.com or fill out a paper application. The paper application can be picked up and returned, once completed, to the Muhlenberg County 911 Office at 504 Doss Drive, Powderly, KY 42367 or Judge Executive Rick Newman’s Office on the second floor of the courthouse in Greenville, KY 42345. If there are any questions about this, call (270) 338-2000 or (270) 338-2520.

“Smart911 saves critical time in an emergency and has proven to save lives nationwide,” said Kristi D. Jenkins, Muhlenberg County 911 Director. “The additional information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know exactly where to send first responders and who they are looking for in a house fire or at the scene of a vehicle accident, those details can help them respond faster and more efficiently.”

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile at www.smart911.com for their household and includes any information they want 911 and first responders to have in the event of an emergency.

When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 911 call taker, allowing the appropriate responder/s to be sent 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.

“Citizens will receive notifications that will improve safety in our county and help inform residents of potentially lifesaving actions they may need to take in an emergency,” said Jenkins. “The information in Smart911 Safety Profiles and the emergency notifications allows both residents and first responders to be better informed in an emergency situation.”

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.

“The benefits of this information on a 911 call from a cell phone are immeasurable,” said Jenkins. “Mobile phones do not provide an address to the 911 call taker. In situations like a weather emergency, seconds matter and the additional information in a Safety Profile allows help to arrive fast.”

Smart911 is currently available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities across the country. The system has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes including a missing child in which the girl’s photo and physical description were immediately available to 911 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 911 and to receive emergency notifications. Smart911 is private and secure, is only used for emergency responses, and only made available to the 911 system in the event of an emergency call.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Muhlenberg County 911 Dispatch

Does 9-1-1 Really Mean 9-1-1?

Kari Hunt brought her three young children to visit her husband at a hotel on December 1, 2013. The parents put the children on the bed to watch TV and went into the bathroom to talk. Kari’s husband stabbed her while his oldest child frantically dialed 9-1-1 in the next room.  Despite dialing 9-1-1 four times, each attempt failed because the 9 year old didn’t know to dial 9 first to reach an outside line. Kari succumbed to her injuries and was found in the hotel room later that night.

karislawSince Kari’s death, her father, Hank Hunt, has championed Kari’s law that would require direct dial to 9-1-1 from any device anywhere. During the past two years, Kari’s Law gained ground as both Texas and Tennessee now require multi-line phone systems to provide direct access to 9-1-1.

Now, Hank’s movement has reached the national stage. Kari’s Law passed the House of Representatives and was introduced in the Senate. We hope the Senate agrees.

Kari’s death brings to light the need to make 9-1-1 available to all people no matter their location or age. We teach our children from the earliest age to dial 9-1-1 but there are still access limitations to 9-1-1 services. People in emergency situations may not think to dial a prefix or code to access an outside line.

When presenting the bill to Congress, Representative Greg Walden said, “In an emergency, every person in America deserves the peace of mind to know that on any phone 9-1-1 actually means 9-1-1.”

Kari’s bill is an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 and requires multi-line phone systems to have a default configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix.

The importance of Kari’s Law cannot be understated. We need to make sure that there is no difference in dialing 9-1-1 whether at home, at work or in hotels. Kari’s Law is already helping provide emergency assistance to those dialing 9-1-1 from multi-line system in Texas and Tennessee.  We look forward to the time when it helps save lives across the nation.

Willis to Eliminate Code Red for Smart911 Alerts

The city of Willis intends to discontinue the Code Red emergency alert system by Fiscal Year 2018. City Manager Hector Forester informed the Council on Tuesday during the regular meeting at City Hall about the plan to switch to a new emergency alert system, Smart911, following a presentation from the executive director for the Montgomery County Emergency Communication District, Chip VanSteenberg.

MCECD has partnered with Code Red for several years for public emergency notifications via voice, text message or email, including customized automated weather alerts, VanSteenberg said. “We are changing providers from Code Red to Smart911,” VanSteenberg said. Those who wish to continue receiving alerts after September 1 will need to register with Smart911, he said.

“We have 28,000 people registered on Code Red now,” VanSteenberg said. “Over the next few months we will be working to get people off of Code Red and on to Smart911.”

The city of Willis currently pays to provide Code Red and plans to eliminate it by Fiscal Year 2018 in order to switch to Smart911, Forester said

“It’s going to save us some money,” Forester said. “…we will no longer need to pay, but it provides the same services and more.”

Smart911 is provided by Rave Mobile Safety and is available in over 1,500 communities across 40 states, according to information from MCECD. On June 23, MCECD introduced the free national public safety service to the county, which also allows individuals and families to create an online safety profile. The Smart911 safety profile includes critical information for first responders such as names, home address, medical notes, disabilities, emergency contacts, and even descriptions of pets, MCECD stated.

“When 9-1-1 is dialed from any phone number registered to the profile, the information is shown to dispatchers who can relay addresses and current information to first responders in the field,” MCECD stated.

A safety profile can be created by going to www.smart911.com. For more information visit www.mc911.org.

By Meagan Ellsworth

Clay County Approves Purchase of “Panic Button”

Members of the Clay County Quorum Court approved the purchase of a “Panic Button” system for J.P. French, of RAVE Mobile Safety, speaks with members of the Clay County Quorum Court during Monday night’s meeting at Piggott. The justices also gave their approval to create a new position within the sheriff’s department, passed a resolution of support for a grant application for the CCSD and approved the county’s flood damage prevention program. Changes in the personnel policy concerning sick days were also discussed, and given the green light.

With eight of the nine JPs in attendance the meeting was called to order at the courthouse in Piggott by Judge Gary Howell. Absent from the gathering was Justice Jody Henderson.

After dispensing with the usual consent agenda items, the court heard from J.P. French, director of strategic accounts for the state of Arkansas with the RAVE Mobile Safety Company.

French explained the workings of the RAVE Panic Button system, which uses smart phone apps to notify authorities in the event of an emergency.

He noted each entity, such as the courthouse, would have a “geo-fence” which would define the area covered. This would allow first responders to immediately see the location of the person initiating the call, and react accordingly.

The system was recently put into use by the school districts in the county, and staff at Piggott Schools hosted a training on the program on Monday.

(Photo)
J.P. French, of RAVE Mobile Safety, speaks with members of the Clay County Quorum Court during Monday night’s meeting at Piggott. (TD photo/Tim Blair)

The program is designed for schools, public buildings and businesses alike. It allows for the panic call to be forwarded immediately to 911 dispatch, and allows the notification of other staff members of the issue. Localized alerts are also offered, allowing rapid intervention in the event of a non-911 emergency.

French noted over 485,000 students are protected under the program in Arkansas, involving 252 districts. It’s estimated over 38,000 people use the system each day, and over 4,000 private businesses and buildings are also covered.

The proposal for Clay County called for an annual fee of $3,000, which would allow up to 100 users on the system. French noted additional ones could also be added at a cost of $10 each, per year.

Following a lengthy discussion on the merits of the program, the JPs voted to enter into a one year contract with the firm for the service. They noted the cost could be shared between County General and County Road, since the service would also be used by their personnel.

The court also approved Ordinance 2016-14-Code 1300, which approves and establishes the flood damage prevention program for Clay County. The measure was placed on all three readings, title only, and approved along with the accompanying emergency clause on a vote of 8-0.

Court members also approved Resolution 2016-03, which authorizes Sheriff Terry Miller to apply for a GIF grant of $94,883.93. If approved, the grant would be used to upgrade the county’s fleet of patrol vehicles.

Miller also reported to the court he was informing the cities of Piggott, Rector and Corning of an increase in the fee for housing prisoners in the detention center. Miller presented the JPs with a copy of the letter sent to the municipalities, which outlines an increase to $30 per day beginning Jan. 1.

By Tim Blair, Times-Democrat News Staff

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IntraLogic Solutions partners with Rave Mobile Safety

IntraLogic Solutions, Inc. (ILS), a leading school security developer and integrator, and Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), the trusted creator of innovative public safety data and communication software, today announced a partnership to develop an integrated service offering that will benefit both schools and first responders during crises situations, including ones involving active shooters. The new solution will combine Rave’s Panic Button application and 9-1-1 data delivery capabilities with IntraLogic’s robust video surveillance, interactive rich digital floor plans, One Button LockDown and access control technology. This combined solution will allow first responders full access to critical information about a situation from any location, including while en route via a secure, mobile broadband connection.

Research has shown active shooter situations are often over within minutes, so it is critical for authorities to be notified and dispatched quickly, as well as for school employees to be able to take immediate action. When first responders arrive on scene with greater intelligence about the situation, outcomes are improved. Rave and ILS have drawn upon their combined experience protecting thousands of school campuses across the country to create a robust, easy-to-use, integrated security technology that will greatly improve emergency response capabilities.

With the press of a button, Rave Panic Button enables school personnel to instantly contact 9-1-1 and school authorities and inform them of a crisis, whether it be a life-threatening medical condition, a fire, active shooter or other emergency situation. Leveraging Rave Panic Button’s 9-1-1 data delivery capabilities, which features precise caller location including speed and direction of travel, IntraLogic’s technology will then provide first responders with greater intelligence such as video surveillance, digital floor plans and detailed maps of the facility, and remote access control – all before they even arrive on scene. This patent-pending One-Button Lockdown, will also enable facilities to secure all doors with a single click.

“Partnering with IntraLogic Solutions will allow us to create powerful new technology that will improve the outcomes of emergency situations in our schools,” said Tom Axbey, chief executive officer of Rave Mobile Safety. “IntraLogic brings a wealth of experience in school security and delivering on-site video analytics and highly detailed, digital campus maps. Together, we will provide mutual customers with the ability to dramatically improve emergency and crisis response situations.”

“Rave Mobile Safety has a strong reputation with its clients and in the security industry. We share with them a common philosophy of creating and implementing the latest and best of breed technology to secure our clients facilities, staff members, students and communities.,” said Lee Mandel, CEO of Intralogic Solutions. “At a time when security concerns at schools and other facilities are on the rise, new technology and approaches are needed. By integrating Rave’s technology into our solutions and platform, we will provide a unique breadth of security and safety capabilities for schools and other institutions.”

Organizations interested in learning more about the solution, should visit www.ravemobilesafety.com or www.intralogicsolutions.com.

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Are You Leveraging “All Clear” After Action Messages?

Recommendation: Take advantage of “All Clear” messages sent after a critical event to provide additional information, safety reminders, and community building safety messages.

I’ve noticed that many emergency notifications public safety sends focus on short, concise, clear instructions following a typical pattern of the emergency life cycle:

  • Problem onset notification
  • Updates as necessary
  • “All Clear” message during recovery phase of an incident.

It’s worth taking a little extra time to educate and inform as you send your “All Clear” messages.

Many of our Rave Alert customers, as a best practice, have public safety initiate critical communications at the start of an incident. Public Safety, rather than a PIO, issue the first warning, is the fastest, most efficient origin for timely communications of serious events — especially when conditions may be rapidly changing.

chatEmergency messages at the onset of situation are best left short and to the point — especially when an action is required where “doing” is more important than “reading.”  Emphasizing “action required” instructions during a critical event – e.g., “Shelter in place” – is an obvious best practice when crafting messages and message templates. If you want someone to do something specific in response to your message, say that first.

We trade precision and completeness for urgency in these types of messages to provide actionable information rapidly and effectively.

At the end of a critical event, an “All Clear” type message closes the case for the community. Many, if not most, of your message recipients do not have the same “inside knowledge” of events as your responders and key personnel. It’s worth remembering that short authoritative command-oriented notifications, right at the time they’re issued, often leave the recipient in a state of suspense.

So, that same, effective short form communication will almost certainly leave a significant number of recipients unclear, curious, and potentially anxious about events happening around them.

As a best practice, this is an opportunity to clarify and communicate information left out of earlier communications. You can also send reminders and safety tips relevant to the situation.

To prepare for this, I suggest two primary techniques:


text-on-paper-sheet-sketch1. Be prepared.
Write template language that provides a foundation for an effective “All Clear” statement, and possibly “footer” material to add reminders about key safety practices that apply to your community. For example:

  • Reminders to update contact information with links to your portals
  • Suggested content available on your Public Safety FAQ pages
  • Recommended actions to take for self-protection,
  • Suggestions on what to report to your safety responder tip hotlines

All are solid subject matter for a standard email template provided with an “All Clear” report.


2. Customize, assure and explain.
Involve your PIO and key communications staff to craft the right messages once the time-critical phase of your event is over. If a significant law enforcement, emergency, or facilities issue has generated messages and warnings, carefully explain relevant information about the nature of the event as well as a positive summation of the response and resolution of the incident.

speech-bubblesMessages surrounding critical events impact individuals in your communities and campuses. They also often attract media attention. This is where well written messaging written  by skilled communicators builds trust with your community, presents clear information to quell rumors and misconceptions, and gives you an opportunity to educate the community about the role everyone plays in overall public safety.

Plan in advance and build a process that gets the correct staff involved in communications. Obvious advice perhaps, but in the heat of a crisis or critical situation, every responder needs to be aware of your processes and key staff who are on call to assist safety responders with clear messaging.

Remember, taking advantage of post-event communication opportunities helps provide additional information to your community and helps you issue important safety reminders and messages.

 

Denver Announces Enhanced Emergency Response Tools

 DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Executive Director of Public Safety Stephanie Y. O’Malley, and Denver 911 Director Athena Butler today announced Denver’s new toolbox for enhanced emergency response – 911NOW.

911NOW includes three key tools – Smart911, Swift911, and Text to 911 – that will help residents get the assistance and information they need now.

Last year alone, Denver 911 received over 1 million calls for service, a 10% increase from the year before, so we must also enhance our response system to meet our residents’ needs in a meaningful way, and that is what 911NOW aims to do.” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Bringing new innovation to our emergency response system means giving residents the information and service they need now, allowing them to better serve the residents of Denver.”

The first 911NOW tool – Smart911 – is a private, secure service that allows residents to create a safety profile that provides 911 and emergency responders with important information residents want them to know to assist with an emergency. The information in the profile automatically displays on the 911 call taker’s screen when a call is placed from a phone number connected to the profile and can assist in a number of situations including:

  • When the address or location is unknown. Over 90% of calls made to Denver 911 come from mobile phones, and while they can be an important public safety tool, mobile phones can also create unique challenges for emergency responders. When calls to 911 are placed from a mobile phone, the call taker has very little information – only the phone number and a very general sense of the caller’s location. The Smart911 profile links resident’s mobile phone numbers to their home, work, and school addresses, arming emergency responders with information about who is calling and possible locations where they may be found.
  • When the caller cannot communicate. There are times when residents may not be able to communicate due to an allergic reaction, heart attack, or home invasion. The Smart911 profile ensures residents’ information is immediately available and that the caller is not the sole source of information. If a member of a household is deaf or hard of hearing, or English is not their primary language, dispatchers will also know immediately that an alternate form of communication is needed.
  • When there is a medical emergency. The Smart911 profile provides emergency responders with important information about household members including medical conditions, physical disabilities, allergies, and medications that may cause dangerous drug interactions during treatment. Knowing this information in advance allows first responders to know how to help before they even arrive.
  • When a member of a household goes missing. Residents can add key information about members of their household including their names, ages, a physical description, and recent photos. They can also list who should be contacted in the event of an emergency, including family members, friends and neighbors.
  • When there is a fire. Gate codes, access points, floor layouts, and other visual details that may be obstructed when a household is on fire can be added to the profile to help facilitate a faster response or rescue.
  • When a vehicular accident occurs. Residents can upload vehicle information for all members of their household to the Smart 911 profile. Having the description and license plate of household vehicles can quicken response in an accident, or when residents need help while in their vehicle.

“The details residents provide in their Smart911 profile can save seconds or even minutes during an emergency,” said Denver 911 Director Athena Butler. “That saved time can make a big difference when the caller cannot communicate or when the address or location where help is needed is unknown.”

The second 911NOW tool – Swift911 – is Denver’s high-speed emergency notification system that alerts residents to emergency situations in their neighborhood like police activity, evacuations, and severe storm warnings in real time. Residents decide how they want to receive these alerts – via phone, mobile phone, email, text message, or a combination of each – and multiple phone numbers for multiple members of a household can be included for each residency.

Swift 911 alerts are sent to all land line telephone numbers in Denver that are publicly listed, but residents must sign up to receive alerts for private land line numbers and for alerts they want to receive via mobile phones, email, or text. Once residents register for Swift 911 at www.denvergov.org/911now, they can log in at any time to update their contact information or opt out from the notification list.

Denver 911 will utilize Swift911 in coordination with first responders to alert residences to take the proper action during emergency situations.

“Members of our community need to be alerted to emergencies in their neighborhoods as they are happening,” said Executive Director of Public Safety Stephanie Y. O’Malley. “Many of our residents communicate via mobile phone or text, making it imperative that they sign up for this service and get the information they need to keep themselves, and those they care for, safe.”

The final 911NOW tool – Text to 911 – supports residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired. It can also be used when residents are:

  • Unable to speak as a result of an injury or medical emergency
  • Facing a threatening situation where a voice call could increase the threat or compromise safety
  • In an area where a text message is the only option to request emergency services due to limited coverage
  • In an area where phone lines and cell towers are overwhelmed and only a text can get through to request emergency services

Together, these three tools will help Denver’s first responders – Save time. Save lives. To learn more visit www.denvergov.org/911now.

 

 

Many Local Dispatch Centers Working to Get 911 Texting

WEST OLIVE/IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — More dispatch centers across the United States, including some in West Michigan, are looking at implementing text-to-911 services.

The increased interest in text-to-911 comes in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre that left 49 people dead. Many people in the club texted family and friends to call 911 because they couldn’t, and there was no option to text dispatch. Ottawa County, along with Kent, Allegan and Van Buren counties, have told the state they are actively working to implement text-to-911.

“We’ve been looking at implementing texting for a little while now, some other folks in the state and throughout the country have implemented it. We do have it on our radar screen to have it in by the end of the year,” said Tim Smith, the executive director of Ottawa County Central Dispatch.

Out of the more than 6,000 dispatch centers nationwide, a little more than 650 can accept text messages.

text to 911 map
Map shows where text-to-911 is available across the state.

While Ottawa County doesn’t have text-to-911 yet, for more than two years they have had Smart911 which allows people to build a profile that dispatchers can see when you call in. It also gives dispatchers the ability to text out to you.

“What we have found in several situations is during a domestic situation is somebody will call and they will hang-up because they are under immediate threat and they can’t talk but they are able to text,” Smith said.

Ionia County has had text-to-911 for about a year, allowing people in need of help to text in versus calling.

“The dispatcher immediately will want to know their specific location because with the system we have no means to locate that particular cell phone,” said Jim Valentine, the director of Ionia County Central Dispatch.

Valentine said the text-to-911 has worked well in his county.

“Recently we had a domestic violence encounter where the lady was unable to call, she was afraid to call, frantically texting us and she was able to receive police response immediately because of that,” said Valentine.

He also supports more dispatch centers adding the service as well.

“There are situations with either texting system that can be very beneficial if someone is in grave danger,” Valentine said.

Even with the ability to text, authorities prefer you call 911 over texting if you can because dispatchers can get more information quickly.

“The tagline is: Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

On Tuesday, 911 dispatcher Riley McKillen from the Ottawa County Central Dispatch is being recognized for her outstanding efforts to aid a citizen in need using Smart911.

Last month McKillen received a 911 call that was quickly disconnected. After an attempt to call back that went unanswered, McKillen initiated a text conversation using the ‘Chat’ feature of Smart 911. The caller quickly responded to McKillen’s text stating that she had been assaulted in her home, and the male aggressor was still on the premises.

Through text, McKillen was able collect information from the caller, such as where she was located and important details about the scene that were relayed to responding officers.

The conversation via Smart911Chat continued until the officers arrived at the residence. Police quickly arrested the male subject who is being charged for domestic assault and battery.

 

By: Tom Hillen

Wood-TV

Carle Foundation Hospital Selects Rave Alert

Carle Foundation Hospital Selects Rave Alert to Communicate Emergency Notifications to 6,500 Faculty and Staff

 

Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), creator of innovative data and communication software that public safety agencies trust to help them save lives, announced today that the Carle Foundation Hospital has deployed the Rave Alert Emergency Notification System to quickly and easily disseminate critical messages and notifications to more than 6,500 faculty and staff members. A complimentary case study is available: https://www.ravemobilesafety.com/carle-selects-rave-alert/.

Like all hospitals, Carle Foundation Hospital operates on a 24/7 schedule. The critical staffing requirements of the diverse professional and non-professional workforce posed a challenge to its day-to-day operations. Coordinating work schedules, vacations and sick time with employees is a very complex task, even more so when severe weather or other events affect the region, increasing demand for emergency care.

The Carle Foundation Hospital’s previous notification system was difficult to use, slow and required extensive manual database maintenance. The Hospital vetted Rave Alert based on a referral from the University of Illinois, a long-time user. Administrators said Rave Alert was selected and deployed because of its ease-of-use, scalability and accessibility.

“Our staff found the existing notification system difficult to use and manage,” said Anita Guffey, emergency management director at the Carle Foundation. “Our colleagues at the University of Illinois suggested we check out their alert system by Rave. The ease-of-use and speed-of-deployment made selecting Rave Alert a very easy decision. In three quick steps, we can alert our entire medical center of an incident in less than a minute.”

Founded in 1931, Carle Foundation Hospital is an award-winning, 393-bed, tertiary hospital located in Urbana, Illinois and is operated by the not-for-profit Carle Foundation. Among its numerous awards and recognitions for offering outstanding healthcare, Carle Foundation Hospital has been named a ‘Best Hospital’ by U.S. News & World Report, a ’50 Great Hospital’ by Healthgrades and has received the ‘Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence’ six years in a row.

“Rave Alert could not be easier or faster in sending notifications to our entire workforce,” said Steve Peters, emergency manager at the Carle Foundation. “We can access it from any workstation or mobile device and quickly send emergency notifications to everyone. It’s so simple, more than 35 departments already rely on Alert to share critical staffing announcements. It has been so effective, we’ve even expanded its use to other internal communications, which has been very well received by employees.”

Rave Alert, by Rave Mobile Safety, provides best-in-class, highly-available emergency communications for enterprises, school districts, institutions and municipalities. Notifications can be easily segmented by department or other sort-able criteria and distributed in just three clicks. In 2015, more than a quarter billion alerts were sent by Rave users nationwide, notifying personnel and citizens about items such as severe weather, road closures, cancellations and crisis situations, including active shooters and other critical emergencies.

Michigan PSAP Realizes Benefits from Rave Mobile Safety Two-way 911 Text Solution

Two-way text-messaging functionality from Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911 platform is helping public-safety answering points (PSAP) address the growing issue of abandoned emergency calls with greater efficiency and effectiveness, according to a Michigan dispatcher.

Ryan Culver, dispatcher for the Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority in Ottawa County, Mich., said he uses Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911Chat to connect with any mobile-phone users who have abandoned their emergency call—something that can happen with an accidental misdial or a pocket dial (known by many as a “butt dial”).

“I probably use the Smart911 text feature as much as 15 times per day, with all of those abandoned calls,” Culver said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “It’s in our policy now that we send a text message back, if they do not answer a phone call.

“To be honest, the majority of the replies I get back are, ‘This was an accidental dial. Thank you for responding back. Have a good day.’”

But about 3% of the time, the follow-up text communications have resulted in responses during situations in which the emergency caller was unable to speak—a situation that is common during domestic-violence incidents, Culver said. In one case, Culver received a 911 call from a woman, but a male suspect took the device from her and threw it in the toilet.

“Unfortunately, I had nothing on that phone number, so I could not get a Phase II [caller location] on it,” Culver said. “I tried calling it back, but due to the water damage, the phone was not working properly. I ended up sending a text message. Thankfully, she pulled the phone out [of the toilet] in time, so that texting feature on her phone was still able to work. So, I was not able to communicate with her over the phone orally, but I was able to get the address, situation, names, weapons—everything—through the texting feature.

“It did wonders. We were able to get someone over there in time, and it had a positive result. We’ve had many incidents like that.”

Culver cited another incident in which an emergency caller had a diabetic reaction and was unable to speak. However, by utilizing the text-message capability, the emergency caller was able to communicate and provide the information necessary for Culver to dispatch help.

In another case, the Smart911Chat two-way text solution was used to peacefully resolve a situation in which a man armed with a gun was believed to be considering suicide, according to his wife who had fled the area, Culver said.

“We called him multiple times, and he did not answer,” Culver said. “But he felt he was able to communicate through text message, and he did. Eventually, we were able to get on the phone with him. But, if it wasn’t for that text-messaging feature, we never would have never initiated a conversation; we never would have been able to build a rapport.

“Fortunately, that situation ended positively. We were able to get him to drop his weapon, and everything ended peacefully. But if it wasn’t for that Smart911 feature, we never would have been able to build up that rapport or even initiate a conversation with him.”

Even when the text functionality does not result in a response—as in the case of a pocket dial—the Smart911Chat communication is beneficial to public safety, according to Todd Miller, Rave Mobile Safety’s vice president of public safety.

“Those pocket dials cost money,” Miller said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “If an individual doesn’t respond to a call back, and you don’t have something like Smart911 chat, Ottawa County is going to send an officer, if they have a location.

“In the end, Ottawa County estimates that each one of those unnecessary dispatches costs them about $23—when they look at the officer’s time, time spent from the call-taking side—and that adds up pretty quickly. Those dollars really mean something, especially when all communities are looking at ways to be more efficient and more effective in their public-safety offerings.”

In addition to the financial savings, the Smart911Chat feature that allow pocket-dial callers to dismiss an accidental 911 call can result in better use of precious public-safety personnel, Miller said.

“In many jurisdictions, on an abandoned call, the policy today is, ‘Let’s call them back,’” he said. “Of course, that call comes from a 10-digit number, and people don’t answer the call. Then, protocols in many portions of the country are, if we can’t reach the citizen, let’s send an officer.

“So, with abandoned calls, not only are dispatch centers spending extra time trying to reach these callers that don’t respond, but we’re also wasting valuable first-responder resources—we’re potentially taking them from one location where they are needed to a location where they are not needed, simply because there was a pocket dial.”

Miller said there are many text-to-911 solutions that allow PSAPs to receive emergency texts from citizens, but the Rave Mobile Safety system is the only one that lets PSAP personnel to send an initial text message to a citizen without the citizen needing to download a special application.

“Once the member of the community has elected to proactively text into 911, then 911 can have that two-way conversation [with other text-to-911 solutions],” he said. “But the key piece that is really lacking is putting that power under the control of the PSAPs.

“The PSAPs really need the ability—on their side—to start that two-way conversation, and that’s the biggest difference … Current standards do not address texting the way that Smart911 handles it. Current standards really are focused on that inbound [text] from the citizens.”

Miller also noted that information from text messaging can improve officer safety, particularly when responding to an abandoned call associated with a domestic-abuse incident.

“Domestic-violence situations are some of the most dangerous situations that we can send our officer into,” Miller said. “So, rather than sending one officer with no knowledge of what the call may be about, these agencies are able to have better situational awareness.

“They’re able to recognize that this is a call that requires a different type of response. They can say, ‘Let’s not send one officer with no information; let’s send two [officers], with the knowledge that this is a domestic-violence situation.”

Culver said he believes that Smart911Chat is intuitive for a telecommunicator to use.

“It literally takes me only 5 to 10 seconds to generate a text message to reply back to the caller—it is very user-friendly and easy to use, and it does not take up a lot of time,” Culver said. “So, the second I send that 911 text and I don’t have an exact location—so I can’t send an officer—I can go onto the next call and keep that [text exchange] open. So, when he or she [the emergency texter] does eventually reply back, I can then start working with the call. Until then, I can start working on something else.

“So, it doesn’t take long to use. I can initiate a text really quickly and move on to something else, if I have to. And that’s really important, because it’s got to be quick and easy to use. It’s a very user-friendly program.”

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The Symbiotic relationship between Incident Management and Emergency Notification Systems

Incident or crisis management solutions provide users a powerful way to manage information, tasks, and statuses during an incident.  Effective solutions work in both planned and unplanned incidents to ensure everyone is on the same page and have both a common understanding of what steps should be taken as well as a common operational picture of the current state of affairs.  But how do these systems interact with emergency notification systems?  Rave Mobile Safety recently announced an integration with WebEOC, the leading crisis management system and a product of Intermedix.  The combination of these best of breed solutions demonstrates how incident management and mass notification systems work together to improve the ability of agencies to mitigate, prevent, prepare, respond and recover.

Phases of Emergency ManagementMitigate risk through a common view of prevention, preparation, response and recovery processes.  Risk management is about identifying procedures to minimize the impact of an incident.  While no system can codify every potential scenario that might occur in the “fog of war”, the reality is that prior preparation greatly reduces risk.  How do you prepare?  You identify key scenarios, responsible parties, action plans, and communication processes.  When done correctly these tasks and scenarios are malleable enough to handle the majority of situations chaos can throw at you.  Crisis management solutions allow you to define and track all these different process and scenarios.  An emergency notification solution allows you to deliver targeted, timely messages across multiple modes of communication to each person or group that needs to be involved in the incident.

Enhance operational effectiveness by providing real-time visibility into operational workflow statuses and communication processes. When fully integrated to the crisis management solution, responses to messages delivered by the notification system can be automatically fed back into the appropriate tasks and work flows in the crisis management system based on users and their responses.  This reduces the time consuming and error prone, manual, back and forth coordination all too common in most incidents.

Enable real-time collaboration and communication across all constituents.  Depending the incident, the constituents involved in the response process may be a small internal team, or a large community.  Each of these groups have different information needs and preferred modes of communication.  A team manning an operational Emergency operations center may be best reached via email and a dynamic task list within an application they are using.  A remote response team may be best reached via text message.  A large community may be best reached via social media and broadcast channels like FEMA’s IPAWS / Wireless Emergency Alerts.  For each of these groups of recipients, the content is different. The instructions provided to a response team of trained professionals is very different than a general evacuation notice sent to an entire flood plain region.  A crisis management system and emergency notification system combine to make sure the right message is delivered to the right person at the right time.

Correctly document actions taken.  During the heat of a major event, you need to focus on the response.  Unfortunately, we often forget to properly document steps taken.  This documentation is needed for compliance reporting (e.g. Clery Reports for Higher Education), funding reimbursements, and other internal and external compliance requirements.  An integrated crisis management and emergency notification system simplifies the reporting process and ensure each action is documented and captured throughout the incident.

Together Rave Alert and WebEOC provide a powerful platform for end-to-end incident response management and communication.  We are excited about the roadmap further integrating the two products and providing joint clients with a solution that greatly improves incident planning and responses – from planned sporting events, to the unplanned disasters that hit our communities.

Intermedix & Rave Mobile Safety Develop Partnership

Intermedix and Rave Mobile Safety develop partnership to expand support for shared clients

NASHVILLE, Tenn. and FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (June 28, 2016) – IntermediPartnership_Intermedixx and Rave Mobile Safety announced Tuesday a new partnership integrating the companies’ emergency alert and crisis information management platforms.

“Connectivity and interoperability are key components of effective emergency response,” said Intermedix CEO Joel Portice. “The integration of WebEOC and Rave Alert is yet another example of our commitment to provide emergency preparedness personnel with the tools they need when they need them the most.”

 

WebEOC is the industry leader in web-based crisis management software used by more than 600 government agencies in the United States and more than 25 countries around the world. Built to support the mission of crisis management, public safety and emergency response personnel, WebEOC has evolved to provide simplified information access promoting intelligent incident response and business resiliency.

Rave Alert emergency notification system enables thousands of educational institutions, enterprises, and state and local governments to communicate with and alert entire populations in minutes. Rave Alert utilizes all available methods (mobile phones, landlines, email, text messages, IPAWS-OPEN) to quickly and easily deliver critical information. Built on Rave’s public safety grade infrastructure, Rave Alert delivers millions of alerts daily to the right people, before, during and after emergencies

The Rave Alert Extension for WebEOC will connect the mass notification solution to the crisis management software. Through the integration, multimodal broadcast alerts can be sent from within WebEOC, and incident creation processes can be initiated within Rave Alert.

 “Our goal is to provide the emergency response community with the most effective way to communicate with their constituents,” said Rave Mobile Safety CEO Tom Axbey. “This integration is key component of enhancing resilience and providing emergency responders with a common operating picture.”

 

Demonstrations of the extension will be available for attendees of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators’ Annual Conference & Exposition from June 24 to June 28, as well as for attendees of the 2016 National Homeland Security Conference from June 28 to June 30.

About Intermedix          

Intermedix delivers technology-enabled services and SaaS solutions to health care providers, government agencies and corporations. The company utilizes data analytics to support approximately 15,000 health care providers with practice management and revenue cycle management services. Intermedix connects more than 95 percent of the U.S. with population management technologies. To learn more visit www.intermedix.com.

When is a “Dispatchable Location” Really Dispatchable?

Two weeks ago at NENA National I co-chaired a speaking session with Brooks Shannon of Geo-Comm. The title of this session was “The Next Frontier for GIS: Indoors”. While we discussed several topics, I think one of the timeliest aspects was the state of “Dispatchable Location”.

I expect any seasoned 9-1-1 dispatcher or first responder knows when a set of location information is (or is not) dispatch-quality. They can make this judgement based on experience and local knowledge. However I am not aware of any attempt to formally define “Dispatchable Location” prior to the FCC’s 4th Report and Order of January 29, 2015. In summary, they define Dispatchable Location as:

“… the verified or corroborated street address … plus additional information such as floor, suite, apartment or similar … to adequately identify the location of the calling party.”

It makes sense that the FCC would settle on this definition – especially when so many 9-1-1 location accuracy comments sound like “Most of my center’s 9-1-1 calls are initiated by mobile phones and the location data is often not good enough to find the caller. Things were so much easier when all calls came from landlines; at least they came with an address.”

Is civic address alone good enough? To explore this, let take the location of the NENA National Conference as an example. If a 9-1-1 call were placed from a landline on the show floor, it should be accompanied by ALI (automatic location information) in the form of an address. It would probably be similar to the following:

100 S. Capitol Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Seems dispatchable, right? Most certainly if you are a member of Indianapolis Police, Fire or EMS – but why? Because local responders can consume this location information, compare it to a reference map, and navigate to the incident. For a common address in the city center, local knowledge (or “the map in the responders head”) may get them there. However, when I made my way to the show I needed the map on my phone (my reference) to “dispatch myself” to the show floor. This problem is even more apparent if your location information is a described via latitude/longitude:

Example of Current Civic and Geodetic 9-1-1 Location Information
Example of Current Civic and Geodetic 9-1-1 Location Information

Perhaps a “verified or corroborated street address” only gets you half-way to the Dispatchable Address goal. The second half of the solution requires an equally verified and corroborated map to make sense of a civic or geodetic location.

Today, nearly everyone has a highly detailed map in their pocket, so what is the big deal? Problem solved!

I’d agree if the FCC’s order simply required the industry bring wireless location precision to 1980’s E9-1-1 ALI address standards. However, that is not the case. Both the Dispatchable Location definition (by including reference to floor, suite, apartment, or similar) and more stringent location accuracy requirements (calling for < 50 meter precision and an accompanying altitude component) reaches beyond simply getting the responder “to the front door”, especially in larger facilities.

Using this definition, let’s move our example into the near future. Imagine someone dialing 9-1-1 during our presentation (dying of boredom, perhaps?), and their location is provided by the currently-under-development National Emergency Address Database (NEAD). The NEAD is expected to provide a more detailed civic address for emergency calls, which may look like something like:

Example of 9-1-1 Dispatchable Location per the FCC’s Definition
Example of 9-1-1 Dispatchable Location per the FCC’s Definition

While this example is fairly simple, you can imagine not being able find a “dispatchable address” within a complex facility without the benefit of a corresponding indoor map. Consequently, even if calls are accompanied by a civic address meeting the FCC’s definition of Dispatchable Location, reliably getting responders to an indoor emergency caller will require maps keep pace with improvement in location information.

Over the past year, much emphasis has been put on Dispatchable Location and NEAD. This is a commendable effort, and prioritizing improvements in location information over improvements in maps is the right thing to do. However the goal of delivering a dispatchable Location with every call won’t be complete until we have corresponding mapping improvements (a fact that is not lost on the FCC).

Building out these improved maps will involve overcoming a unique set of challenges. That is something I will cover in my next blog post. I fear if I don’t stop typing now, I risk boring you to death!

County EMA Makes Change to New Weather Warning System

NEWARK – Licking County residents will no longer be inundated with weather warnings like they were Wednesday, according to Sean Grady, director of Licking County Emergency Management Agency and the Regional 911 Center.

Grady announced on Monday a change to the Rave Mass Notification System, which started here March 6. The new policy will be to automatically send out National Weather Service notifications only for tornado warnings.

“Only landlines and subscribed cell phones will get calls from these warnings if they happen to be inside the NWS warning box,” Grady stated in an email. “We decided to limit the amount and type of warnings being sent based on some feedback from residents who experienced the multiple calls during the storm last Wednesday night.”

The National Weather Service sent out severe thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings lasting one hour or less, Grady said. Once the warnings expired, they were repeated, and Rave recipients received new warnings.

“We decided to limit this because I do not want people becoming desensitized to them,” Grady said. ” Other warnings that are sent out by NWS will be vetted by our office before being sent out to the public to make sure that there is a significant risk involved.”

Grady or his deputy, John Wieber, will determine when to send notifications covering a wide range of other possible events, such as floods, flash floods, extreme heat, blizzards, extreme cold, severe thunderstorms, hail and earthquakes.

Residents who signed up to receive Rave emergency alerts can choose how they want to be notified of a warning, such as by text, email, cellphone or landline.

People who sign up for Rave can provide information for emergency responders to use if coming to their aid. They can choose what information to provide, such as listing family members, photos, medical conditions, disabilities, mobility limitations, other special needs, medical equipment requiring electricity, exact addresses, or pets.

To sign up for the notifications, go to lcounty.com and click on Emergency/Disaster Mobile Alert Sign Up or go to smart911.com.

kmallett@newarkadvocate.com

740-328-8545

NG911 Lessons Learned from the Flint Water Crisis

The Flint MI water crisis coming to light over the past year has captured the attention and fears of the nation.  For me, it has also brought to mind an analogy directly related to the move toward FirstNet and NG911 and even the work being done to improve FEMA‘s Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS / WEA).  The pipes in Flint continued to be able to pump water throughout the crisis.  The pressure was fine. When you turned on a spout, water flowed out.  The problem was with the usefulness of the liquid.

NG9-1-1 aims to create new system for handling calls for service.  It promises to enable new forms of communication, better routing and transferring of emergency calls, and even allowing data to augment call handling and dispatching effectiveness.  FirstNet aims to create a dedicated public safety broadband network, providing responders with the ability to access critical data and applications with the quality of service needed for public safety operations.  The latest work being done on the IPAWs alerting system, looks to improve the targeting granularity of cell broadcast technology while also investigating how the permission to send alerts can be further delegated down to a broader set of authorized users.

NG911_content
NG911 and FirstNet Need Useful Content

Each of these public safety initiatives are really about the pipes to deliver content.  Once those pipes are established, we need to look at what fills them.  Much like the tainted water in Flint was useless, the public safety applications built upon these new pipes are only as good as what flows through them.  From the increased risk of call spoofing or denial of service attacks on IP-based NG91-1- networks, to the challenges in interpreting new forms of content like video or cryptic text messages, making sure what is in the pipes is clean and usable is key.  In FirstNet, as we look at public safety applications for navigating through buildings indoors we need to think about how we collect and keep floor plans up to date.  While FirstNet may provide live biometric updates on fire fighters in a building, not being able to correctly find and get to them in an emergency makes the fact you know they collapsed nearly useless. For WEA alerts, the context and action-ability of the message is key.  From years of experience delivering over a billion emergency messages, I’ve seen numerous times how a poorly worded or confusing message can cause more damage than good.

From personal medical data, to up-to-date building floor plans and emergency contact data to a platform for easily distributing content across many different pipes, we are working to ensure you have the public-safety grade data and communication capabilities that can be the difference between life and death.  NG911 and FirstNet afford the opportunity to radically transform the interaction between responders, PSAPs and those that they protect with a series of layered, secure services.  As we budget for billions of dollars in putting in new pipes, we not only put in robust pipes but also make sure we have usable content flowing through them.