Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | October 30, 2014

CodeRED system helps locate a missing elderly man

Officials with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department and Taunton Police Department in Massachusetts attribute the CodeRED emergency notification system with helping them quickly locate a missing elderly man on October 16, 2014.

According to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, the Taunton Police Department called in to report a missing 76-year-old man suffering from dementia who went missing. They requested use of the CodeRED system to help locate the man who was last seen heading toward the city.

Plymouth County mapped a specific geographic area to reach approximately 33,000 residents within a 5-mile radius of where the man was last seen. Using an integrated message approach, residents in the area received telephone calls to their landlines and cell phones, emails and push notifications through the CodeRED Mobile Alert app. Plymouth County’s advanced mobile strategy allowed them to reach more than 130 residents through the CodeRED Mobile Alert app based on the GPS of their smartphones.

Within 15 minutes of the messages being delivered, a person who had received the CodeRED call said a person matching the missing elderly man’s description wandered to his doorstep. He contacted Taunton Police, who immediately responded and reunited the man safely with his family.

“It’s a really big deal to us that we can use our tools like CodeRED to help find people. If we didn’t have a system like this it may have taken hours for him to be found,” said Nicole Callahan, Deputy Director of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department. “I take that as a complete success and that’s exactly how the system is supposed to work.”

We’re always happy to hear that our technology is making a difference in communities and keeping residents safe. If you have a CodeRED success story, please reach out to your local government officials to tell them why this system is essential. You can visit our website to share your story with us. Follow us on Twitter and “LIKE” us on Facebook to get the latest updates from our company.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | October 15, 2014

ECN encourages clients to participate in the Great ShakeOut

shakeoutMillions of people, schools and organizations nationwide, will participate in earthquake preparedness communication and drills as part of the Great ShakeOut on Thursday, October 16. Emergency Communications Network (ECN) encourages clients to use this event to get additional residents to enroll in the CodeRED community notification system, which will be used to communicate preparedness and disaster recovery information in the case of an actual earthquake.

These community drills are the perfect opportunity to spread the word about CodeRED and explain to residents how the system can improve preparedness. During an earthquake, local public safety officials will use the CodeRED system to let residents know when it is safe to exit their homes, business or other buildings. The CodeRED system may also be used to communicate post-earthquake aid information, including shelters, outages and government closures.

Residents and businesses interested in enrolling for CodeRED alerts should visit their city or county website. Those who have already enrolled in the system but have recently moved or changed their telephone numbers are asked to update their information in the emergency database. Notifications will also be delivered through the CodeRED Mobile Alert app, available on the App Store and Google Play, giving residents the ability to receive instant alerts on their smartphone if they are on the go.

For more information about the Great ShakeOut, including tips to help practice and be ready to respond, visit shakeout.org. For more updates about ECN and our products, please follow us on Twitter or “LIKE” us on Facebook.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | October 7, 2014

Ask Don: Maintaining Emergency Preparedness Efforts Year-Round

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations

Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

National Preparedness Month brings the importance of personal, business and community preparedness for disasters and emergency events into the spotlight. However, now that the month has come to a close, let us not forget that preparedness efforts are a continual process.

No matter how well we have planned and prepared for disasters or emergencies, ever-changing technologies, capabilities and evolving events provide the need to consistently review and update plans, procedures and mitigation strategies.

This is important for your emergency notification system capabilities. Far too often, a government agency purchases a mass notification system as is, checks the box and puts it in the back of their mind until a time comes they think it would be a good idea to use the system.  When used to its capability, your emergency notification system could prove to be the best life saving device at your disposal.

Here are a few bullet points that will help enhance your overall mass notification system capabilities from a programmatic, development and maintenance perspective:

  • Assign a System Administrator who has the responsibility and accountability to maintain and ensure operations of your notification system.
  • Create an Emergency Notification Policy for all to follow. Policy should state who the Administrator is, what the responsibilities of that individual are, who can activate notification calls both internally and externally to the public, what events the system be used for and what are the trigger points for call making decisions .
  • Create and store message template scripts that can be easily edited to fit the scenario.
  • Create and store calling areas on the mapping tool, such as flood zones, evacuation zones for hurricanes or fixed chemical facilities.
  • Encourage your staff to keep their contact information up-to-date in the system.
  • Create and store multiple combinations of internal contact group lists in your system for quick access, such as SWAT Team, EOC Team and executive leaders.
  • Ensure that your public calling data sources are updated periodically, either through your system provider or through your local sources of data collection, such as E911, utility or property data information. Every source that you can access to provide more data to your system will significantly increase your systems effectiveness.
  • Use every mode of message delivery available in your system to disseminate emergency messages to the public. This includes voice calling, text messaging, email, social media, mobile apps and IPAWS.
  • Continuously remind your public about your notification system and encourage them to provide opt-in contact information on your website Community Enrollment Form. Use every form of public contact and exposure that you have available to you year-round to boost enrollment.
  • Require all system users to complete initial and refresher training on the system.
  • Require all users to perform a monthly live test activation of the system. This can be a simple text message or call to their phone and the supervisors to validate the test.

Again, preparedness is the key when it comes to life safety as every minute counts.  The experienced staff here at Emergency Communications Network will gladly assist you with any of the suggested items listed above to enhance the capability of your system. Please give us a call for any assistance in this regard, 866-939-0911.

______________________________________________________________________

ECN’s Director of Government Relations, Don 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.

If you have anything you would like to ask him, please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly in our “Ask Don” blog.

Follow ECN on Twitter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to get more updates from our company.

Emergency Communications NetworkCodeRED Mobile Alert app has released a major upgrade to enhance the CodeRED Mobile Alert application for Android, providing subscribers free geographically targeted messages that save lives. The upgrade provides new features to improve the user experience and makes it even easier for subscribers to receive location-specific, often critical messages throughout the United States and Canada from public safety officials who use the CodeRED community notification system to protect and inform residents. Download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app using the Google Play™ store app.

Here is a list of the changes we made:

  • No more advertisements. The CodeRED Mobile Alert app is no longer ad-supported. The app now features an interactive tutorial and walks subscribers through the process of customizing notification preferences, including selecting the types of safety messages they would like to receive and how they would like to be alerted to the message.
  • Redesigned navigation. Regional warnings are now even easier to access and view, with completely redesigned navigation. In one click, subscribers may load warnings near their current location, or immediately view active alerts.  Subscribers may now access historical weather alerts based on specific date and time ranges.
  • New settings screen. A revamped settings screen has made it easier for subscribers to manage the types of alerts they are interested in receiving and select an expanded personal warning radius for the app to deliver messages from organizations within a specific geographic reach.

A major update to the CodeRED Mobile Alert app for the iOS platform was released in August and is available for a free download on the App Store.

 

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | September 19, 2014

Report Exec integrates with CodeRED for mass notification

CodeRED The mission to help keep people safe continues as Competitive Edge Software Inc. (CESI) incorporates mass notification capabilities into Report Exec, its incident management software suite designed for security professionals.

CESI and Emergency Communications Network (ECN), the nation’s largest provider of mass notification solutions have announced a strategic partnership to offer ECN’s CodeRED mass notification service within Report Exec.

As recent active shooter events and severe weather situations have demonstrated, mass notification has life-saving potential and is a crucial element of a safety strategy. The integration between the two systems makes it easy for Report Exec Dispatch users to quickly deliver messages to targeted individuals through voice calls, text messages, email, RSS feeds and social media. The integration gives dispatchers the tools to effectively reach targeted groups of individuals without expending additional resources outside of the Dispatch module.

The CodeRED solution enhances the Report Exec software suite as it will allow safety officials at universities, corporations, hospitals and other organizations to notify their communities of dangerous situations, severe weather advisories, viral outbreaks or other urgent developments.

Sean Mars, the founder of CESI, states, “We’re constantly working to give security professionals the best tools to help keep people safe. By partnering with ECN, we can harness a proven solution and give our customers critical communication abilities within Report Exec. They won’t have to waste precious time switching between programs or learn a new system—this powerful tool will be right at their fingertips.”

Follow ECN on Twitter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to get more updates from our company.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | September 11, 2014

Emergency Communications Network Releases White Paper for Healthcare Providers

Emergency Communications Network (ECN) has released a white paper regarding the need for healthcare organizations to implement a communications plan in accordance to proposed emergency preparedness requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The white paper, titled “Complying with CMS’ Emergency Preparedness Rule: Implementing an Effective Communications Plan,” provides background of the CMS proposal and an effective solution based on past and current health care disasters.

“We have worked diligently to create a first class tool to help health care organizations meet the requirements from CMS. Our experienced team of communication specialists is here to help you be prepared for the next disaster,” said David DiGiacomo, ECN President.

The paper is available at http://www.ecnetwork.com/smartnotice/whitepaper.php.

The whitepaper is part of ECN’s organizational development resources, in addition to disaster recovery, business continuity and emergency planning consulting services, provided by the company’s in-house emergency managers with more than 65 combined years of public safety experience.

Follow ECN on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook to get more updates from our company.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | September 1, 2014

National Preparedness Month: 5 steps to a successful emergency notification system

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations

Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

FEMA has proclaimed September as National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” September 2014 marks 10 years since hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne crisscrossed the state of Florida, 15 years since Hurricane Floyd made landfall in North Carolina and 25 years since Hurricane Hugo left its mark on the South Carolina coast. Naturally, the peak of hurricane season provides the most optimal time to promote disaster preparedness for not only hurricane season, but also for all disasters nationwide.

The most valuable lesson each of those storms provides for us today is that the time to prepare for the next hurricane or any other disaster event is now.

Taking the “All Hazards” preparedness approach is the everyday methodology at Emergency Communications Network (ECN.) With clients located in every region of the U.S. and Canada, our services and personnel are fully prepared to deliver multiple-disaster driven emergency – life safety notifications 24/7/365. We continually encourage our clients to instill that same level of preparedness within their CodeRED mass notification system.

To assist our clients in this regard, we provide a 5-step approach to a successful and comprehensive emergency alert and notification system. Figuratively speaking, a CodeRED mass notification solution is only one component of a total emergency alert and notification system. The five steps listed below are suggestions that will provide a good starting point for those who are in need. These steps are not intended to be all inclusive.National Preparedness Month

  1. Develop a Notification Plan – Your plan should include such things like who has the responsibility for maintaining plan and system components, who can launch messages and what will the system be used for. Plans should also contain template messages and provide trigger point for various stages of activation.  Remember to include measures to continually enhance your calling data as well as periodic system and end user testing.
  1. A System of Systems - The term “Every Tool in the Tool Box” should come to mind when it necessitates the delivery of emergency life-safety messages to the public. Your plan should include every method of public delivery available to you within your jurisdiction. This should include geographically defined phone calls, text messages, emails, social media sites, TDD, IPAWS, mobile alerting applications, internal staff contact lists, siren systems, route alerting, media releases, etc. No plan should rely on just one mode of delivery.
  1. Include more than just technology Your technological devices will deliver the message to the public. A total emergency alert and notification plan should also include the programmatic and methodical elements to make it a fully comprehensive effort. Identify and implement a strong public outreach program to increase public education about your notification systems and how to ensure their contact information is listed. Consider news media (print and broadcast), fairs and expositions, billboards, publications, fliers for hotels/public venues, church bulletins and civic associations. Be creative and think outside the box. When making calls to the public always consider human behavior and public reaction to the message that is being delivered. Be aware of the amount of calls to be made, how long it should take to complete them and the time of day or night.
  1. Coordination of User Agencies – Coordination efforts are paramount to a community’s successful alert and notification system. Especially where multiple agencies have user access and individual responsibilities for notifications depending on the type of emergency incident. An all agency involvement in the development of the plan and system components provides the total buy-in and cohesiveness required for a critical public safety measure such as this. Consider a periodic monitoring session that includes a representative from each agency.
  1. Include Periodic Training, Testing and Exercises – The key to a successful emergency notification delivery under stressful and otherwise hurried conditions is heavily reliant on system and plan familiarization. Measures should be in place to ensure that everyone involved becomes familiar with their responsibilities in the plan. Periodic refresher training and system testing should be completed by all end users on a regular and systematic basis.

National Preparedness Month will conclude on September 30, 2014 with America’s PrepareAthon Day. This initiative is intended for citizens, businesses and government. We have attached the link below for more information on how to participate and to register. ECN will be participating and we encourage each of you to as well. We will be posting important preparedness resources on our Twitter and Facebook accounts throughout the month.

http://www.community.fema.gov/connect.ti/AmericasPrepareathon 

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ECN’s Director of Government Relations, Don 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.

If you have anything you would like to ask him, please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly in our “Ask Don” blog.

Follow ECN on Twitter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to get more updates from our company.

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | August 28, 2014

CodeRED makes a difference during summer 2014

CodeRED leads to safe return of infant
Galloway, NJ 
A CodeRED notification led to the safe return of a baby whose non-custodial parent took her. Police received a report of a 15-month-old infant taken against court order by her non-custodial parent. The notification was issued with the vehicle information and a picture of the suspect and the child. Within 15 minutes of the CodeRED alert, a local resident and school board employee, Steve Bolli, recognized the suspect vehicle and called 9-1-1.

Police responded to the area and observed the suspect’s vehicle and the child in the rear of the vehicle. Galloway Police ordered Firrincilli out of the vehicle unsuccessfully. Officer Ronald Gorneau then smashed the driver-side window of the vehicle and pulled Firrincilli from the car. Firrincilli was taken into custody and the child was safely.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1qkxaHy

“CodeRED system is key” in alerting residents of virus carrying mosquitoes
Pittsfield, MA 
The 2014 season for mosquito surveillance and control officially started in Pittsfield, Mass., prompting the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Program to keep continual watch on the mosquito population in Berkshire County.

By monitoring the larvae and adult mosquito population, BCMCP was able to confirm the presence of two mosquito borne viruses, West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Once a virus was detected, spraying began in that targeted area.

Mayor Daniel Bianchi said the use of the CodeRED system was key to notifying residents of any spraying. Once the Board of Health approved a spray, residents in the targeted area got a phone call informing them of the detected virus and the plan in place to address the mosquitos.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1siIJm9

Wildfire updates sent through CodeRED to keep residents safe and informed
Coconino, AZ 
A wildfire started in Coconino County from a downed power line and burned 12 acres in Oak Creek Canyon. Coconino County Emergency Management issued a CodeRED alert for the fire, advising residents to be ready to evacuate if necessary.

CodeRED alerts were issued throughout the afternoon to keep residents informed of the progress of the fire and if evacuation was necessary. Some residents in the immediate area were evacuated by Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputies going door to door; however, the CodeRED alert did not make a mandatory evacuation.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1li1rYf

County residents “praising the fact they were notified about the severe weather”
Apple Clinton, IL
A severe storm passed through Clinton overnight, triggering a tornado warning and CodeRED weather alert. Several residents reported receiving the warning and waiting out the storm in their basements.

According to Ernie Goetsch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, overnight storms of
that intensity are somewhat unusual.

DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner said residents were praising the fact that they were notified of the severity of the weather, even though there was little damage.
Read more: http://bit.ly/XVHLzh

CodeRED alert issued after suspect fires shots at resident
Franklin, NC 
Franklin Police were looking for a suspect that fired gun shots at a resident. The resident said he thought he heard gun shots, so he went out behind his house and saw someone walking down the driveway of the Church of God. He told them to wait right there, but then the suspect fired two more rounds at him behind his house.

County 911 issued a CodeRED alert within a two mile radius of the scene as a safety measure. The alert asked residents
to remain in their homes and to lock all doors and windows.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1qMdU31

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | August 21, 2014

CodeRED Weather Warning helps save the lives of Texas couple

Posted by: Emergency Communications Network | August 11, 2014

ECN releases major upgrade to enhance CodeRED Mobile Alert app

Emergency Communications Network (ECN) CodeRED Mobile Alert apphas released a major iOS upgrade to enhance its CodeRED Mobile Alert application, providing subscribers free geographically targeted messages that save lives. The upgrade provides new features to improve the user experience and makes it even easier for subscribers to receive location-specific, often critical messages throughout the United States and Canada from public safety officials who use the CodeRED community notification system to protect and inform residents.

“The CodeRED Mobile Alert app has informed me of tornadoes, other severe weather and missing children alerts. I really like the quickness in which I receive the alerts, the ability to get details in a recorded message and the pin-point accuracy. Many people rely on an app where you plug in your home zip code so you’ll get alerts where you live, but the CodeRED app will alert you based on the GPS location of your phone,” said Kathy Broyard, Emergency Management Specialist for the Florida Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Network.

What’s new with the CodeRED app:

  • It is now free of advertisements.
  • The app features an interactive tutorial. The tutorial will educate users of how the app works, including how to customize notification preferences – indicating the types of safety messages they would like to receive and how they would like to be alerted to the message.
  • Regional warnings are now even easier to access and view. In one click, subscribers may load warnings near their exact location, or immediately view active alerts. Subscribers may now access historical weather alerts based on specific date and time ranges.
  • A revamped settings screen. It will now be easier for subscribers to manage the types of alerts they are interested in receiving and select a personal warning radius for the app to deliver messages from organizations within a specific geographic reach.

The CodeRED Mobile Alert app features comprehensive user support. The subscriber can easily submit a question or provide feedback directly to the app developer, or speak to a live support representative for help.

Enhancements to the Android platform of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app will be released this fall. The CodeRED Mobile Alert app is available for a free download on the App Store℠ or using the Google Play™ store app.

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