Florida-based Emergency Communications Network (ECN) has relocated to a new corporate headquarters located at the Reflections 1 office building at 780 W. Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach, Fla. ECN purchased the building in August 2013 and plans to occupy the top two stories of the building, while leasing out the first floor of the building to tenants.

IMG_2691The move from the Airport Business Park in Ormond Beach allows ECN to continue its strategic growth initiatives, including aggressive hiring plans to support the growing number of government agencies and business organizations it serves across the United States and internationally. The relocation was conducted in phases to ensure no interruption to services or support.

Over the past several months, ECN added full facility backup power and completed extensive interior renovations, adding break rooms, expanding office space and demolishing walls to allow more natural light and provide each staff member outside views from his or her work space. Flat screen televisions throughout the facility will allow ECN staff to proactively monitor national events of significance and stay informed of company-wide updates.

High level security was also installed. The Reflections 1 building is now only accessible to authorized staff and guests, including IMG_2713stairwells and elevators. Television monitors and security cameras help staff identify presence around entryways and stairwells.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be in our new home. We are extremely proud of our new headquarters right in the heart of Ormond Beach and we look forward to the extra space it provides as we continue to grow,” said Alan Epstein, VP Operations at ECN.

ECN has already added 14 staff members this year and is still accepting applications for software developers, sales representatives and client support representatives. All positions are full time and include benefits. To learn more about open positions or to apply, visit ecnetwork.com.

CodeRED representatives will be in attendance at the National Hurricane Conference (NHC), April 15-16, 2014, where they will offer system demonstrations and trainings in a reserved hospitality suite at the Orlando Hilton.

The primary goal of the National Hurricane Conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation in order to save lives and property in the United States and the tropical islands of the Caribbean and Pacific. In addition, the conference serves as a national forum for federal, state and local officials to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve Emergency Management.

Authorized state and local government officials interested in implementing the CodeRED system in their community are encouraged to visit the suite for complimentary system demonstrations. Current clients may take advantage of system trainings during this time as well. It is not required to attend the NHC in order to visit the CodeRED hospitality suite.

Conference attendees and local public safety officials also have the opportunity to learn more about the CodeRED Mobile Alert app, a geo-specific public safety smartphone application that delivers time-sensitive alerts to subscribers within the exact area of impact. CodeRED representatives will be on hand to discuss and demonstrate the CodeRED IPAWS Alert Origination Tool, which allows authorized users to deliver critical alerts through WEA, NWEM, EAS and COG to COG inside the CodeRED system.

NHC attendees and Florida-based CodeRED users are invited to attend a complimentary CodeRED Social on April 16 from 5-7 p.m. CodeRED representatives will also be in attendance at booth #106 during the NHC.

 

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | April 4, 2014

CodeRED technology helps locate missing Indiana runaways within minutes

The CodeRED emergency notification system uses advanced geo-targeting technology to provide the most relevant information to communities everywhere. It was this technology that helped the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Management located two missing teenage runaways in less than two minutes on April 2.

According to Paul Goss, Daviess County Director of Emergency Management, a 14-year-old girl didn’t go home on the school bus and was seen in the vicinity with a juvenile male. The County’s 911 dispatch center requested a CodeRED notification be launched to seek the public’s help in locating the missing teens.

After “pinging” the girl’s cell phone to determine her last known location, the decision was made to use the CodeRED system’s geographic targeting interface and strategically notify residents within a 3-mile radius of the projected area of where the runaways were thought to be located.

According to Goss, 1 minute and 52 seconds had passed since the calls were delivered to the intended area before they got a promising lead. A man who had received the CodeRED notification reached Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, directly on his cell phone, with information that he had seen the teens and provided their location.

Within 20 minutes, the runaways were reunited with their families. “It’s a great example of how the system can be used. This probably saved a lot of heartache for the families,” Sheriff Harbstreit said.

“We like to think we can go off of TV and radio to notify people, but this is more personal and pinpointed. Using CodeRED gave our community situational awareness they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Goss said.

Daviess County Board of Commissioners has been using the CodeRED system for more than two years. They also use CodeRED Weather Warning technology to automatically alert residents and businesses of severe weather including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods through telephone calls, text messages and emails.

 

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | March 25, 2014

CodeRED makes a difference during Winter Storm Pax

Residents receive call to stay off highways during winter storm 
Dekalb County, GA
As the ice and snow storm headed to metro Atlanta, the county sent a CodeRED call to more than 150,000 residents warning them of the storm and encouraging them to stay home and off the highways. DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May and officials of the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency urged all stakeholders to sign up for CodeRED.

They say the system has the ability to quickly deliver time-sensitive messages via voice, email, and text to targeted areas during emergency situations or disasters.

“If we need to notify the public about public safety hazards such as weather, CodeRED is one of the tools we will use to reach people directly,” May said.
Read more:  http://bit.ly/NDmvIM

Newtown CodeRED Message: ‘Stay Home Until After the Storm’ 
Newtown, CT
Newtown has issued its second CodeRED message of the current winter storm. Those who signed up for the notifications are receiving messages from Newtown Director of Emergency Communications Maureen Will.

“Stay home until after the storm has passed, and we will see you all tomorrow morning,” Will said.

Will had issued a CodeRED message alerting residents that the municipal center would not open until at least 10 a.m.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1gGLEda

CodeRED alert details impassable roads during winter storm 
Aiken, SC
Aiken County Emergency Management has issued a second CodeRED alert for Aiken County on behalf of Sheriff Michael Hunt, asking local residents to stay off the roads unless there was a “true” emergency.

The alert notification detailed that many secondary roads are impassable to debris, and that many intersections are without power and do not have working traffic signals.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1g3BjwL

Winter Storm Pax prompts emergency declaration 
Weston, CT
Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein issued an emergency declaration for the town. Due to limited visibility and dangerous conditions, all residents are being asked to stay off the roads.

“Vehicles cannot be left on public roadways, as they are impacting our ability to properly plow the roads… all vehicles left on the roads will be towed at the owner’s expense,” Weinstein said in a CodeRED alert. She also reminded residents that it is illegal to push snow from driveways into roads.

“Working together, I know we can ensure the safety of the entire community,” she said.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1iWiiOS

First Selectman sends CodeRED message to update residents on Winter Storm Pax 
Southbury, CT
The storm, dubbed Pax, prompted a CodeRED message. That message, from First Selectman Ed Edelson, follows:

The town is preparing for the impact of Storm Pax. Southbury Public Works has determined that there is sufficient material to treat the roads appropriately before the storm. How much material will finally be required depends on the nature of the 30 hour storm event.

I encourage all residents to restrict travel tomorrow to allow the public works crew to do their work.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1gvP5CC

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | March 21, 2014

Ask Don

We’ve been following the news coverage of the IRS phone scam and wanted your opinion on using the CodeRED system to alert our community about it. We do not want to elicit fear but we worry our residents may fall victim if they aren’t properly informed of what they should do if they receive one of these fake calls. Any suggestions? 

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations

Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

This is a very good use of your CodeRED notification system. While it is not a matter of life safety, it is a notification of criminal activity recognized in your area and one that your residents should be warned against and will appreciate the information.

Far too often we hear our clients tell us that they wished that had thought about using the CodeRED system to notify their residents about certain incidents that have happened in the past. To help others, we encourage our clients to send us their best practices and instances in which they used CodeRED that may have been unique and successful so we can share them with everyone else to consider. There have been many great ideas shared this way. Check our website for these testimonials.

Here are a few tips for you to consider for this type of notification to your community:

• Use the most authoritative agency to present the call – In this case a recognized official from the local Law Enforcement agency should record the call, that will provide credibility to the message and add that added level of authority and comfort to the recipients that it is a valid call.
• Be cognizant of the time of day that you launch the call and how many residents you will be calling. (Gauge how long it will take to call the list so you don’t infringe on late night hours)

Make sure you follow the 6-step process to creating an effective message:

1. Identify the caller and agency
2. Provide the date and time of the call
3. Identify the hazard/threat/incident
4. Identify the area affected
5. Provide the action measures to be taken/followed
6. Detail directions to gain information and/or announce a follow-up call will be made.
We would be happy to assist you with the content development of this message if you’d like. Please let us know how else we can help.

______________________________________________________________________

ECN opened up the opportunity for you to connect with Don Hall. Hall has spent more than 40 years in public safety so his emergency management experience makes him ideal for helping our current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community to interact with regarding the need and use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

This platform was created to make your questions for Hall, heard. If you have anything you would like to ask him, please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly, right here in our “Ask Don” blog.

Emergency Communications Network (ECN) is recognizing National Flood Safety Awareness Week March 16-22, 2014. Flooding causes more damage in the U.S. than any other weather related event. This week will highlight the importance of preparing for a flood and educating the public on what actions should be taken in the event of a flood.

Floods can have devastating effects on any community, which makes it essential for residents to take steps to reduce harm. Implementing CodeRED and CodeRED Weather Warning can help keep residents informed and allows them to prepare for the possibility of a flood.

FloodBefore the Event

CodeRED Weather Warning (CRWW) is capable of alerting residents in the direct path of a storm and letting them know that flooding is imminent. This gives the community advanced notice to take appropriate action. CRWW provides automated flash flood warnings from the National Weather Service, requiring no action by the system user. In order for citizens to be prepared, they should be encouraged to enroll to receive notifications, or update their contact information if they recently moved or changed their phone number.

Using the CodeRED system, city or county officials can inform the community of precautions they can take to protect their families or property against floodwaters.

After the Disaster

Floodwaters pose risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Use the CodeRED system to inform residents if tap water is safe to drink or if an area is under a “boil water” advisory. Tell people to turn off electrical power if there is standing water and to be aware of fallen electrical wires. Advise residents to wear waterproof boots and gloves to avoid allowing flood water to come in contact with their skin.

Residents should also be encouraged to download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app as part of their preparation efforts in anticipation of flooding. The app uses geospatial technology to deliver location-based alerts directly to any subscriber’s mobile device. App users can be the first to receive a flash flood alert when they’re away from their community.

Download the mobile app here. To stay connected to ECN and learn more about the systems we offer by ‘Liking’ us on Facebook and following us on Twitter or giving us a call, 866-939-0911.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | March 10, 2014

Ask Don!

We’ve had back-to-back winter storms and worry our residents are getting complacent when it comes to receiving emergency notifications from us. Any suggestions on how to emphasize the importance of the messages and to help communicate the value of the information we’re sharing?

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations

Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

When determining to use the public mass notification system it is helpful to ask a few of the following questions: Is this enough information? How much is too much? Will they start to become complacent with too much usage? Will we help to save lives and protect property with this message? These are all very good things to consider when making the decision to activate a call or a follow-up message.

Through our client outreach efforts, we discovered that the public tolerance and mind set surrounding government notifications vary from community to community across the U.S. Generally speaking, public safety officials should be able to gauge their community’s temperament in this regard and act accordingly. I do have a few message creation suggestions that might help you with your public notification efforts.

The first suggestion is to use the geographical mapping tool to narrowly define your calling area whenever possible. For example, if issuing a flood notice, try to avoid sending the call out to your entire community if not everyone is affected by the flooding. Target your efforts so that citizens who aren’t in the danger area will not receive calls they would perceive as uninformative. You can use the same geographically defined area to send out any follow-up messages or “all clear” notices. Once again, make sure the message is only sent to those who are affected. The geographical region to target will vary with the nature of your emergency, but nonetheless, one to consider each time. Utilizing the geographical mapping tool each time an alert is issued, will show your community that you will only be notifying them if an emergency truly threatens them.

The second suggestion is to always use an influential member of your community, who is easily recognized by citizens to record the voice delivered message. This could be the highest elected official, Fire Chief, Police Chief or Emergency Manager. The attention of your citizens will be easier to capture if you use one of these authority figures because they are recognizable, will provide credibility to the call and will be respected by the residents.

The content of the message is also very important. Even if the selected public safety official will be recording the message for the call, you will want to write the script for him or her to read. This will ensure that all of the important information is covered in the message. There are six main components to creating an effective and credible emergency message. They are:

  1. Identify the caller and agency
  2. Provide the date and time
  3. Identify the hazard/threat/incident
  4. Identify the area affected
  5. Provide the action measures to be taken
  6. Detail directions for more information and/or announce a follow-up call will be made

Including too much information in the call will lose the call recipient’s attention but too little information will not prove beneficial. As a rule of thumb, we recommend your emergency call consist of a 30-45 second message whenever possible. Our call statistic records show us that after 45 seconds, the line drop-off rate increases exponentially. A well-crafted message can include a lot of valuable information and still fit the 30-45 second timeframe. Also, if you have an additional secondary language that is largely present in your community, consider recording the message in that language as an option for the recipients.

Collectively speaking, if you use a well-known authority figure for the recorded message, draft an effective 30-45 second message and issue alerts only to the areas that will be affected by the threat, you will be well on your way to enhancing the effectiveness of your mass notification system within your community. We recommend you inform your public, promoting the use of the community’s mass notification system as well as encouraging them to enroll and update their current contact information. The more your citizens know about the system and its intended use, the better they will accept its use on disaster day.

Thanks for the great question!

______________________________________________________________________

ECN opened up the opportunity for you to connect with Don Hall. Hall has spent more than 40 years in public safety so his emergency management experience makes him ideal for helping our current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community to interact with regarding the need and use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

This platform was created to make your questions for Hall, heard. If you have anything you would like to ask him, please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly, right here in our “Ask Don” blog.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | March 5, 2014

Ask Don!

We recently had a tornado devastate our community. We provide CodeRED Weather Warning access to our County residents and received reports that many of our citizens received a weather alert that night even though they were not registered to receive automated weather calls, and we did not activate a CodeRED call at that time. Do you know why this would occur?

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations

Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

A very good question and one we receive a lot of lately. It is very likely that those citizens received a notification that was disseminated by the National Weather Service (NWS) through IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert & Warning System). IPAWS is a Federal Government alerting system that enhances the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS) nationwide. The most recently purchased smartphones are programmed to receive the emergency messages from state, local or federal officials, if they are in or near the targeted hazard area. The functionality within IPAWS that delivers the emergency messages is called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The cellular providers receive the alerts from the IPAWS aggregator and broadcast them through their respective cell towers in and/or near the targeted area. Every wireless device that contains the WEA chip in the range of the towers activated will receive the message. The end user, in most cases, does not know that they have this function on their phone until they receive the first message and begin to investigate.

There are settings within the wireless devices that will allow the end user to select the types of calls they receive from IPAWS. The next time you experience this report from your citizens you may want to have them check their phones for the WEA function and explain IPAWS.

When the NWS declares a storm warning, they will also identify a geographical box for the warning area. The NWS automatically activates the IPAWS system with every storm warning issued now. Through IPAWS that message is provided to EAS Broadcast Stations, NOAA Weather Radios and to WEA to warn all aspects of the public, and the NWS is the only agency allowed to disseminate Weather Warning alerts through IPAWS. CodeRED Weather Warning automatically captures that information from the NWS as well and disseminates it out only to our subscriber data base inside that warning area, however it will state that it is a CodeRED generated call.

State and local government public safety agencies can also use the IPAWS system to deliver emergency “Imminent Threat” messages to their citizens in harm’s way; however, IPAWS is not considered to be a system that should replace the need to have an independent mass notification system in place. IPAWS has very strict requirements for what it can be used for, unlike your localized CodeRED mass notification system.

CodeRED does provide a full service IPAWS Alert Origination Tool for our clients to use to access the system. Our users have the ability to disseminate messages to EAS, WEA, NOAA radios and even communicate COG to COG message with your neighboring approved alerting agencies.

If your CodeRED system is not equipped with IPAWS capability, please contact us at 866-939-0911 for more information on how to get started.

Regards,

Don

_______________________________________________________________________________________

ECN opened up the opportunity for you to connect with Don Hall. Hall has spent more than 40 years in public safety so his emergency management experience makes him ideal for helping our current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community to interact with regarding the need and use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

This platform was created to make your questions for Hall, heard. If you have anything you would like to ask him please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly, right here in our “Ask Don” blog.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | February 28, 2014

Emergency Communications Network holds food drive to celebrate National Canned Food Month

February tends to be the month in which most food banks see a decline in donations. In recognition of February being National Canned Food Month, Emergency Communications Network (ECN) decided to encourage team members to donate to an office food drive.

food_drive_pic

Boxes were set up in the reception area for anyone to drop off canned goods and other appropriate donation items. All collected items were delivered to the Volusia Branch of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida located in Daytona Beach.

This isn’t the first time ECN team members have given back to the community. During the holidays, Amanda Lee and Sarah Martin organized a donation drive to benefit the Halifax Urban Ministries in Daytona Beach.

“It really opens your eyes to things that go on we are not always aware of. It

feels better to know you can help someone who needs it, maybe even a little more than you do,” ECN team member Tracy Cervi said. 

donations

ECN considers supporting local food banks as an essential cause because of the role they play during emergency relief. For example, food banks provided food and supplies to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Feeding America delivered more than 234 truckloads of food and grocery products to 11 food banks in the surrounding area following the storm.

In the event of a disaster relief situation, public safety officials can use the CodeRED Mobile Alert app to notify residents of the location of any distribution sites offering food and supplies.

Connect with ECN on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates about our company.

The CodeRED Mobile Alert app allows subscribers to select specific severe weather alerts.

The CodeRED Mobile Alert app allows subscribers to select specific severe weather alerts.

Florida’s 2014 Severe Weather Awareness Week is taking place this week through Friday. The goal is to promote preparedness by all Floridians for all types of hazards.

Emergency Communications Network (ECN) clients proactively use the CodeRED system to alert residents of severe weather. Signing up for CodeRED Weather Warning alerts specific to your participating community should be an essential part of an individual’s emergency preparedness plan. The CodeRED Weather Warning system has kept thousands of communities across the nation informed of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods.

The CodeRED Weather Warning system automatically sends residents automated severe weather warnings. The system’s technology ensures that only citizens in the path of severe weather are contacted in an effort to increase relevance and reduce false alarms. Warnings are geographically targeted so that the most at-risk areas are called first. Citizens can customize the system to receive any combination of severe weather warnings based on their unique preferences.

Florida residents should also download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app as part of their preparation efforts in anticipation of severe weather. The app uses geospatial technology to deliver location-based alerts directly to any subscriber’s mobile device. App users can listen to any active alert throughout the country at any time to learn essential information regarding evacuations, road closures, potential tornadoes and other urgent warnings issued by public safety officials.

Download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app here. Stay up-to-date on ECN’s emergency notification systems by following us on Twitter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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