Emergency Phone Notification Systems
This section of our technical library presents articles written about Emergency Alert Systems and Disaster Recovery definitions, terms and related information.
The 911Broadcast emergency notification and alert service can deliver a large number of phone calls using a network of phone systems employing digital phone lines simultaneously. Should a disaster such as a snow storm, wild fire or flood hit your area, 911Broadcast systems can alert your community quickly providing specific instructions if an evacuation is required.
This service is available using our emergency broadcasting systems. If a dangerous chemical spill occurs in your community, you can target specific areas to call. If a severe snow storm hits your area, your community can be notified of school closings or event cancellations.
The following article relates to emergency notification and Wild Fire Preparedness.
Wild Fire Preparedness - Emergency Response Phone Notification
Scott Fincher, Intrado, Longmont, Colo.
Firefighting officials from fire-prone Colorado counties credit effective emergency notification plans for keeping people out of harm's way during the Hayman Fire. In particular, 17 counties had at their disposal a telephone notification tool that allowed them to place thousands of calls in minutes to targeted communities within the affected areas.
Throughout the course of the wildfires that swept across the state last year, officials were able to keep residents informed about threats specific to each individual community. Working in conjunction with activities on the ground and updates through the broadcast media, firefighting officials were able to provide customized information to individuals in precisely targeted geographic areas.
This capability prompted Barb Farland, Jefferson County's dispatch manager, to call her emergency telephone notification service “the most valuable tool we've had since 911.”
In practice, officials in Colorado were able to use the system in the following manner to help manage and distribute information throughout the wildfire seasons:
The emergency telephone notification tool allowed Colorado's firefighting officials to use technology to their great advantage. Residents were kept abreast of developing situations, with updates specific to their location. Officials were able to minimize the number of costly and time-consuming door-to-door notifications in difficult terrain, and they were able to minimize the number of firefighters who had to be placed in harm's way while maximizing the number able to battle the blaze.
Wildfire season comes every year in Colorado. Officials know there are precautions that residents in fire-prone areas can take to mitigate loss and protect their homes. As wildfire season approached, officials sent out a message providing those instructions specifically to residents within fire-prone areas.
Wildfires are unpredictable and erratic, making it problematic for emergency notification procedures to keep pace with changes in intensity and direction. Using evacuation preparation messages, officials told residents what to do in case of evacuation. If and when an evacuation order was given, residents and their families would have already secured valuables and pets, known what route to take, and known the location of shelters.
Officials were able to rapidly distribute evacuation orders specifically to individuals in an area that was in immediate danger.
On determining that a specific area was no longer in potential danger, officials sent out all-clear notifications to let residents know they could stand down.
An emergency telephone notification system is built on specific network components that ensure the system's continued reliability. Without these building blocks in place, the effectiveness of an emergency telephone notification system will be compromised. Firefighting officials must understand these dynamics before they acquire a system. The shortcomings of a system ill-equipped to address these dynamics only will become apparent after it's too late. Things to look for include:
The biggest obstacle officials must face when implementing an effective emergency telephone notification system is securing the right to use 911 data extracts to build an accurate outbound calling database. Traditionally, access to E-911 data has been restricted. However, recent federal legislation has allowed 911 data to be used for emergency notification purposes. Unfortunately, Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, typically the dial-tone providers that manage the 911 databases, haven't fully embraced the issue. As a result, many of them have been reluctant to act unless pressure is placed on them at a local, state and federal level.
An emergency telephone notification system is only as good as the mapping and telephone number data upon which it is based. The most accurate mapping data typically is a combination of commercially available information bumped up against a jurisdiction's existing public safety mapping data. This checks one source against the other. The most accurate telephone number data is derived from extracts of the 911 database, which is the only source that contains unlisted and unpublished numbers and allows for daily updates to account for record changes.
Because time is often a critical factor in emergency situations, an effective system must be able to make thousands of calls in minutes. Even with the most accurate data available, if the system operates on a capacity of fewer than 1,000 available telephone ports, the system's effectiveness could be significantly reduced, rendering it impractical as an effective wildfire notification tool.
In responding to a wildfire, officials need a telephone notification system that they can access anywhere, at any time. Colorado officials found what they were looking for in a hosted service, supported 24 hours a day by trained professionals and accessible by any wireline or wireless telephone. Anything less does not provide the level of flexibility needed for wildfire management.
The more reputable emergency telephone notification providers already have regulatory affairs personnel addressing this issue at all levels of government. An effective way to effect change is to work with your emergency telephone notification provider to secure your right to gain access to this crucial information for notification purposes.
Fires - Emergency Dialers Fire Warnings
If a fire were to erupt in your community, our emergency notification system can notify citizens in a matter of minutes. With our emergency notification phone service, you can broadcast warning messages to thousands of households in your community warning of catastrophic disasters including fires and fire alerts.
Messages can be simultaneously delivered in just minutes using our network of phone systems and services. Pre-recorded warning messages can be played giving households information regarding the fire location and whether a community evacuation is planned or necessary. You can send a broadcast warning to specific neighborhoods or communities in the event of a local residential or business fire and provide priority delivery of these messages to those nearest the fire danger.
Multiple messages can be delivered to different members of the community based upon proximity to the blaze. Calls can be directed to operators that are standing by to handle special individual emergencies.
Messages can also be broadcast seeking volunteers or special assistance from emergency personnel including a volunteer fire department.
Remote communities have used our services to warn residents when a controlled burn or training burn was scheduled, preventing a rash of 911 and emergency calls by concerned citizens.
Other applications include warning residents when the danger of fire is at a high level. Fire restrictions can likewise be broadcast using this service.
Messages sent to households in this fashion can be simple warnings with specific or general instructions. If the community needs feedback from the call, an interactive response can be programmed into the message allowing the person to either acknowledge the call or to contact someone. Messages can vary based upon proximity to the event, with different degrees of broadcast warning and instructions.
Contact DSC Today for a FREE analysis and quote and to learn more about our emergency notification phone services.