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

July 26, 2016

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.

Since Kari’s death, her father, Frank Hunt, has ch ... Read More

Scott McGrath

Are You Leveraging “All Clear” After Action Messages?

July 18, 2016

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 Cl ... Read More

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The Symbiotic relationship between Incident Management and Emergency Notification Systems

June 28, 2016

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 m ... Read More

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When is a “Dispatchable Location” Really Dispatchable?

June 28, 2016

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 loc ... Read More

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NG911 Lessons Learned from the Flint Water Crisis

June 27, 2016

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 i ... Read More

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What is the difference between Smart911 and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)?

May 19, 2016

With recent news coverage of wireless location accuracy challenges, the formation of coalitions to speed the adoption of NG9-1-1, and an increasing number of NG9-1-1 implementations, more and more frequently we at Rave are being asked, “What is the difference between Smart911 and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)?”

NG9-1-1 is the industry’s vision for how 9-1-1 calls ... Read More

katharine

Thank You John Oliver and Thank You 911

May 16, 2016

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver highlighted the current limitations to the 9-1-1 infrastructure and the challenges 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers must overcome due to the drastic increase in mobile 9-1-1 calls.

John Oliver rightly pointed out how Americans across the country trust 9-1-1 and rely on 9-1-1 call takers in their worst moments.

“Dispatchers do amazing work talking people through child birth, CPR, abductions, and home break ins.” -Jo ... Read More

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Not Your Average User Summit

May 4, 2016

I often think about what makes Rave Mobile Safety different from other technology companies that develop public safety solutions. I believe it comes down to a single value that permeates everything we do at Rave: Care.

At Rave we truly care about our customers, and the public safety industry and community as a whole. “Ravers,” as we like to call ourselves, spend countless hours learning from public safety professionals and incorporating their feedback into each of our solutions. Ravers also give back to the industry by freely providing expertise we gain through exploratory conver ... Read More

katharine

3 Ways to Use Social Media at the Rave Emergency Communications and Response 2016 Summit

May 2, 2016

With the Rave Emergency Communications and Response 2016 Summit a week away, now is a good time to review how you can leverage social media to maximize your time at the Summit.

Whether you have never tweeted or tweet constantly, there are many benefits of posting to Twitter and Instagram using the #911Summit hashtag during next week’s event.

 

1. Follow @RaveMSafety and #911Summit

Don’t miss any ... Read More

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Being the Nation’s Lifeline

April 14, 2016

During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, we honor the men and women who answer our calls for help.  As a former 9-1-1 call taker, I feel compelled to share what being a 9-1-1 professional has grown to mean to me over the years, as a way to say, “Thank You 9-1-1.”

When hearing someone express their gratitude to a telecommunicator, I have witnessed a genuine display of humility.  He or she simply responds in turn with “No problem. That’s my job.”  Being a 9-1-1 call taker isn’t just a job, it’s a profession.  It carries the traits and the highest of expec ... Read More

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Leaving a Legacy 9-1-1 Style

March 28, 2016

While traveling to Las Vegas for a conference I sat near a pair of fathers and their sons in the airport terminal. The fathers were coaching their (adult) sons on the nuances of winning at blackjack – their winning formula. For some reason, this got me to thinking about what legacy we pass on – not just to our children, but those we work with and for.

Those who have chosen 9-1-1 as a career have a unique legacy. They have chosen to work in a job of self-sacrifice. Frankly, the financial rewards aren’t commensurate with the sacrifice of family and emotional toll the job takes. I ... Read More

katharine

AlertSeattle: From Planning to Launch – An Insider View

March 14, 2016

In 2011, the City of Seattle decided to select a new emergency notifcation system because their existing system wasn’t being used because it was out of date and difficult to use. As a result, the City had a diminished ability to alert the public.

After establishing mandatory, technical, and security requirements, the City of Seattle, with the sponsorship of 8 departments, released the RFP on July 23, 2014.

The City of Seattle’s goal was to draft an RFP that enabled meaningful response by vendors and the final selection based on conducting challenging on-site demonstrations ... Read More

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When 9-1-1 is the Last Call: Incorporating 9-1-1 in Planning for School Emergencies

March 7, 2016

During a school emergency, 9-1-1 is the first call made. Yet, 9-1-1 is often left out of planning for school emergencies.

During a campus-wide event, 9-1-1 is integral in keeping schools safe.  9-1-1 coordinates emergency response, playing a vital role as a lifeline between the crisis and the first responders who are needed to help.

A complete emergency plan requires an expanded planning team, a concept that FEMA, the Department of Justice, and the Department ... Read More

Scott McGrath

Time for a Tune-Up? Get the Most Out of Your Alert System

March 1, 2016

Spring cleaning can take many forms. When it comes to emergency alerting and response, public safety and emergency managers have clear processes for policy and procedure review, both before and after action.

Yet it might also be useful to look at safety software you’re already using to see if new features and functions have arisen that can improve enhance the ways you do things.

From our point of view as a safety software vendor, when we introduce new f ... Read More

The Danger of Non-Emergency Dropped Calls

February 22, 2016

Below is a guest post by Jessica Hoff, a Business Development Representative for Smart911, who has firsthand experience with the challenges plaguing 9-1-1 centers and first responders.

As I drove home from work yesterday, I heard the faint sound of sirens and saw an ambulance approaching in my rear-view mirror. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, how often do we stop to wonder where that ambulance is going? The first thought that came to min ... Read More

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Radio 101: A Simple Guide to Public Safety Radio Tech

February 18, 2016

I spend my time in the world of software, so when people start talking radio technology my eyes tend to glaze over. But with the discussion developing around FirstNet,  and the rapid deployment of Rave Panic Button across the country, I’ve gotten more involved in the radio side of incident responses and realized I needed a better understanding of some of the key issues and trends impacting public safety radio.  For those of you who are also a bit in the dark about the relationship between bandwidth and spectrum, or the difference between P25, FirstNet, LTE, and 4G here’s a quick overv ... Read More

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The Butt Dial Burden

February 11, 2016

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

What is a real emergency and what is not?

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

Back then, when someone called 9-1-1 and hung up or ... Read More

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

February 5, 2016

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

But what if Claire had collapsed elsewhere, such as at ... Read More

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

February 4, 2016

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

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

January 27, 2016

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

This year, our retrospective included Rave Panic Button. This is an area of great growth for Rave’s public safety platform. In reviewing our original understanding of the challenges faced by our clients, we feel the guiding principles we established when first developing t ... Read More

katharine

What are you overlooking during your emergency notification system evaluation?

January 20, 2016

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

ENS now intersect and interact with national weather and emergency systems. They are no longer used for only emergencies. Many institutions leverage emergency notification systems for internal alerting during non- emergency situations. With the latest capabilities, alerts aren’t always blasted out to the entire system. Instead, administrators ca ... Read More

katharine

National Stalking Awareness Month

January 11, 2016

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

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

According to a recent Centers for Dis ... Read More

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A Look Back: Top 5 Emergency Communications Trends of 2015

December 29, 2015

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

Costly Failures. 9-1-1 needs to work. This message was heard loud and clear by service ... Read More

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WiFi calling to 911: Testing Results and Implications

December 15, 2015

Recently, mobile carriers began enabling Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling on specific devices, where the device is connected to a Wi-Fi access point. Such VoIP calls are placed from the phone’s native dialer, yet are completed over Wi-Fi rather than the carrier’s traditional mobile phone network. Of the “Big 4” TMobile was an early adopter, followed quickly by Sprint and then ATT and Verizon. Each of the carriers has taken a slightly different route to enabling devices on thei ... Read More

katharine

How to Speed up Response to Active Shooters in Higher Ed

December 7, 2015

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

The recent FBI study found that 69% of active shooter incidents last less than five minutes. In such a ... Read More