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Recent Press Releases

February 5, 2018

Survey Finds Employee Perceptions and Employer Policies For Workplace Safety Are Not Aligned

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February 1, 2018

Rave Mobile Safety Continues Momentum as Top Choice for Critical Communication and Response Technology

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October 31, 2017

Intermedix and Rave Mobile Safety Expand Partnership to Enhance Incident Management for Higher Education

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September 25, 2017

Corporations Still Unprepared for Emergency Situations

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September 7, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Leadership Changes Positioning Company for Continued Rapid Growth

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August 30, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Expands State and Local Rave Alert Footprint with 125% Customer Growth

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August 24, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Protects More Than One Million Massachusetts Residents

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August 14, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Partners with TriTech to Incorporate Rave Facility Data into CAD

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August 10, 2017

Momentum Builds as Third State Deploys Rave 911 Suite Statewide Surpassing 45 Million Protected Nationally

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June 1, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety and RapidSOS Form Strategic Partnership to Deliver Device-Based Caller Location from Smartphones and other Connected Devices

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May 24, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Cyber Security Enhancements

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May 2, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Receives Series of Prestigious Industry Awards and Accolades

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March 10, 2017

Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety Announce Joint Technology Deployment

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February 14, 2017

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

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February 1, 2017

Rave Mobile Safety Bolsters Life Saving Footprint in 2016

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January 25, 2017

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

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January 25, 2017

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

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December 26, 2016

M’ville Schools Getting Panic Button to Help Communication in a Crisis

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December 25, 2016

911 “On Steroids” Hits Ipswich

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December 6, 2016

SERESA Offers Smart911 Services in Michigan

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November 29, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety Honored as Gold Winner in 2016 Campus Technology Readers’ Choice Awards

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November 28, 2016

New 911 Enhancement Available for Natick

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November 28, 2016

Smart911 Now Available in Natick

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November 14, 2016

The State of Michigan Makes Smart911 Available to Every Response Agency and Resident Statewide

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October 26, 2016

Officials Urge Springfield Residents to Sign Up for Life-Saving Smart911 System

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October 26, 2016

City of Springfield Announces Smart911 as Emergency Preparedness Initiative

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October 25, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Expanded Leadership Position in Higher Education With Over 270 New Customers in 2016

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October 21, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety Delivers Over 2 Million Messages for the 9th Annual Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

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October 14, 2016

Foxboro Now Offers Smart911

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October 14, 2016

Foxboro’s New Smart911 to Speed Help

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October 14, 2016

911 Enhancement Available in Foxboro

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October 14, 2016

Enhanced 9-1-1 Service Now Available in Knox County

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September 21, 2016

Wyoming County Announces Smart911 to Help Save Lives

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September 16, 2016

Pulaski County Announces Enhanced 9-1-1 Service with Smart911

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September 14, 2016

CRESA Introduces Smart 911 for Clark County

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September 14, 2016

Local Dispatch Center Rolls Out Smart911 Program

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September 1, 2016

Smart911 Now Available for Logan/Cache County Area

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August 17, 2016

Louisville Announces Enhanced 9-1-1 Service: Smart911

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August 16, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Rave Command View and Rave 911 Analytics

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August 9, 2016

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

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August 8, 2016

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

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July 20, 2016

IntraLogic Solutions Partners with Rave Mobile Safety

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July 13, 2016

Denver Announces Enhanced Emergency Response Tools

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June 29, 2016

Carle Foundation Hospital Selects Rave Alert

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June 28, 2016

Intermedix & Rave Mobile Safety Develop Partnership

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June 20, 2016

Mutualink and Rave Improve Emergency Response

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June 13, 2016

GeoComm and Rave Mobile Safety Partner

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June 6, 2016

Rave Executives Speak at NENA Conference

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June 1, 2016

Smart911Chat Enables 9-1-1 Dispatchers to Rescue Victims

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May 4, 2016

Boise State University Selects Rave Guardian to Improve Campus Safety

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April 28, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety 2016 Summit- Active Shooters, Terrorism and Opioid Epidemic

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April 25, 2016

Sheriff Dart Announces Dispatcher Training and Investment in Smart911 Technology

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April 8, 2016

Saluda County Launches Smart911 to Improve Emergency Response and Help Save Lives

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April 6, 2016

Mutualink and Rave Mobile Safety Partner to Drastically Improve Emergency Response Times and Incident Communications

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March 21, 2016

Kenyon Adds Smartphone App to Boost Security

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March 17, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety to Participate in Panel Discussion at the 2016 International Wireless Communications Expo

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March 11, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911 Wins 2016 BIG Innovation Award

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February 23, 2016

Rave Mobile Safety Warns Consumers About the Dangers of Deceptive Claims by Safety App Vendors

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February 22, 2016

Smart911 Opens Nominations for Fifth Annual Smart Telecommunicator Awards to Recognize Exceptional 9-1-1 Call-Takers

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February 17, 2016

Ingham County Announces Availability of Smart911 for Enhanced Emergency Response

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January 13, 2016

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

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December 3, 2015

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

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December 1, 2015

Smart911 Partners with American Association of Kidney Patients

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November 2, 2015

Indiana State University Launches Rave Guardian App to Increase Campus Safety

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October 29, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety & Modo Labs Partner to Offer Higher Education Institutes a Powerful Combination of Best-in-Class Mobile Applications

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October 27, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Rave Guardian App 6.0

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October 23, 2015

Smart911 Partners with Dravet Syndrome Foundation

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September 10, 2015

Honolulu Is First in Hawaii to Enhance 9-1-1 Services with Smart911

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September 1, 2015

Beaufort County and Hilton Head Island Announce Smart911 for Enhanced Emergency Response

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August 27, 2015

Smart911 Supports Autism Alliance of Michigan’s Success Is a Spectrum Autism Conference

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August 21, 2015

CTIA Announces Finalists for Hot for the Holidays, Emerging Technology and MobITs Awards Programs

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August 18, 2015

Seattle Selects Rave Alert for Citywide Emergency Notifications

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August 11, 2015

Arkansas Deploys Rave Panic Button to Better Protect Every K-12 Student in the State

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July 15, 2015

Stony Brook University Expands Campus Safety with the Rave Guardian App

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June 29, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety Unveils New Solution to Bring 9-1-1 and Emergency Responders Enhanced Outdoor and Indoor Location on Wireless Callers

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June 22, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety to Showcase Advanced Emergency Communication and Response Technology at NENA 2015

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May 28, 2015

Juliette Kayyem Named to Rave Mobile Safety Advisory Board

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May 27, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety's Emergency Communications & Response Summit Highlights Real-World Lessons Learned From Major Incidents

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May 22, 2015

Smart911 Provides Vital Address and Medical Notes to Assist in 9-1-1 Response to a Lonoke County Woman

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May 6, 2015

Springfield College Scores with Rave Guardian App

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May 5, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety Announces Smart911 4.0 to Provide Detailed Facility Information for Faster Emergency Response

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April 29, 2015

Attend the 2015 Emergency Communications & Response Summit Hosted by Rave Mobile Safety

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April 27, 2015

Smart911 and Quota International Inc. Team Up to Promote Enhanced 9-1-1 Service for Deaf, Hard-of-hearing and Speech-impaired

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April 17, 2015

Winona is First In Minnesota to Enhance Public Safety with Smart911

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April 14, 2015

Texas 9-1-1 Dispatcher Named National Winner of Smart Telecommunicator Awards

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April 14, 2015

Smart911 Expands Coverage of Life-Saving Service to Over 10 Percent of U.S. Population in First Quarter 2015

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April 13, 2015

Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Area Announces Smart911 as Enhanced Public Safety Service

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April 7, 2015

Georgia Regents University Increases Safety with the Rave Guardian App

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March 25, 2015

Smart911 Opens Online Voting to Select 9-1-1 Call-Takers in the Fourth Annual Smart Telecommunicator Awards

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March 23, 2015

Rave Mobile Safety Names One of Nation's Top Public Safety Officials to Advisory Board

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February 23, 2015

Smart911 Announces 4th Annual Smart Telecommunicator Awards to Recognize 9-1-1 Call-Takers

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February 18, 2015

Communities Across the U.S. Get “Smarter” About 9-1-1 as Smart911 Service Expands To Help Save Lives

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February 17, 2015

Belmont Announces Smart911 Service for Enhanced Emergency Response

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February 4, 2015

City of Decatur Replaces CodeRed Emergency Notifications with Additional Smart911 Features

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January 25, 2015

Forrest County Is First In Mississippi to Enhance 9-1-1 with Smart911 Public Safety Service

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December 11, 2014

Smart911 Helps Save a Life and the Holidays for Michigan Family

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December 3, 2014

Rave Guardian Selected by The University of North Carolina to Protect Students at Flagship Campus in Chapel Hill

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October 29, 2014

Rave Guardian Selected by Brown University and SUNY Oswego to Better Protect Students in the Northeast

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October 22, 2014

Smart911 Expansion Continues as 20 More Agencies Deploy Service to Improve Emergency Response in Past Quarter

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October 9, 2014

Glenn County Encourages Citizens to Sign Up for Smart911

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What We're Talking About This Week - April 20th

April 20, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In The News This Week

In recent industry news, a Juniper study commissioned by Intel estimates that smart cities have the potential to "give back" a remarkable 125 hours to every resident every year. Additionally, the study ranks the top 20 smart cities worldwide across multiple factors, including public safety, and reveals how these cities deliver positive outcomes for quality of life, safer environments, and more. 

Key Highlights from the Study:

  • Improvements in public safety can deliver substantial time benefits for smart city citizens. For example, street lights can be transformed into connected digital infrastructure beacons, monitoring the pulse of city life, which enable a range of local departments to be safer, cleaner, and more efficient. They can also be used to prioritize emergency service vehicles through traffic light phasing and driver re-routing.
  • High-ranking safety winners such as Singapore and New York City have worked to address violent crime by taking a data-driven approach. New York City has found predictive modeling to be a key asset for both law enforcement and fire services. 
  • Machine learning enabled software can be used to predict crime spots on any given day.

Read the full report here to learn how you can begin transforming your community into a smart city. 

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

people connection3 Questions Fluor Asked Before Integrating WebEOC with a Mass Notification System
 

Gary Simon, Senior Emergency Response Team Leader for Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations (FFPO), presented a webinar on how his company's need to protect employees and ensure business continuity led him to integrate WebEOC with Rave's mass notification system. In this webinar breakdown blog, we highlight a few of Gary's key takeaways on how updating your incident management plan can dramatically increase your situational awareness.

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shutterstock_759169186Four Questions to Ask Before Renewing Your Mass Notification Contract

When it comes to renewing your mass notification vendor contract, you should consider asking a few questions to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. We offer up four of the most important questions to consider before renewing your mass notification system contract. 

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Rave in the News

Spring's arrival signals the start of many severe weather events, including powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes. These storms can prove especially challenging to citizens with hearing loss. K.K. Gross, who runs the clinical operations for Shea Hearing Center in Memphis and Nashville, TN says the these emergencies can make communication difficult for hearing-impaired residents. Gross says there are easy steps people with hearing loss can take in advance to mitigate an emergency's impact, including putting together an emergency preparedness kit and equipping your home with emergency-detecting assistive technology devices. 

For residents living in Nashville and various other counties throughout Tennessee, Gross recommends they take advantage of Smart911. With this free service, residents can create a safety profile and input their medical history, noting any hearing impairments, that would be important for first responders to know about during an emergency. Gross says that it's important to have people in your network who know about your disability, and that includes emergency personnel.

You can access the story here.

3 Questions Fluor Asked Before Integrating WebEOC with a Mass Notification System

April 18, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

"We needed to figure out a way to integrate our mass notification system and employ accountability into WebEOC so we could integrate with one platform."


Gary Simon, Senior Emergency Response Team Leader for Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations (FFPO), presented a webinar on how his company's need to protect employees and ensure business continuity led him to integrate WebEOC with Rave's mass notification system

FFPO, located along the U.S. gulf coast, is under contract with the Department of Energy to manage the day to day operations of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The requirements mandated by this federal contract, along with frequent interruptions to daily operations because of severe weather events, forced Gary and his team to find a comprehensive incident management solution that would address all their emergency management needs.

Prior to this integration, daily operations were handwritten and recorded on paper logs. Gary's team was tasked with bringing FFPO's day-to-day operations into the 21st century and integrate their team's three main safety technology platforms - WebEOC, ESRI GIS, and a mass notification system - into one.

Watch clip 1 of 2 to learn more about what initially prompted FFPO to embark on a platform integration and how you might be facing similar emergency safety shortcomings

 

Before integrating their technology platforms, FFPO's emergency management team asked the following three questions:

questionstoask-fluor

Because the answer to all three of these questions was yes, Gary and his team were given the green light to move forward with the project. Two of the main goals for the integration, having the ability to house all emergency management activities in one location and overall improvement in situational awareness, were both achieved. This consolidation of platforms allowed FFPO's emergency management team to understand immediately the impact severe weather has on work sites, employees, supply transportation routes, and post-recovery efforts. 

Watch clip 2 of 2 to see how this integration improved the emergency management team's situational awareness and ultimately provided better protection for FFPO employees

 

On What This Integration Means To Fluor

For Gary, the most important part of his job is ensuring the safety of Fluor employees and maintaining daily business operations. On what this integration has meant to FFPO, Gary had the following to say,

"The integration of these three platforms has dramatically improved the team's situational awareness, allows for better control and overall accountability of mass notifications reaching employees, and consolidates the process where the end user can do everything from one interface as opposed to maneuvering in and out of different platforms."

To end the webinar, Gary wanted to leave viewers with this final thought:

"By integrating all off these processes together and by having Rave Mobile Safety on board with us, we were able to take our alert notification and reduce the steps it takes to send out mass notifications by about 67%.

We were able to create a searchable history that is now automatically loaded the minute you make an alert… so it’s easy to get to old alerts and look through the database. It also gave management access from anywhere… anywhere you have internet connection you have 24/7 situational awareness."

Want to learn more?

The full recording of the webinar is about 30 minutes long and includes additional insight into Fluor's WebEOC integration as well as an extensive Q&A session. Check it out here or let us know if you’re interested in attending more webinars.

Four Questions To Ask Before Renewing Your Mass Notification Contract

April 17, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

When it comes to renewing your mass notification vendor contract, you should consider asking a few questions to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. On average, companies work with about 89 different technology vendors - and that number doesn’t appear to be getting any smaller. Industry research predicts the number of technology vendors that companies work with will continue to grow over the next few years. According to a recent survey of 600 IT leaders, 71 percent say that they will continue to work with more vendors over the next two years. 

Here are four questions you should ask before renewing your mass notification contract.

Are you satisfied with your product? This seems like a no-brainer, but you should enjoy using your communication platform. If you haven’t had the chance to reflect on your mass notification solution, now might be the time. Identify major successes and failures you’ve had with the platform. When in doubt, seek additional opinions - ask your vendor if they can connect you with peer organizations to learn about their experiences with the product.

Reflect on any challenges or roadblocks faced over the course of your contract. If issues arose, how quickly and effectively did your vendor’s services team respond and resolve? If mistakes were made, were they the result of human error or a shortcoming in the platform’s performance capabilities? If your team was at fault, you can seek out training to avoid another communication error in the future. If the platform was to blame, it might be time to find a new vendor. 

Have you used all of your product’s functionalities? Your vendor should be able to provide you with usage data and help you identify areas for improvement. Make sure you understand where usage gaps exist and what features you may have been under-utilizing before determining if the communication platform was a failure or success. A great vendor will help you identify weaknesses in your current mass notification strategy and work with you to ensure you reach full operational potential.

Does your customer success representative get back to you quickly when you have a question about your contract?  Before you renew, ask your rep to provide a detailed price breakdown of your current contract. If they don’t get back to you, it might be worth getting quotes from comparable products. Shopping around will help you during renegotiation or discover a new vendor with solutions better fit for your needs.

Does your vendor provide training tips or details on new product features on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, you vendor probably cares about your experience and satisfaction. A vendor who frequently creates new content and training videos is likely thinking of your long-term success, and that’s great news for you. Webinars, monthly email updates, and in-person training workshops are just a few examples of how your vendor might be leveraging their industry knowledge to help you achieve success. The release of new product features are a great indication that your vendor is listening to customer feedback and challenging itself to create better and more innovative solutions. If your vendor is not doing these things, it might be time to start searching for one who views your success as their own.

Still unsure if it’s time to reconsider your mass notification contract renewal? Check out this comparison checklist to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system.

 

 Download the Mass Notification System Checklist

What We're Talking About This Week - April 13th

April 13, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In The News This Week

This week in industry news, Fire Chief published a piece on how interoperability issues hindered police and fire response to a deadly wildfire that destroyed parts of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park back in November of 2016. The After Action Review, commissioned by Sevier County and the city of Gatlinburg, identified several disaster response communication challenges that increased wildfire spread and damage to local infrastructure. 

Key Highlights from the Review:

  • Cell phone communication outages contributed to a delay of the public broadcast of the evacuation message for Gatlinburg. Furthermore, because this event was a non-weather emergency message, the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) could not be used for the evacuation.
  • Insufficient radio interoperability among city, county, state and federal agencies created critical obstacles to direct communication. Mutual aid responding agencies were unable to communicate with one another and the established Emergency Operations Center or the Gatlinburg Police Department Communications Center. 
  • At times, the radio communications related to the fire and response overloaded the Sevier County radio system. Some busy signals occurred due to the abundance of radio traffic and the lack of available radio frequencies for the Gatlinburg Police Department.

Fortunately, the well-established relationship between local responders and the community did help overcome many of the existing communication struggles. Most of the responders had operated or trained together before the fire and were able to develop a coordinate common goal. 

Read the full article here and make sure you are prepared and trained for the next large-scale natural disaster.

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

Why the Airline Industry Needs An Alerting SystemAirline Blog-2

In early November of 2017, a lithium ion battery exploded in a suitcase near security checkpoint at Orlando International Airport. The explosion raised fears of a shooting, inciting chaos throughout the entire airport. The airport couldn't notify employees of the situation or that the threat had passed, leaving travelers without information. A mass communication platform would have increased response time, help spread accurate information among employees and passengers, and prevented confusion and chaos in the terminals. 

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Spring SafetyKeeping School Children Safe Outdoors with an Emergency App

With the season for outdoor recess in full swing, school administrators need to put plans into place to keep the children in their care safe from danger and injury. They should consider the most effective ways for seeking emergency help when unforeseeable emergencies occur. Implementing an emergency safety app is a great way to open lines of communication between key administrators, teachers, and health services. 

READ MORE

Rave in the News

The ridesharing service Uber announced Thursday that it is unveiling a pilot program in Denver, Colorado aimed at improving rider safety. The company is partnering with RapidSOS to connect users with local emergency services with the tap of a button. The service, among many things, will send the user's location, description of the vehicle and Uber trip details to 911 dispatchers. The new partnership will integrate with the existing Rave platform to  provide Denver 911 dispatchers with even more critical information during an emergency. 

Executive Director of Denver 911 Athena Butler says this new location data is a game-changer. What does this more accurate location information mean? According to Butler, "Seconds save lives. If that information presents automatically to us, that makes for a more successful outcome for that citizen who has called us in distress" 

You can access the story here.

Why the Airline Industry Needs An Alerting System

April 10, 2018 Blog Author: Mary Kate McGrath

Every November, families from across New Jersey descend on Orlando, Florida to visit Disney World. It’s an unofficial event titled “Jersey Week”, and it’s notorious for crowding the parks, public transport, and airports. On November 11th, 2017, a lithium ion battery in a suitcase exploded near a security checkpoint at Orlando International Airport, just as tourists flooded the airport to return home at the end of the annual vacation week. 

A TSA agent was able to grab the compromised bag and remove it from the area, but the incident caused widespread panic. The explosion and sound of falling stanchions raised fears of a shooting, and the people in the terminal were instructed to evacuate with little information. According to NBC news, the incident also canceled 24 flights

The situation in Orlando demonstrates why the airline industry should invest in an alerting system as part of their emergency communication plan. In videos of the incident, security officer Ricardo Perez, a 20-year old former veteran grabbed the package and ran away from the lines of people. Nobody was hurt, but the incident immediately sparked outcry and fear, even among staff. The airport couldn't notify employees that the threat had passed, which in turn left customers without information. 

 In a statement issued to NBC News, Greater Orlando International Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown described the reason for the chaos after the officer removed the smoking package. “Others hearing the luggage being dropped, stanchions falling, and rapid movement mistook the sounds as gunfire and within seconds a spontaneous evacuation of the main terminal occurred,” Brown wrote. Customers near the exploding battery were initially evacuated, but it took a long time for the situation to resolve and passengers were sequestered in the main terminal for hours waiting for the airport to resume operations. 


Travelers were stranded without being told the nature of the emergency. The crowds in the airports main lobby included passengers who had already passed through security and boarded planes. People on grounded flights were only told there was an emergency situation, and were deplaned.

Esther Smith* reported that her plane was evacuated into a back hallway in the airport and passengers were told to run. The plane was full of families returning from the Disney theme park, and included very young children as well as elderly passengers.

“It's crazy. Nobody knows anything,” traveler Mckenzie Golden told WFNTV news while waiting to pass through security and return to her flight. The confusion meant that many found themselves was panicked and unable to act in an informed, coordinated manner. In the case of a true emergency, it's crucial for customers to understand proper evacuation and response procedures. 

The lack of communication between law enforcement, airline management, and the airplane crew resulted in chaos in Orlando, and it could happen at any airline, even during a less-busy time of year for traveling. If employees aren't able to be told the nature of the emergency or where within the airport the threat occurred,  there was no effective way to communicate safety procedures to passengers. This contributes to the panic, and can leave customers fearing for their safety, even if the threat is handled by law enforcement.

In Orlando, all travelers was required to pass through TSA once again, but in the meantime, thousands of people stood in the airport’s front terminal with no idea what had occurred. If there had been an emergency situation, the crowding in the airport terminal could have presented a serious safety and security threat, especially since there was no system in place to communicate quickly and effectively with airport staff and local law enforcement.

“We attempted various methods of communicating but as everyone is aware, a few trying to communicate a message to this large of a mass is a daunting task but efforts were continued throughout the event,” Brown wrote in his statement. “Communications is and will always be an issue in this type of a situation but please know that we will always try our best in communicating all available information to our customers and our staff.” He promised that there would be a complete review of the airport response following the incident, and that the airport’s communication strategies and emergency plan would be revised.

During the incident at the Orlando Airport, customers had to find information from the outside. The Orlando Police tweeted that there was no gun threat or shooting, and stranded passengers received updates from local news stations and by contacting friends or family outside of the situation. If the airline industry was better equipped with emergency alert technology, airplane crews and airport staff would be able to better manage the high-stakes emergency situations.

A mass notification system like Rave Alert would allow an airline to notify employees via text messages in the case of an emergency. The incident at the Orlando Airport shows how large crowds can present security challenges, but even during a period with normal travel traffic, effective communication is key. If there is a suspicious package or a battery explosion in the future, every employee can be instantly informed. Then, those evacuating planes or certain areas of the airport would be able to better instruct passengers and avoid putting anyone into danger.

There are a few other ways that an airline can leverage technology to improve internal security, and giving people the ability to report a suspicious package to the appropriate authorities can only help bolster public safety in airports. A text-to-tip service is another option for airlines looking to increase the options in their public safety plan. The customers would feel safer if allowed to take their security into own hands, and it could help preemptively address potential security risks. 

It’s important for customers to feel safe and secure in an airport, especially as for many, traveling can be a high stress endeavor. When dealing with periods of high foot traffic, airlines should take extra security precautions.  The unfortunate situation in the Orlando International Airport terminal during Jersey Week may not have been preventable, but a communication system could have increased response time and helped the spread of accurate information. Even when faced with the security challenges of a large crowd, having a line of communication open with staff can at least keep passengers notified. This way, customers don’t have to seek outside information in case of an emergency, and everyone can respond in a coordinated manner. 

What We're Talking About This Week - April 6th

April 6, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In The News This Week

This week in industry news, IoT Agenda published a piece on how the tech industry can help us become better prepared for the instantaneous challenges of a natural disaster - and help us recover quicker in their wake. 

Key Highlights:

  • Smart irrigation systems can help protect infrastructure during a wildfire. New exterior sprinkler systems can be triggered by rising temperatures or surpassing a preestablished heat and humidity threshold.
  • Through machine learning, technology can now predict the timing and severity of a natural disaster, including a detailed analysis of its potential social and economic effect - crucial for emergency management officials. 
  • Minor construction changes to your community's infrastructure might be the quick enhancement you need to protect against the tremors of an earthquake. 

Early warning systems are key to mitigating the impact of natural disasters. If these tech solutions are not currently available in your community, there are plenty of other innovate public safety strategies you can explore to better protect residents who may require additional assistance during an emergency. 

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

julian edelman7124-4de3-8168-62619633fa57-master768Patriots Receiver Julian Edelman Helps Stop Potential School Shooter

 

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is being praised for his quick actions in preventing what could have been then 18th school shooting in 2018. Edelman was visiting former teammate Danny Amendola in Texas late last month when he received a disturbing message on social media from one of his followers prompting him to reach out to law enforcement. A 14-year-old boy was later arrested in Port Huron, Michigan for creating false threats of terrorism.

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Texting 9-1-1 Proves Lifesaving in Family Violence Cases

Victims of family violence often fear they will put themselves at greater risk of harm by making a phone call and verbally communicating with 9-1-1. It has become clear that the majority of victims will opt to communicate silently with authorities via text message if the option is available. There have been dozens of cases where 9-1-1 texting has proved life-saving in domestic violence situations. The following stories form a small sample of these instances.

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Rave in the News

The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA has taken serious steps to improving the relationship between students and the administration. UMW recently started a forum series called "UMW: Can We Talk", where university officials sit on a panel and here complaints, concerns, and ideas from students. 

Previous forums have focused on the lack of diversity among university faculty and the type of content being discussed in class. The topic for the next "UMW: Can We Talk" forum, which is happening this afternoon, will be on student safety.There will be a 30 minutes presentation on campus security, active shooting situations, faculty obligations in a crisis, and services provided by campus police, including the Rave Guardian Safety App, a 24/7 service used by campus police. The Chief of University Police Michael Hall hopes this forum will open a dialogue where safety officers can hear directly from students about what needs to be improved for them to feel safe on campus. 

You can access the full story here.

How an Oil & Gas Company Enhanced Their Incident Management System Software

April 2, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

Companies in the oil and gas industry have to contend with multiple threats to health and safety, relying heavily on multi-faceted incident management response system software.

Advanced Incident ResponseThis is true for Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations, the company that currently manages the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In October 1973, during the Yom Kippur war, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo against the U.S. in retaliation for re-supplying the Israeli army. U.S. oil production had already begun to decline, and domestic producers were unable to make up the supply shortage. As a result, oil rationing was introduced and prices quadrupled in a short space of time.

To prevent a similar scenario happening again, Congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) in December 1975. The Act established the Strategic Petroleum Reserve which today is the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil. Located in four locations in Louisiana and Texas, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve maintains enough crude oil to supply the entire U.S. for ninety days.

Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations

In 2013, Fluor Federal Petroleum Operations (Fluor) was selected by the Department of Energy to manage the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Fluor's role includes operating and maintaining each of the storage sites, all the related equipment, and ensuring the structural integrity of sixty-three underground salt caverns across the four locations to maintain operational readiness.

The company has a long history of working with the U.S. Government. It constructed cooling towers and other facilities for the Manhattan Project, constructed pumps for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and, more recently, provided disaster recovery services after Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It is fair to say Fluor knows a thing or two about health and safety.

How Fluor Prepares for Emergency Incidents

Fluor has an outstanding record for preventing and managing emergency incidents. In 2015, the Bryan Mound site in Texas - the world's largest man-made oil storage container - celebrated one thousand days without a lost-time incident, and all four sites managed by the company have achieved “Star Status” in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program.

However, knowing an emergency incident could occur any minute, Fluor uses the incident management system software WebEOC - a system designed by leading technology company Intermedix for information, resource and task management. WebEOC provides Fluor with analysis, modeling and simulation from a range of “what if” scenarios to guide the company's emergency incident planning and ensure that, should an incident occur, the right resources are in the right place at the right time.

How Fluor Took its Incident Management System to the Next Level

Despite being well prepared for emergency incidents, one area was lacking in Fluor's emergency preparedness, an integrated emergency notification system. Fluor had implemented an emergency notification system, but because it did not fully integrate with WebEOC, the procedure for sending emergency alerts was time-consuming, requiring multiple steps to sign in and send alerts and manual data entry. 

As every second is valuable in an emergency, Fluor replaced its existing emergency notification system with Rave Alert - a system that integrates seamlessly with WebEOC to reduce the complexity of sending an emergency alert. Rave Alert not only saves valuable seconds - thus potentially saving lives - but also gives Fluor the ability to capture event data and notification data on the same application.

Why Rave Alert is More Efficient than Any Other System

Rave Alert's compatibility with WebEOC stems from a partnership announced in 2016 between Intermedix and Rave Mobile Safety. Originally intended to increase incident management and communications efforts across higher education institutions, it was a natural progression for the partnership to work together in other incident management scenarios.

Rave Alert uses multiple communication modes to quickly deliver critical information from any Internet connected device. In addition to saving valuable seconds in an emergency, Rave Alert also supports two-way communication to enable communication between incident managers, emergency services and individuals on the ground. This facility enhances situational awareness in order to better manage emergency incidents, quickly bring them under control and potentially save even more lives.

You can find out more about how Rave Alert helped Fluor take its Incident Management System to the next level by joining us at our next webinar.

Sign Up for the Fluor Webinar

What We're Talking About This Week - March 30th

March 30, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In The News This Week

This week in industry news, ZDNet reported on a recent cyber attack that disrupted public safety operations in Baltimore, MD. Unknown hackers caused a shutdown of Baltimore's automated dispatch system and slowed down the response time of first responders for a grueling 17 hours.   

Key Highlights:

  • The cyberattack was launched Saturday morning at 8:30 am, impacting the messaging functions within the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system used by both Baltimore's 911 and 311 services
  • CAD is used to automatically divert calls to the closest emergency responders in order to make assistance in emergencies as efficient and quick as possible - this breach forced responders to transition to a manual mode of operation 
  • This breach delayed the dispatch of first responders to emergency in Baltimore until the CAD system was restored 

 (You can access the full story here.)

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

How California's Disaster Communication Plan Failed Residents During Deadly Wildfires

fire

The state’s independent review found that Sonoma County emergency staff failed to prepare for the deadly October wildfires and had an outdated understanding of technology, unorganized emergency alerting protocol, and undertrained staff. The report also warns that the weaknesses found in Sonoma County's disaster communication plan are not unique. Find out where Sonoma County officials went wrong and make sure your community avoids similar destruction in the event of natural disaster.

READ MORE

 

Rave in the News

Quinnipiac University's public safety department is making sure everyone on campus is prepared for the worst.  In 2016, campus safety leaders made it mandatory for all faculty and staff to attend active shooter training. Now, all incoming students will be required to attend similar training sessions to ensure they are aware of their safety options during an active assailant emergency. 

The university's emergency management team is also looking to expand on campus safety initiatives through the Rave Guardian platform. Chief of Public Safety, Edgar Rodriguez, said the culture of safety on campus needs to change. He continued, 

"Sometimes we try to tiptoe around what's going on. This is real life, this has to be mandatory because when something happens we need to be prepared so we can prepare as a university."

(You can access the full story here.)

What We're Talking About This Week - March 23rd

March 23, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In The News This Week

This week in industry news, GCN published a piece on how artificial intelligence can act as a valuable tool in addressing the citizen-service challenges that arise from a natural disaster. When citizens have a critical need, their rush to seek assistance can overwhelm even the most prepared government contact centers. AI might be the answer public safety officials have been searching for.

Key Highlights:

  • Intelligent virtual assistants take the best of speech recognition technologies from traditional interactive voice response systems and incorporate human assistance so that citizens can resolve many of their own requests faster without increasing staffing
  • AI-enabled assistants can actually learn from experience and have a 95% success rate in recognizing natural speech, reducing citizen frustration by preventing misunderstanding, repetition, and misdirection
  • AI technology is hosted in a secure cloud environment, eliminating the need for new facilities or expanded technology infrastructure - agencies can choose when and where they use intelligent virtual assistants

Not sure if your community is ready to commit to intelligent virtual assistants? There are plenty of other innovate public safety strategies you can explore to better protect your citizenry that might be an easier first step - including solutions aimed at residents who may require additional assistance during an emergency.

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

Geo-poll Use Cases for Employee Communication

geopoll-2

Employers are now searching for solutions that give them the biggest bang for their buck and can provide both emergency and non-emergency communication. Learn how you can use geo-poll to help you cover everything from unscheduled employee absences to employee wellness checks during natural disasters - all without a mobile app.

READ MORE

Why You Should Review Your School Cellphone Policy to Protect Students 

BEST-BLOGS--768x384In an era where schools are susceptible to mass shootings and other disaster situations, it’s important to consider the use of cellphones as potential safety tools. We break down the argument surrounding the use of cellphones by students while in school and why you might want to consider revisiting your school's crisis management plan to include them.

READ MORE

Rave in the News

Nassau County, NY has taken dramatic steps to improving police response times during an active shooter event.

Each of Nassau County's 56 school district will be provided a law enforcement liaison who will be tasked with learning the layout of every school in their district, including all points of entry, coordinating active shooter plans with school leadership, and serving as the designated representative if school officials have concerns about a particular student.

The program is being rolled out in Nassau's 450 public school buildings and will eventually expand to all private schools and colleges. Nassau police have already trained 75 school principals on how to respond to an active shooter, and an additional 75 will be trained by the end of the month. The county is also making progress to improve school security by implementing the Rave Panic Button system in all schools to ensure a rapid response during a school emergency.

You can access the full story here.

Geo-poll Use Cases for Employee Communication

March 20, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

Maintaining employee communication throughout a workplace emergency or even a last-minute change in operational needs is crucial. Many business leaders might employ several business continuity management methods to achieve this. Unfortunately, implementing multiple employee communication platforms is expensive - and employers might still not receive the data they need.

Employers are now searching for solutions that provide them the biggest bang for their buck and can provide both emergency and non-emergency communication. Business leaders want to be sure their communication platform will reach all of their employees during an emergency, even those who are traveling or working remotely. Are they safe? Do they need additional resources and assistance? While it’s important for business leaders to prepare for the worst, solutions that also support routine communication with employees day to day will provide a better investment by preventing minor business disruptions from affecting daily operations.

A new business continuity tool, geo-pool, is a unique poll-based alerting feature within a mass notification system that allows you to solicit information and location data from a select group of recipients through SMS text, voice, and email. This feature can be used to solicit important information on employee wellness during an emergency or to support business managers as they attempt to cover a missed work shift.

Everyday Employee Communication to Ensure Business Continuity

According to one CCH study, the rise in absenteeism in employees is of greatest concern to employers - almost two out of three employees who fail to show up for work aren’t physically ill. Personal illness only accounts for about 35% of unscheduled absences, while 65% of absences are due to other reasons such family issues or personal needs.

With unscheduled absences trending upwards, employers need to optimize shift management to continue daily business operations.

Geo-poll provides a solution to staffing shortages by allowing employers to solicit volunteers for understaffed or vacant work shifts. Managers can send quota polls to all team members or volunteers that automatically conclude after a certain number of required responses are reached.

For example, a warehouse manager receives a message from an employee who states they are unable to come into work for their shift later that evening. Unfortunately, the manager knows they need all hands on deck for a large shipment scheduled to go out early tomorrow morning. The manager decides to send the following message out to all team members:

   “Are you available to work the third shift tonight (3/21/2017) from 11pm-7am?”

Knowing that additional assistance is needed for tonight’s shift, the team manager sets the quota poll to remain open until two team members have responded ‘Yes’. Once two team members have accepted the open shift, the poll will close and no other team members will be able to claim the open shift. In this example, the shift manager was able to quickly fill the open shift and simultaneously add an additional employee to help work the important shipment going out the next day. Furthermore, setting the poll to close after the response quota was fulfilled eliminated any confusion among team members who may have opened the poll after the shifts were filled.

Real-Time Location Data without an App Transforms Emergency Employee Check-ins

While it’s important for business leaders to maintain business operations during an emergency, their main focus should be accounting for the safety of all their employees - including those who are traveling or working remote.

Employers need to determine where employees are located, if their employees are safe, and who requires additional resources and assistance. Geo-poll can be used to send a wellness check to employees following an emergency such as a natural disaster or active assailant incident.

For example, an employer wants to do a wellness check to all employees, even those who are traveling or working from home, following a recent tropical storm. The employer decides to send the following message out to all employees in the company database:

“Regarding recent weather events, are you safe?”

The employer then prompts each employee to choose one of three required answer fields: ‘No’, ‘Yes’, or ‘I don’t know’. Having pre-determined answer fields allows for easier data aggregation compared to free-form answer fields. The employer can also request or require location data with each poll response to view the recipient locations on a map.

If an employee responded either ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’ to the geo-poll, a follow-up question can be sent asking if additional assistance is required. From these reports, employers can determine the location of specific employees affected by a natural disaster and respond accordingly.

Another use case for employee check-ins involves traveling or lone workers. Several years back, a large earthquake hit China and global manufacturing firms struggled to identify not only what facilities may have been impacted but also what traveling employees may have been in the area and in need of assistance. Similarly, in the wake of the Paris nightclub attack and subsequent lockdown of the city, enterprises struggled to locate key resources.

Employees do not need to rely on apps or static location data for real-time location of their staff - an important feature when accounting for employees during an emergency. Geo-polling allows customers to use a mass notification system to solicit information for easy analysis and action which can prove useful for timely, non-emergency employee communication.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GEO-POLL

7 Denver Facts And Figures To Check Out Before The 2018 Rave User Summit

March 16, 2018 Blog Author: Mary Kate McGrath

The 2018 Rave User Summit event offers the chance to see and explore one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Here is a list of interesting facts and figures about Denver, Colorado.

The Rave User Summit will take place in Denver, Colorado, on April 16-18th. The event is an opportunity for customers from all over the country to come together and connect with other people in their field, sit in on kick-off presentations from nationally recognized leaders as they kick off each day, provide input for our products in early development, and ask questions about Rave’s solutions and products with a guru in the Guru Lounge. Registration for the event is open, and you can sign up today.

The 2018 Summit is a chance for customers to educate their peers on best-practices while help Rave optimize solutions and products. Of course, it’s also a chance to explore the city of Denver, which is a historic and scenic city. Many travelers are familiar with the sites and attractions that Denver has to offer, including museums, a variety of restaurants, nightlife, and awe-inspiring nature. It’s well-known that the city is a popular destination for hiking, mountain-climbing, and skiing, and any adventurous Rave customer will be able to explore the surrounding nature.

Denver is best known for its mountain views – it is, after all, nicknamed the “Mile High City”. It stands at one-mile above sea level, making it the highest city in the United States.  There is just one of many interesting facts and figures about the Colorado capital.

Here are 7 more interesting facts and figures about Denver, Colorado to check out before you register for the 2018 Rave User Summit.

1.The city population in Denver is 554,635, making it the most populous city in Colorado. It’s a major hub for communications, transportation, energy, aerospace, and tourism. Colorado, the Centennial State, became the nation’s 38th state in 1876. Denver was founded in 1858 and was named after the governor James Denver.

 

2.  Led Zeppelin played their first show in the United States in Denver. The legendary group took the stage on October 20th, 1968 at the Denver Auditorium Arena. The concert was part of a short string of shows, and the not-yet-famous band was an opening act for Vanilla Fudge.

The Denver Auditorium Arena is still standing today and remains a popular spot for concerts and other performances. It’s just one of many venues around the city were locals and guests can find live music, including the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Summit Music Hall, and Hi-Dive.

 

3. In 1935, Louis Ballast trademarked the cheeseburger at the Humpty Dumpty Barrel, a drive-in restaurant in Denver. The fast-food stop has since closed, but there is a stone marker in the downtown location where it once stood.

There are plenty of places for visitors to get a cheeseburger today. According to the Denver Ear, the best burgers in the city can be found at the 5280 Burger Bar, Crave Real Burgers, or Cherry Cricket.

 

 

4. Denver is one of the sunniest cities in the United States. It’s a popular saying that the city sees 300 out of 365 days per year reporting sunshine, and while this isn’t scientifically true, the weather is something to brag about. The Rocky Mountain region tends to see plenty of clear days, and there is a statistically high chance that any time you are in the city it will be a sunny, or at least partly cloudy, day.

 

5. Denver is one of the few cities that isn't built on a river, lake, ocean or major body of water. The reason for this is that the city was established during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, later known as the Colorado Gold Rush. Denver and Boulder City were built to service the mines during this time.

 

Red Rocks. Morrison, Colorado. 📷: @tri2hover

A post shared by Denver Colorado (@cityofdenver) on

 

6. Denver's downtown area is one of the most walkable in the country. Tourists can plan to see the city's sports stadiums, performing art center, museums, aquarium, and restaurants - all within walking distance of each other. Many of the city's top restaurants and shopping experiences can be found on one has a recognizable city street that is lit with strings of lights year round.

 

7. Denver is one of the only cities in the United States to have 7 professional sports teams. This is because sports are a huge part of city life, boasting plenty of facilities for a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball, football, mountain climbing, and rodeo. The professional teams include the baseball team the Colorado Rockies, NFL team the Denver Broncos, hockey team Colorado Avalanche, and the NBA's Denver Nuggets.

 

Tomorrow's the big day, go Broncos! #SuperBowl 📷: @rjamartinez

A post shared by Denver Colorado (@cityofdenver) on

 

Denver, Colorado is a city with a unique history, and it's definitely a place to visit for any traveler who enjoys the great outdoors, sports, or a variety of dining and live-performances. There are plenty of professional reasons to attend the 2018 Rave User Summit, and it's an opportunity to network and make sure that you're optimizing Rave's platform of solutions. However, the Summit is also an opportunity for you to explore the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado, where the event will be hosted.

Sign up for the 2018 Rave User Summit today!

National Poison Prevention Week And Workplace Prevention Practices

March 14, 2018 Blog Author: Mary Kate McGrath

 

The first National Poison Prevention Week was observed in March 1962 and the event now takes place annually, during the third week of March. Supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the aim of National Poison Prevention Week is to educate Americans of all ages about poisoning risks.

In his proclamation that the 2018 National Poison Prevention Week is to be held from March 19th to March 25th, President Trump noted that since the event's first observance in 1962 childhood fatalities due to accidental poisoning have reduced from two hundred per year to just twenty-seven per year. He described the reduction as a “resounding achievement” but noted it was important to continue the successful policies that have reduced accidental childhood poisoning and injuries.

Despite the resounding achievement in reducing childhood fatalities, the rate of fatalities due to accidental poisoning in all age groups (deaths per 100,000, per population statistics) has more than tripled in the past fifty-fifty years. Although much of the increase is attributed to fatal drug overdoses by users of both legal and illegal drugs, accidental poisoning is now the most common cause of accidental death in America - ahead of motor vehicle accidents, firearm injuries, and falls.

What Is National Poison Prevention Week?

To try and reduce the number of poison-related accidental deaths, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) helps organizations plan and implement activities to raise awareness of poison prevention. Mostly these are community activities targeted at families, and hosted by schools, libraries, and church groups - one of the most popular each year being the Jungle Poison Safari at Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX which attracts up to five thousand participants each year.

Each weekday within National Poison Prevention Week is themed to focus on one particular area of poison prevention.

  • Monday's theme is “Children Act Fast …. So Do Poisons”.
  • On Tuesday, the focus changes to the work done by Regional Poison Centers.
  • On Wednesday, the consequences of poisoning are highlighted in “Poisonings Span a Lifetime”.
  • Thursday is dedicated to “Home Safe Home”.
  • Friday's activities are related to “Medicine Safety”.

“Medicine Safety” day is not just relevant to families with young children; it is relevant to people of all ages. 91% of accidental poisoning deaths are a result of a drug overdose, with overdoses of prescribed opioid pain medications accounting for more than fifteen thousand deaths per year - more than the number of deaths attributable to heroin, cocaine or benzodiazepines. For every death caused by an overdose of pain medications, there are ten non-fatal hospital admissions.

Is Accidental Workplace Poisoning Being Overlooked?

Despite the many areas of accidental poisoning covered by the HRSA during National Poisoning Prevention Week, accidental workplace poisoning appears to be largely overlooked. Although the number of “instant” workplace fatalities attributed to poisoning is relatively small when compared to unintentional drug overdoses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than fifty thousand employees die each year from long-term occupational hazards such as chemical exposure.

There are four different categories of occupational hazards classified as poisons - agricultural and industrial chemicals, drugs and healthcare products, radiation, and biological poisons. Few industries escape exposing employees to any of these hazards and are therefore subject to the regulations for workplace health and safety required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, not all hazardous events or hazardous environments can be protected against:

On January 4, 2010, a worker employed in a second floor administrative office of the California State Prison in Solano was overcome by spray paint vapors emanating from a paint booth located a floor below. The contractors working in the paint booth had been provided with Personal Protective Equipment, but - due to an unforeseen lack of ventilation - the administrative worker suffered from chemical overexposure and required hospitalization.

Environmental Threats to Employees in the Workplace

OSHA inspectors conduct more than five thousand tests each year for chemical exposure in the workplace. Although Personal Protective Equipment is frequently provided for employees in the immediate vicinity of a hazard, more are unprotected against environmental hazards. These hazards can also spread into neighboring areas to affect the health of local residents, without being the scale of an environmental disaster. Commonly found workplace environmental hazards include:

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
  • Exposure to Mercury Poisoning.
  • Fumes from Iron Oxide or Zinc Oxide.
  • Manganese Fumes.
  • Exposure to Ammonia.
  • Dust from Silica and Crystalline Quartz.

Due to much stricter regulations relating to asbestos, this particular hazard does not appear to be the threat it once was. However (and somewhat ironically), due to modern, sanitized living conditions, more employees are suffering from allergies than they were a decade ago. As a consequence, employees are more likely to experience potentially life-threating anaphylactic shock due to an allergic reaction. Whether or not a fatality due to anaphylactic shock is considered accidental workplace poisoning will likely depend on the trigger for the allergic reaction.

How Employers Can Mitigate the Consequences of Accidental Workplace Poisoning

In many workplace environments, it is impossible for employers to provide every possible protection against accidental workplace poisoning. However, there are various measures employers can take to prevent injuries and fatalities - the first of which is complying with OSHA health and safety regulations, and the second of which is requesting an OSHA inspection to check for chemical exposure if there is any doubt about air quality in the workplace.

In order to mitigate the consequences of accidental workplace poisoning, employers can arrange activities to coincide with National Poison Prevention Week. Some of the activities related to identifying the symptoms of poisoning and these will help employees recognize the symptoms in work colleagues - enabling emergency help to be summoned quickly when required. Local residents could also be invited to participate in the activities in order to develop a healthier relationship with the community.

Another way to develop a healthier relationship with the community would be to implement a mass notification system - not only, as some businesses do, to warn employees of the risk of danger, but also to warn local residents or local safety officials to a potential environmental hazard. This early warning system could help minimize the impact of a chemical leak or the airborne release of a hazardous substance.

One further measure employers could implement to mitigate the consequences of accidental workplace poisoning is a corporate Smart911 profile. Corporate Smart911 profiles can be populated quickly and easily from existing employee databases, and include information such as floor plans and points of access to accelerate the delivery of emergency care. Corporate Smart911 profiles also allow employees to add information that may be vital in the event of an emergency - such as allergies, or prior respiratory issues. By knowing about such issues in advance, first responders are able to administer the most effective treatment to an employee suffering from anaphylactic shock - potentially saving their life.

Want to learn more about how to protect your workforce?

Find out how to keep calm and work on when an emergency takes place.

What We’re Talking About This Week – March 9th

March 9, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In The News This Week

This week in industry news, nonprofit research group Project Tomorrow and ed-tech company Blackboard Inc.released a report on how schools are meeting new expectations for school-to-home communications. The key takeaway? Parent’s want schools to communicate with them via email and that is why school’s more recent focus on using social media platforms to get their messages out is missing the mark.

Report Highlights:

  • Parent’s overwhelmingly prefer email communications for both district- and teacher-level communications
  • 16% of parents say Facebook is an effective way to communicate school and district information, compared with 78% of district communications officers
  • Nearly half of parents want school and district information texted directly to them, while just 19% want to go to a website to find the information

According to Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, “The data shows that parents value having information pushed to them rather than having to search and find it on their own. What is surprising is the disconnect we see between what parents and administrators say are the best communication tools.”

 

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

 

Why We Should Consider This Emergency Management Process for Ending School Violence

school violenceRave Mobile Safety CEO Todd Piett speaks out after the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Todd offers industry insight on how public safety leaders can leverage a holistic, multi-pronged approach known as the emergency management life cycle to better protect our citizenry.

                                READ MORE

 

Data and Trends Shaping 2019 Critical Communications in the Workplace

workplace violence

Industry leaders Don Aviv and Juliette Kayyem join Rave Mobile Safety CEO Todd Piett on a webinar to discuss key findings from a recent workplace safety and preparedness survey. Are you struggling to communicate with your millennial employees? Are you fulfilling employees’ demand for mobile communication? Here's how to bridge the gap.

                                                                                          READ MORE

 

Rave in the News

Moving into the role of CEO can be challenging – you are charged to lead, innovate, and listen throughout all levels of your organization. Rave Mobile Safety CEO Todd Piett shared his perspective in a recent article by FierceCEO titled “New CEOs need fortitude, curiosity and savvy to succeed“. To new CEOs, Todd had this advice to give:

“The first, and best piece of advice I can pass on to a new CEO is the one most people already know but can easily lose sight of in the onslaught of day-to-day tasks: It’s all about your people. The only way you can scale yourself and your organization is by encouraging an atmosphere of respect and trust, where across all levels of the organization people are empowered to make decisions, be comfortable making mistakes and willing to challenge the status quo.”

On being consistent – “A great mentor told me not to try and be someone you aren’t. While we all have areas to improve upon, don’t put on an artificial mantel just because you took on a new title. It’s not sustainable and others will see the inconsistencies in your behavior, frustrating themselves as they try to guess your intent.”

You can access the full story here.

Geo-poll: A business continuity management tool with real-time location data

March 8, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

During times of crisis, business leaders will use several business continuity management methods to ensure the safety of their employees and minimize interruptions to daily operations. In some cases, it could be as simple as sending out an email about closing an office or as complex as needing to notify everyone near a terrorist attack or natural disaster. In those more extreme incidents, sending a one-way notification to a standard list is not enough. Business continuity professionals need to initiate two-way conversations based on traveling, remote, or mobile employees’ real-time location not a fixed or static one.

When an incident that threatens employee safety strikes, response teams need to quickly determine who is in the area and if they need help. Today, an administrator would need to send multiple alerts to employees to get their current status and location and sort through varied responses. Even so, the administrator only gets half the information he needs due to human error, delayed responses, and lack of mobile app adoption. This manual process will take some time to complete, which is not conducive to a business that’s already lost productive working hours. Fortunately, there is a new business continuity tool, geo-poll, that helps businesses collect the information they need from employees faster and more efficiently saving time and resources.

What is a geo-poll?

A geo-poll is a unique poll-based alerting feature within a mass notification system that allows you to solicit information and location data from a select group of recipients through SMS text, voice, and email.

Geo-polling

Benefits of using a Geo-Poll for Business Continuity Management During a Crisis

Real-Time Location Data Without an App – Employees can answer a poll question via email or SMS text and can automatically share their real-time location.

More Accurate Employee Status Updates – Geo-polls solicit simple text-based responses, which are organized into simple and clear reports to allow business leaders to make informed decisions based on consistent data

Critical Shift Management – If an incident requires additional staff to respond on the ground or into headquarters, a geo-poll can show who is available to work and the poll will automatically close once enough staff have responded

Smarter Communication for Next Steps – Once a geo-poll is sent out and answers are received, automatic follow up alerts can be sent based on respondents’ responses outlining next steps to take

Not Limited to a Mobile App – Geo-polling allows business leaders to perform wellness checks through SMS text, voice, and email to all employees, not just those who have downloaded a mobile app

Accountability of Lone Workers – Understanding the status and communicating with your mobile workforce provides an added layer of protection for workers that might not know immediately about a crisis

Keep a Pulse on Employee Wellness at All Times

It is every employer’s responsibility to watch over their employees, regardless of whether they work in the office or remotely. Organizations do not need to rely on apps or static location data for real-time location of their staff or community members. Geo-polling allows customers to use mass notification systems to solicit information for easy analysis and action, all without respondents needing to open or access a mobile application.

Geo-polling enables employers to create custom question and answer polls, without being limited to confusing number-based responses or varying open-text answers. When you ask, “Are you ok”, employees can provide a simple “yes” or “no”. This tool helps to humanize business continuity and extends employers’ capabilities to keep their employees safe at all times.

Geo-polling best practice guide

Data and Trends Shaping 2019 Critical Communications in the Workplace

March 6, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

"There is a concept called 'alarm fatigue' that is impacting the world - we have to find simplistic notifications that we can pay attention to, understand, and know how to respond to."

- Don Aviv, President, Interfor International

 


Todd Piett, CEO at Rave Mobile Safety, presented a webinar on data and trends sure to shape 2019 critical communications in the workplace. Todd was joined by Don Aviv, President of Interfor International, and Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar, to discuss key findings from a recent workplace safety and preparedness survey. Here’s a quick overview of those findings and how corporate leaders can implement a more effective communication strategy for their organizations moving into 2019.

To start, Todd lays out four key findings from a recent workplace safety and preparedness survey: 

 

critical communication

 

Survey Finding #1: Workplace Emergency Planning Efforts Focus Too Much on Fire Drills

Industry data tells us that fatal work injuries involving violence have increased by 23% from 2015-2016, but fatal injuries by fire decreased by 28% over the same period. So why did 57% of survey respondents report that non-fire emergency plans have rarely or never been tested?

Don argues that an overreliance on fire drills is dangerous as workplaces might not be prepared for more harmful - and unfortunately much more likely - workplace emergencies. In order to properly prepare for potentially fatal workplace emergencies, Don says you must start with an assessment of your facility. What are your potential risks? Are those risks internal or external? Be realistic in the probability of a potential risk becoming a reality - use industry data rather than news media to help you with this.

Don's tips for 2019? Focus on awareness and training. There is no one size fits all solution, but frequent communication with your employees can help significantly decrease the potential impact of these emergencies. Be proactive in this communication - show employees you are thinking about their safety and working to improve emergency protocols.

Watch clip 1 of 4 to understand your duty of care to lone and remote workers

 

Survey Finding #2: Millennials Show a Generational Gap in Emergency Preparedness

Survey results show that millennials are less likely to report an incident involving an unsafe situation at work compared to their older counterparts, but are more likely to do so if able to report anonymously. Juliette says this illustrates a broader theme among millennial culture on how they perceive the nature of work and their overall commitment to their workplace.

Juliette goes on to explain that while millennials' receptivity to communication is much higher than older generations, their reaction to communication methods is very different. She attributes this to a few issues: the nature of work is changing, with millennials no longer tied to working from one location or even working for the same location for a long time. She also mentioned the inability to meet attention spans as a possible issue. As such, standard emergency communication protocols are becoming antiquated, which explains why the survey results show that 38% of millennial survey respondents were unaware of emergency plans in their workplace, compared to 28% of respondents 35 years and older. In order to engage millennial employees with emergency communication, Juliette argues that you need to make the material personal and engaging.

Juliette's tips for 2019? Provide constant and consistent communication with a reliable narrator. Employees are looking for someone who they can trust to move quickly and lead confidently under duress. This person might not work in safety and security or be a part of the C-suite, but it's your job to locate them, educate them, and use them as a communication channel to engage the rest of your employees.

 

Watch clip 2 of 4 to learn why millennial culture should be shaping your approach to emergency preparedness

 

Survey Finding #3: Mobile Communication is an Unfulfilled Demand for Critical Communications 

Survey results show that employees are seeking more mobile communication from their employers. Many employees prefer communication methods not currently fully used by their employers, such as text message or internal intercom/building alarm, and are instead receiving communications on channels they do not prefer, such as email. Employers are also facing a growing lone worker population as more than half of all workers are predicted to work remotely by 2020.

Don's tips for 2019? Don argues that one of the most critical aspects of a corporate security response is to be able to locate employees and determine if they are able to communicate. Seek out communication platforms that are multi-faceted and can send out emergency notifications across numerous channels. When you don't have a platform that allows your employee base to actively check-in with you during an emergency, you will inevitably push them to unreliable third-party social platforms.

 

Watch clip 3 of 4 to see how lone workers prefer to receive emergency communication

 

Survey Finding #4: Three Industries Show Room for Improving Future Workplace Critical Communications

What Juliette finds the most worrisome from this finding is our tendency to focus on the differences between workplace emergencies rather than their commonalities. There are variations between emergencies, but these variations all surround the same common themes: do you have communication? What is your exit plan? Juliette argues that once you understand how to identify these commonalities, creating emergency action plans and educating employees becomes much more simplistic.

Juliette and Don's tips for 2019? Come up with a few effective responses that address a number of different threats and train around them. It's important to avoid 'alarm fatigue' and to identify simplistic notifications that employees can pay attention to, understand, and know who to respond to during an emergency.

 

Watch clip 4 of 4 to learn how an employee's demographic can influence their perception of  safety in the workplace

 

Want to learn more?

The full recording of the webinar is 50 minutes long and goes deeper into the workplace safety and preparedness survey results. It also includes additional tips for improving workplace security in 2019. Also included is a short Q&A session with Don and Juliette where they give advice for critical communication newcomers and those looking to buy big on a small budget.

What We're Talking About This Week - March 2nd

March 2, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

Rave News This Week

In The News This Week

This week in industry news, FierceHealthcare shared a new report published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security revealing that healthcare organizations are able to respond well to localized, small-scale events but struggle to respond to large-scale disasters, such as bombings or severe weather incidents.

Key Highlights:

  • Large-scale weather events like Hurricane Harvey have highlighted areas for improvement among organizations providing shelter, security, and effective communication. The report recommends that these organizations connect before a disaster strikes to ensure a comprehensive safety plan is in place.
  • Researchers recommend identifying geographically dispersed healthcare institutions as "Disaster Response Hospitals" who are dedicated to serving as a resource for public health officials and other institutions as they engage in disaster preparation.

Are you thinking of becoming a leader in healthcare safety and emergency preparedness but are not sure where to begin? Learn how Stony Brook Medicine leveraged their communication platform to save lives during Super Storm Sandy. Then use this healthcare communication checklist to ensure your facility is following new CMS rules and is able to respond quickly and effectively during an emergency.

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

The 5 Biggest Internal Communication Headaches for Businesses

internal communication headachesExperts fail to analyze expense when discussing internal communication headaches. The communication platform you choose should be a multi-channel solution and allow for employees to opt-in and opt-out of different groups without breaking the bank.

READ MORE

Why Lone Worker Security Apps Should Be Available to All Employees

lone worker security appsAre you struggling to justify purchasing a communication platform that communicates solely with your lone workers? Lone worker security apps are significantly cheaper and more effective than lone worker security devices and can protect all employees, even those who work in-office.

READ MORE

Rave in the News

A University of Cincinnati Public Safety emergency communications dispatcher was recently recognized with a SmartSave Award after using the university's Bearcat Guardian app to keep a student safe.

The University of Cincinnati's Erica Deese was nominated, in part, for her assistance with a student that had submitted an anonymous tip regarding a friend who was threatening suicide. Deese was the first to receive the anonymous tip and immediately responded through the app's two-way messaging feature.

Upon receiving her award, Deese said "It is nice to receive acknowledgment for the dedicated work that all of us dispatchers do day in and day out. However, we are rewarded on a daily basis just by knowing we are ready, willing and able to help those who call out to us in need."

Eager to improve campus security but not sure where to begin? Learn how the University of Cincinnati became a leader in student safety.

The 5 Biggest Internal Communication Headaches for Businesses

February 28, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

internal communication

Many experts refer to the “Four E´s” of communication (effectiveness, engagement, empowerment, and empathy) when discussing the biggest internal communication headaches for business. We analyze a fifth “E” - expense - and provide a solution to all five headaches.

The desire to communicate with employees in a way that is effective, engaging, empowering, and understands their feelings is a noble one. But is it possible?

Maybe in a smaller business, in which an employer has the time (and the inclination) to talk face-to-face to his or her employees, it could be possible. But in a business with hundreds or thousands of employees, face-to-face communication with every employee is impractical.

One of the most popular solutions is to implement “digital enterprise media channels” with analytical tools so employers can set key performance indicators, evaluate content, and assess the internal communication performance.

This solution may resolve the headaches created by the “Four E´s”, but it will likely create a migraine of expense once the cost of implementing such the solution - and the time taken to manage it - is accounted for. There has to be a better solution.

The Objectives of Internal Communication

In order to resolve all 5 biggest internal communication headaches for businesses, it is necessary to take a step back and look at the objectives of internal communication. Regardless of what studies you read, they tend to be financially motivated. For example:

  • Employee engagement results in enhanced performance and productivity.
  • Empowered employees are easier to retain, reducing recruitment costs.
  • Employees with shared values collaborate better towards a shared goal.
  • Involvement in the decision-making process will lead to greater enthusiasm.

To achieve the objectives, businesses must develop an internal communication strategy. This strategy should take into account how, when, and to whom messages are communicated. This strategy should also include communication protocol for messages of varying importance.

It is crucial to distinguish the four roles of internal communication (to tell, to sell, to consult and to involve) and to assign methods for their delivery. For example, in a recent workplace safety survey, employees preferred to receive emergency alerts via mass text message while working off-site.

It is also important to have a message tracking system in place to ensure the right messages are read by the right people at the right time. To ensure engagement, whatever solution is implemented should also support two-way communication.

The Multi-Channel Solution to Internal Communication Headaches

Developing a strategy from scratch that encompasses employees of different generations, different technical abilities, and different motives can be difficult. However, a multi-channel solution that gives employees a level of discretion over how they receive internal communications is one potential solution.

This involves implementing a platform through which communications can be sent by SMS, email, IM, social media, etc. and gives employees a choice of how they receive non-emergency messages. This can be achieved via a web-based portal that employees log into and select their preferences.

In this way, you can choose to send emergency notifications to employees through a multi-channel broadcast or target specific groups of employees with single-channel communication.

The platform should also provide the opportunity for an employee database to be divided into different groups according to an employee’s location or role, and allows employees to opt-in to different groups according to their interests or involvement in a project.

With message tracking mechanisms available, senior management, HR, and marketing can monitor the receipt of communications and employee responses with the click of a mouse - without having to implement additional analytical tools and key performance indicators.

The Benefits of a Multi-Channel Solution with a Grouping Option

The key to resolving the 5 biggest internal communication headaches for business is the option to divide an employee database into groups and give employees the opportunity to opt-into (and out of) groups that encourage their interest and involvement. The benefits of this feature include:

  • Businesses can send emergency alerts to just employees affected by an emergency incident, thus minimizing disruption.
  • Senior managers can limit the distribution of business-critical messages to employees for whom they are relevant.
  • HR departments can send notifications about insurance enrollment deadlines and mandatory training.
  • Marketing departments can send details of department-specific social events to qualifying employees.
  • Employees can opt into special interest groups. These do not have to be work-related and can be created to form social bonds.

The opt-in and opt-out process can either be operated via the web-based portal or an SMS opt-in process. The system can also be integrated with workplace directories, so new employees are automatically added to the database, and employees are removed when they leave.

While it’s important to consider solutions that address the four E’s of internal communication, it’s crucial for the fifth “E” - expense - to guide you through the communication solution selection process. To find out how this type of internal communications system could benefit your business, speak with our team of technical experts.

Why Lone Worker Security Apps Should Be Available to All Employees

February 27, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

lone worker security

There has been significant growth in the number of businesses addressing the issue of lone worker security. For many, taking advantage of lone worker security apps has been one successful safety solution. However, there are many scenarios in which employees not classified as lone workers could face similar health and safety risks and could also benefit from lone worker security apps.

It has been estimated that 15 percent of the workforce in North America falls into the classification of a lone worker - an employee who conducts tasks without supervision or support from colleagues. In many cases, lone workers are exposed to health and safety risks that would not occur in a multi-occupancy environment. For example, there is likely no one available to assist them should an adverse event occur.

In recent years there has been a significant growth in the number of businesses addressing the issue of lone worker security due to state-imposed occupational safety laws, increasing employee insurance premiums, and greater awareness of the health and safety risks faced by lone workers. According to one study, the market for lone worker protection devices is growing by 19 percent year-on-year.

The fastest growing segment of this market is lone worker security apps. These have substantial advantages over portable and wearable devices because as an employee is more likely to remember their mobile phone than a GPS tracking device (and keep it charged), software updates are automatic, and the cost of a safety app is significantly lower than a lone worker protection device.

There is also an argument that lone worker security apps should be made available to all employees. There are many employees who are not classified as lone workers, but who frequently find themselves in situations where they are confronted by similar health and safety risks. This article examines the risks, how lone worker security apps can mitigate those risks, and how they could be used to create a safer and more productive workplace environment.

Lone Worker Security and Health Risks

Security officers, delivery agents, shop workers, environmental health officers, maintenance workers, salesmen/saleswomen and mobile workers (i.e. taxi drivers) are among the many professions in which lone workers can find themselves in confrontational situations with dissatisfied or unpredictable members of the public. These circumstances should be considered in an employer's risk assessment and measures put in place to enhance lone worker security.

Additional health and safety risks for lone workers exist when an unavoidable accident occurs and there is no one available to assist them. According to the latest available OSHA Workplace Fatality statistics, fatal work injuries from slips, trips and falls increased by 25 percent in 2016 in professions where the victims were typically lone workers (carpenters, tree trimmers, tractor-trailer truck drivers, etc.).

If some of these fatally-injured workers had an employer periodically checking on their wellbeing - even remotely - several of them might have survived. An employer unable to get a response from his or her lone worker could call emergency services or dispatched another employee to investigate the reason for the lack of a response. This process only requires a simple policy to be put in place and the technology to carry it out, yet it could save many lives.

How Other Employees Face Similar Risks

Employees classified as lone workers are not unique in experiencing violence initiated by a member of the public or unavoidable accidents when no one is available to assist them. Employees in many professions can encounter confrontational situations with dissatisfied or unpredictable members of the public. These professions include:

  • State and local government employees - including elected officials.
  • Teachers - who can be the victims of violence perpetrated by students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Realtors - who are at risk at each property they visit and also traveling between appointments.
  • Computer Engineers - who often work alone, late at night, and in frustrated clients' premises.
  • Restaurant and Bar Managers - who are often the last to leave and frequently carrying cash.

Employees in multi-occupancy environments also have the additional health and safety risks of colleague-on-colleague violence and workplace bullying. In fact, there are many examples of employees being in situations where they face a similar number - or more - health and safety risks than lone workers, and in which a lone worker safety app could either be used to summon assistance, report an adverse event, or be used by an employer to identify an unresponsive worker.

How Lone Worker Security Apps Work

Lone worker security apps are multifunctional apps that fulfill a number of roles. Usually connected to a system maintained by the business's security team, the apps can be used to call 911 directly or contact a key group of colleagues simultaneously with the press of an icon. In the case of a lone worker, this feature would connect him or her with the business's security team and colleagues working closest by.

The apps also have an automatic check-in safety timer. This function is set by the employee for a fixed period of time and, should the timer reach zero before the employee deactivates it, an alert is sent to the business's security team and a key group of colleagues. This overcomes the issue of employers having to periodically check-in on lone workers, remote workers, or any employee who may be working in a location where an accident may go unnoticed for a prolonged period of time.

While the check-in safety timer is activated, the employee's location is tracked by GPS. This can be of particular benefit for any employee who travels from site to site, as it means their wellbeing can be monitored by the lone worker security system before the timer reaches zero. The GPS tracking feature can also be used by emergency services to locate an unresponsive employee after an accident.

For employees subject to workplace bullying, the app can be used to send anonymous tips to security personnel, or this function can be used to report hazards that could cause an injury to another staff member. The lone worker security system can also be integrated with other personal safety systems (i.e. Smart911) to further enhance the protection provided to all employees.

The Benefits of Lone Worker Security for All Employees

Although the provision of “a safe and healthful workplace” should be a right enjoyed by all employees, there are many who are still are exposed to health and safety risks on a daily basis. Employers should - and in some states are required to - ensure all employees are given the protection they need to mitigate the risks, irrespective of whether they work in a brick-and-mortar environment or work alone.

The extension of lone worker security systems to all employees can result in a reduction of workplace bullying, fewer workers' compensation claims, and lower employer insurance premiums. Furthermore, the provision of a security system for all employees affirms the employer's commitment to safety, which in turn elevates staff morale, increases productivity and improves employee retention.

With regard to cost, once a lone worker security system is established, the cost of operating it is minimal. Costs will barely fluctuate whether there are two lone workers being protected by the system or two thousand office-based employees. Consequently, it makes perfect sense to make lone worker safety apps available to all employees - both financially and to best protect employees against health and safety risks in every workplace environment.

 

What We're Talking About This Week - February 23rd

February 23, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

 

Rave News This Week

 

In The News This Week

This week marked the one week anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and friends, and all those affected by such a senseless tragedy. In the wake of such tremendous loss, we are comforted by the sense of community, support, and resilience demonstrated nationwide.

This week in industry news, Campus Safety shared a report from IHS Markit about the rise in mass notification system software (MNS) solutions in the Americas. The MNS software market is expected to grow at a rate of 6.8% from 2017 to 2021, reaching $293.1 million in 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • In the Americas, natural disasters are occurring more frequently, so unimpeded mass communication during these events is critical
  • Hawaii's emergency missile warning blunder highlights the importance of user-friendly system interfaces to reduce human error
  • Western European countries are constrained by local laws and regulations surrounding the use of personal information and privacy, but their markets are still up for grabs. The MNS software emergency communication market in these countries is expected to grow 11.4% annually from 2017 to 2021.

 

This Week From the Rave Team

Read some of the stories our writers were most excited to share with you this week. To access all of our stories, check out our blog.

Are You in a High Rise Facility? You Might Not Be Safe Up There

shutterstock_734651542-e1508530392246In recent years, safety in high rise facilities has been enhanced by new technology - but that's only if your building has made the right investments. It might be time to check and see if your high rise facility is equipped to handle the next emergency.

READ MORE

Long Island Focuses on Storm Safety Ahead of Next Disaster

shutterstock_734475445Are you able to account for all residents with disabilities or mobility issues during an emergency? If your answer is no, you might need to rethink your community's emergency action plan. After Hurricane Sandy, Long Island, NY updated its evacuation procedures to better protect residents against future emergencies. Is your community at-risk? Long Island may have the solution.

READ MORE

Rave in the News

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is ranked 11th nationally among the National Council for Home Safety and Security's 2018 Safest College Campuses in the U.S. for institutions with more than 10,000 students.

SIUE is committed to safety and has invested in safety technology, such as the Rave Guardian app, to maintain a secure campus. Campus police officers are academy trained and engage in community policing programs. SIUE works closely with local and regional law enforcement agencies to ensure a safe environment on campus.

Eager to improve campus security but not sure where to begin? Learn how the University of Cincinnati became a leader in student safety.

Are You in a High Rise Facility? You Might Not Be Safe Up There

February 20, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

high rise facility

When life-threatening incidents occur in a high rise facility, effective emergency response and communication is of paramount importance to mitigate potential consequences. In order for emergency response and communication to be effective, preparedness is key.

In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City, multiple regulations were enacted to improve the safety of employees and residents in high rise facilities. In November 2002, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) made it a requirement for all businesses with more than ten employees to develop an Emergency Action Plan (§ 67 FR 67961); and, in 2006, significant changes were made to the International Building Code - the standard applied by most jurisdictions in the USA for new build properties.

Many state and local governments also enacted amendments to their building codes - so that many of the safety regulations for new build properties also applied to existing properties - and most reviewed evacuation plans for public high rise buildings. Various agencies assisted with the reviews, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) who subsequently produced the comprehensive “Guidelines to Developing Emergency Action Plans for All-Hazard Emergencies in High-Rise Office Buildings” (PDF).

Safety in a High Rise Facility is Enhanced by New Technology

Advancement in technology has also enhanced high rise facility safety. From GPS monitoring that gauges the integrity of building structures following an earthquake or bomb attack to programmable turnstiles that can account for who is still in a building after an evacuation order has been issued, new technology is not only making high rise buildings safer but also improving emergency response and communication.

One of the ways in which new technology has significantly enhanced emergency response and communication is with the development of “Building Intelligence Systems”. Building intelligence systems provide critical information to first responders as they approach a fire or other emergency in a high rise facility. With an appropriate level of foresight, first responders can plan better and prepare better - resulting in more positive outcomes. The nature of information available includes:

  • Floor plans and access points
  • Security codes for gates, doors, etc.
  • Alarm information and security codes
  • Location of AEDs and utility shut-off points
  • The availability of Occupant Evacuation Elevators
  • Access to video surveillance and security cameras
  • Key holder and security personnel contact information
  • Location of water sources and air replenishment systems

This information needs to be kept up-to-date, along with details of temporary obstructions, construction works, out-of-service elevators, etc. This should be the responsibility of whoever is in control of the building's emergency action plan, and the system should be tested periodically with the cooperation of local emergency services to make sure it is working efficiently. This will naturally involve some inconvenience to employees and/or residents, but a little disruption is better than a negative outcome.

The Integration of Technologies Can Result in Even Better Outcomes

A Building Intelligence System is a great tool for reducing response times and enhancing communications, but when integrated with other systems such as Rave Alert and Smart911, the combination of technologies can save even more time and potentially more lives - not only in large-scale, high rise emergencies such as earthquakes, bomb attacks and fires, but also in individual emergencies, such as if an employee or resident suffers a heart attack.

Not only will first responders have access to building information through property managers, such as points of access and floor plans, but they can also have access to important medical information of an employee or resident in distress, such as medical history and any drug allergies. All of this information will be compiled and made available to emergency response during a crisis, ensuring that all those within a high rise facility - even those located at the very top - have access to a timely response.

In order for the combination of technologies to be effective, the systems should be tested periodically. Having the tools to facilitate effective emergency response and communication is one thing. Having experience of using the tools - through periodic drills and testing - is another. In an emergency situation, a clear understanding of procedures and the mechanisms to execute them is vital.

Notification System Tools and Critical Communication

February 13, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

Workplace notification system tools might not be enough for everyday critical messages.

Delivering important messages to all employees in a workplace has many challenges, including making sure that your audience engages in communications immediately and takes any necessary next steps. Employees are already extremely distracted at work with the constant bombardment of emails, chat windows and in-person interruptions, complicating the successful receipt of important messages. In fact, according to professor Gloria Mark from the University of California, Irvine, “there’s typically only three minutes of consistent focus before an employee gets interrupted.” So how do you cut through the noise to deliver an urgent message such as an internet outage or something potentially dangerous, such as a workplace violence incident? It’s important to understand what the noise is in the first place.

Common Communication Roadblocks with Company-Wide Notifications

According to the Business News Daily, at least four roadblocks are inhibiting workplace leaders from effectively communicating with their employees:

1. Too many emails: The daily overflow of emails likely means that an important message will go unnoticed.

2. Timeliness of Messages: Getting important messages delivered and seen by employees before the gossip machine starts can prevent misconstrued information from circulating your organization.

3. Divided Communication Efforts: For larger companies, internal communication within departments could affect the willingness of these teams to collaborate on certain issues such as contributing to company-wide discussions.

4. Lone Employee Communication Neglect: Off-site workers lack the benefit of personal communication and important messages can fail to get delivered on time or could be missed entirely.

Each of these roadblocks affects how successful important messages are at reaching employees. For example, a routine email about an unexpected office closure might be buried in a field worker’s inbox, failing to warn them not to make their way into the office for an on-site meeting. An employee that’s away from their desk for a long period of time won’t be able to pick up the phone and continue a call-tree chain for an emergency such as police activity. Having the right notification tools makes a difference in effectively delivering messages in the workplace.

The Different Types of Notification System Tools

Businesses today use several channels to communicate company-wide messages to their employees. Here’s a breakdown of how successful six of the most common types of corporate notification tools are at delivering messages to employees.

Notification system tool comparison

Phone/Call Trees

Delivering a company-wide message through a call tree system is simple and cost-effective. However, the successful delivery of a message depends on the continuous chain of the call tree system. If a key caller in the call tree system isn’t available to call the next person in the chain, the message will fail to reach its desired audience quickly. The call tree system also requires constant updating to consider changes in staff and phone numbers.

In-Person/Intercom or PA System

In-person communication either directly to a group or through an intercom or PA system is the most ideal for critical messages as everyone can receive the same message at once and take necessary immediate next steps. The drawback is not reaching the growing number of remote or off-site employees.

Email

Sending an email is probably the simplest method to deliver a message and provides the added benefit of being able to attach documents to further support the message. Distribution lists can also be easily updated. Where email falls short is the overwhelming amount of emails employees receive on a daily basis, contributing to a lagging open rate. Important messages can fall through the cracks and might get missed by remote staff such as field workers who don’t often check email.

Instant Messaging/Social or Collaboration Network

The switch to instant messaging tools such as Skype or HipChat and collaboration network tools such as Yammer and Jira is slowly making its way through workplaces everywhere. Some businesses claim that collaboration has increased dramatically because of instant communication, but a few issues remain. Some drawbacks with these tools are the cost and technical requirements needed to install and take advantage of certain product features. Another major drawback is the lack of universal adoption, which would hinder the successful delivery of an important company-wide message.

Company Mobile Apps

Custom company mobile apps are an easy way to get employees to opt-in to a notification system. It also makes it easier for business leaders to not only send important messages but also be able to track engagement rates. The downside to mobile apps is the cost and effort needed for development and full adoption by employees on their private mobile devices.

Mass Notification Systems/Mass Texting

Mass notification systems provide the full benefit of combining all of the communication methods above to deliver important messages and have the added value of providing a two-way communication feature. Depending on what a business requires for communication, mass notification systems can be quite cost-effective. Getting employees to opt-in to receive multi-channel messages, including SMS texts, might be challenging. However, as some businesses learned when they were forced to close down operations during the 2017 hurricane season, being able to check in with employees through a text message proved extremely valuable when most other communication channels were unavailable.

The Changing Corporate Notification Landscape

Breaking through the communication clutter to successfully engage with employees takes a multi-faceted approach and cannot depend on just one form of communication. The landscape today is that “Employers and employees can get in touch via phone calls, text messages, chat services and social networks nowadays. And yet, across the board, most companies still use email as their primary method of communication.” By understanding your company’s current communication roadblocks and assessing where your current notification tools fall short, you can get a better sense of planning for the successful delivery of important company-wide messages.

Find out what employees really think about notification system tools used at work by downloading our latest whitepaper.

 

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Overcoming 5 Business Communication Challenges

February 7, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

"Most employers said that their employees would prioritize safety over privacy concerns when it comes to identifying their location during a critical event."

- Katharine Dahl, Director of Product Marketing, Rave Mobile Safety


Katharine Dahl, Director of Product Marketing at Rave Mobile Safety, presented a webinar on five critical business communication challenges. Here’s a quick overview of her main points and how corporate leaders can implement a more effective communication strategy for their organizations.

To start, Katharine lays out five critical business communication challenges facing organizations today:

 

Challenge #1: Rising Above the Noise of Everday Communication

Employees are bombarded by many different modes of communication throughout the work day, from phone calls and emails to internal instant messaging systems. Because of this, employees only have 3 minutes of consistent focus before an interruption.

An interactive poll during the webinar found that most attendees received office notifications through email, phone trees, or via collaboration networks. Katharine argues that while these channels can work well to capture employee's attention, they lack redundancy and reliability. Mass notification systems that offer multi-channel communication with just a few clicks can ensure urgent communications rise above the everyday noise and reach employees.

Watch clip 1 of 5 to ensure your critical business communications reach all employees.

 

Challenge #2: Proactively Communicating With Employees

The majority of employees expect to receive urgent communications from their organization regarding emergencies. While it's important for employees to receive notifications about potential life-threatening events, timely updates regarding office closures due to severe weather or system outages must also be communicated to ensure business continuity. More targeted communication can inform specific teams about shift changes or remind departments about updated HR policies and enrollment deadlines.

Katharine walks through different workplace communication best practices to properly notify your staff about a business disruption. These include proper data management techniques, how to define policies for frequency and level of communication, and ensuring you choose a critical communication platform that allows you to leverage pre-created messaging templates.

Watch clip 2 of 5 to learn about effecting communication best practices

 

Challenge #3: Connecting with Traveling Employees During Critical Events

Location-based alerting allows you to send specific and actionable alerts to employees located in affected areas domestically and internationally. Katharine cautions organizations from collecting freeform responses from employees during an emergency because those responses become difficult to aggregate and store.

Instead, she encourages organizations to seek out communication platforms that allow for more advanced data collection such as a polling feature, where responses can be categorized and aggregated, message delivery can be tracked, and action items and commands can be included. With this knowledge, organizations can send a follow-up alert with even more specific instructions to those who require additional communication.

Watch clip 3 of 5 to understand how location-based alerts can aggregate critical employee data

 

Challenge #4: Receiving Actionable Feedback from Employees

Katharine says it's crucial that organizations provide a vehicle for employees to feel comfortable reporting information. Employees are on the front line and are the first to observe safety, security, and facility red flags. Allowing employees to submit confidential and discreet tips will alert your organization to an incident sooner rather than later, allowing for more effective mitigation and incident resolution.

Watch clip 4 of 5 to learn how to empower your employees to submit confidential tips

 

Challenge #5: Delivering Faster Resolution to Business Disruptions

By proactively communicating with employees, ensuring that traveling and lone workers are accounted for, and empowering your workers to submit confidential and discreet tips, your organization is positioned to provide a fast resolution to business disruptions.

One important piece of advice Katharine provides is having role-based access controls for sending out notifications. Department-level access can spread the responsibility of critical communication to different stakeholders across the organization to ensure multiple communication plans are available in case of a business disruption.

Watch clip 5 of 5 to ensure you know how to leverage real-time reporting for faster communication

Want to learn more?

The full recording of the webinar is 45 minutes long and includes additional tips on how to overcome critical business communication challenges that are affecting your organizations business continuity. You can check it out here.

Conversations to Have at DRI2018 Conference

February 6, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

Nashville DRI2018 med

On February 11th, a few of our Framingham-based employees will be attending DRI2018 - The Professional's Conference in Nashville, TN. Hosted in the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, the Rave Mobile Safety team will be staffing booth # 204, so come on by to chat.

While our team will enjoy the slightly milder weather, here's a key conversation we look forward to having with conference attendees.

What are key components that should be included in your business continuity plans?

Based on feedback we've heard from our customers and industry colleagues, here are the  essential elements we've heard for every business continuity plan:

  • Timely and Targeted Communication:
    Communication must happen before, during and after a crisis. Having a plan in place, communicating, and putting it into action can be streamlined by using technologies such as critical communications platform. This technology allows you to send messages with two clicks to all communication modes including text, email, voice, app push notifications, RSS feeds, digital signage, and more, within seconds, ensuring that your audience receives your messages as soon as possible.
  • Employee Engagement:
    Keeping track of your employees during and after an event can be challenging, especially during events requiring evacuations as was the case during the 2017 hurricane season. Leveraging a platform to manage two-way communication tools such as polling to perform wellness checks can easily be done by phone, text or email.
  • Real-time Employee Protection:
    Duty of care is top of mind for many business continuity leaders. An ideal situation is one where you can take control of unexpected incidents. In order to do this, you need to easily assemble key decision makers with a one-click conference bridge and communicate next steps for incident management to staff, with minimal disruptions to the workplace.
  • Effective Risk Management:
    In order to mitigate risk and speed up disaster recovery, you need a platform to easily execute your plans, by managing the incident, communicating with your team, and coordinating a response.  Depending on the situation, you want to be able to leverage two-way communications, accessible content, response team mobilizations, system integrations, and redundant business communications. Leveraging a platform that can create templates and workflows to tie into your business continuity plans, while also displaying everything in an incident management and response dashboard makes a huge difference.

Stay focused on managing the incident and not on delivering a message. Rave Business Solutions enables efficient two-way communications with real-time feedback for an actionable response.

What else can we add?

What are the key components you can't forget in your business continuity plans? Stop by our booth #204 and let us know.

Also, don't forget to fill out a Smart911 Safety Profile while you're in Nashville, TN.

Lessons from Our Survey: Planning for Workplace Emergencies

February 3, 2018 Blog Author: Andrea Lebron

Workplace Safety Procedures

At the end of 2017, Rave Mobile Safety conducted a Workplace Safety and Preparedness survey focused on planning for workplace emergencies. Over 530 employees from various industries across the United States told us how safe they feel at work and how confident they were in their employer's preparedness for an emergency.

Our survey revealed that employee perceptions and employer policies for workplace safety are not aligned - particularly in the areas of hazardous materials incidents, workplace violence, severe weather alerts and active shooter incidents. There were also discrepancies in the way employees of different generations perceived their own responsibilities for workplace safety.

“The survey gives great insight into what employees know – and don’t know – about safety processes in place at their workplace and how they feel about their safety while at work overall,” says Rave Mobile Safety CEO Todd Piett. “We hope the statistics shed light on where the industry needs to improve and how we can implement technology to help workers feel safer at their place of business.”

"The survey gives great insight into what employees know – and don’t know – about safety processes in place at their workplace and how they feel about their safety while at work overall."

- Todd Piett, ENP, CEO of Rave Mobile Safety

 

Survey Reviewed by Industry Experts

Our Workplace Safety and Preparedness Survey was reviewed by Juliette Kayyem, Chief Executive Officer at Zemcar, and Don Aviv, Chief Operating Officer at Interfor International. Juliette and Don agreed that the survey revealed workplaces miss the mark in critical communication and planning, and could be unprepared to meet the future needs of employees.

With regard to the low percentage of respondents that indicated their workplace had preparedness drills in place for active shooter incidents, Juliette told us: “Given the current landscape of the workforce, a company’s ability to focus on an active shooter or workplace violence incident is absolutely paramount.”

Don's concerns were related to the low percentage of respondents who told us their workplaces had a mass text notification system in place. “Currently the top way of notifying employees about an incident that happens while they are in the office is through an intercom system,” he said - adding: “As the number of Millennials and Generation Z employees rises, and where we work from becomes more fluid, organizations will need to move beyond a loudspeaker announcement to alert employees.”

Listen to Todd, Juliette and Don's Exclusive Webinar

On Thursday, March 1st from 12-1pm EDT, we hosted an exclusive webinar in which Todd, Juliette and Don showcased the survey results and discussed why employees and employers are not seeing eye-to-eye on workplace safety preparation. In addition, the team highlighted what the findings mean for businesses moving forward into 2019 and provided tips for workplace safety preparedness.

Readers are invited to listen to a recording of the webinar and learn about the direction workplace safety preparedness is taking.

Listen to the Workplace Safety Preparedness and Critical Communications Webinar

Understanding Workplace Violence against Women

January 24, 2018 Blog Author: Jackson Lucas

In October 2017, the New York Times revealed that film producer Harvey Weinstein paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades. The piece was followed by a thorough investigation in the New Yorker and, buoyed by the response to these stories, more people came forward with allegations against Weinstein and other high-profile men across the entertainment and media industries. These reports reveal an alarming culture of workplace violence against women, and it’s not exclusive to the entertainment world. Low-wage workers are particularly vulnerable, and harassment is pervasive in the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries as well.

The reports of the past few months show the true depth of this issue, which impacts women working in a variety of fields. In December, for example, the Times reported on the persistent culture of harassment and abuse at two Ford auto plants, where two decades after the company tried to address sexual misconduct female employees are still subjected to abuse from their male coworkers. If this is truly a watershed moment for how society handles sexual misconduct, it must be inclusive. It’s critical that employers and gatekeepers across every industry understand the severity of this issue, and take time to address workplace harassment and violence, and the systems that allow it to persist.

As sexual harassment allegations continued to surface, we did our best to compile these stories and produce a series of pieces that would help you understand workplace violence against women within your own industries. Our first story focused on the similarities between harassment in Hollywood and the everyday workplace, breaking down 3 necessary steps to becoming a leader in employee protection. From there, our focus turned to presenting the breadth and commonality of workplace violence against women, from the entertainment industry to education. In doing this, it was especially necessary to give a voice to those who experience extreme forms of silencing - women of color and low-wage workers.  We shared those blogs with you below in hopes that we can all learn and actively work to make our workplaces safer for all employees.

Hollywood Scandals Spark a Movement

It took many courageous women to come forward to start a national dialogue. The movement has just begun and women are riding it straight to the top.

Blog: Women in Entertainment are Igniting Change

“Violent and powerful men have taken so much away from women in entertainment over the years, but that has all begun to change. Hollywood’s efforts to prevent future incidents of sexual harassment are beginning to take shape – and you can thank women for that. While 2017 may represent the year women stood up together and challenged the system, 2018 is shaping up to be the year they finally take it back.

Not All Survivors are Treated Equally

How your attempts to support survivors of sexual harassment and assault are excluding a lot of women, and why it's time we start listening to those silenced voices.

Blog: Protecting Low-Wage Workers and Women of Color

“Women of color and low-wage workers have been struggling to voice their own experiences with workplace violence for years without the public platform to be heard. Thankfully, the national conversation might finally be catching up to them… While it is crucial that we continue to support all survivors, even those who have not come forward with their story, we need to recognize the disparity in how we support white survivors versus survivors of color.

Protecting Our Educators 

Focusing on student safety is a no-brainer, but are we paying close enough attention to the safety of our teachers? Educators are fighting a silent crisis and they need our help.

Blog: Violence against Teachers is a Silent National Crisis

“Violence against teachers is a national crisis that cost teachers, parents, and taxpayers $2 billion annually. Violence against teachers is a significant yet under-investigated problem in the United States that has profound implications for schooling, teacher retention, and overall student performance. Teachers report feelings of anxiety and depression were related to lower professional functioning, decreased productiveness in the classroom, and lower emotional or physical well-being. As teachers become unable to perform in the classroom, student engagement and academic achievement are negatively affected.” 

Moving Forward

A true societal shift will require industry leaders to believe and protect women in every field, even beyond the high-profile world of entertainment. These efforts must include all women who work in hospitality or food service, educators, and politicians. The process for reporting an incident of sexual harassment or workplace violence has historically been intimidating, even ineffective. It doesn’t have to be. The wave of change is the brave women who came forward with these stories, and who continue to advocate for their peers. The events of the past year are an opportunity for every major industry to rethink workplace safety, and find solutions that will improve the work environment for women and other employees”.

In response to this climate shift, workplace leaders should take time to revisit their employee safety policy, including sexual harassment and misconduct policies and employee training. These incidents can represent a larger issue in which workplace violence often goes unaddressed, meaning appropriate action is crucial. The call to be more proactive about addressing sexual harassment and all manner of workplace violence are long overdue. Leaders in every field should prioritize new strategies for response and commit to greater protections for employees that ensure a safe workplace for everyone.

Business Solutions for Human Resources

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