Use It or Lose It

Periodic testing your mass notification system is a best practice we highly recommend. Not only does it help to ensure that your messages are up-to-date and ready to use, it also serves as a reminder to your select group of test alert recipients that the system is active and available.

Another important reason to test your system is making sure the users in your organization are properly trained. Using the Rapid Notify system is easy to learn but we find that if our customers do not practice on a regular basis, they forget about many of the most powerful features available to them.

Periodic testing can also be a reminder to monitor internal accountability. Customers that experience staff turnover may not realize that the person previously designated as their Rapid Notify Customer Administrator did not train or even inform their replacement regarding access to their account.

We encourage all of our customers to contact our outstanding Customer Support team to schedule an online refresher training session. Our system has many new features that you may not even be aware of such as Reusable Scenario Alerts, Social Media posting and more.

Contact us today.

Improving Wireless Location Detection

text message cell phonesWith so many households eliminating landline phones, the volume of 911 calls from cell phones is rapidly increasing. Callers may not be aware that the current technology to detect the location of a wireless phone is only accurate within 164 to 984 feet. This includes both latitude and longitude. For example, if a 911 call came from within a high-rise building, first responders are unable to determine the floor or sometimes even the building where the 911 call originated.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing new rules for cell carriers to help improve the accuracy of location information transmitted with 911 calls. The proposal asks wireless providers to meet interim location accuracy metrics that would be sufficient to identify the building and deliver vertical location information that would enable first responders to identify the building floor level.

In the long term, the FCC is seeking to develop more granular indoor location accuracy standards that would require identification of the specific room, office, or apartment where a wireless 911 call is made.

Unfortunately, the major cell carriers as well as CTIA – The Wireless Association are opposing the proposed changes. Cell carriers argue that the technology does not currently exist to meet the new rules. Privacy advocates have expressed concern with the proposed changes and how the location information might be used outside of emergency response.

We certainly hope that both the cell carriers and the FCC can agree upon achievable goals that will help first responders quickly and accurately locate citizens in need of help.

Learn more: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-acts-help-emergency-responders-locate-wireless-911-callers

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/cellphone-verizon-sprint-911-emergency-call

Customer Spotlight: Harnett County, NC

Harnett CountyWe are pleased to present our latest customer spotlight case study featuring Harnett County, North Carolina. The case study details how Harnett County utilized a Rapid Notify mass notification alert during a missing person situation.

Harnett has been a Rapid Notify customer for 10 years and has a great deal of experience using mass notification to communicate with residents. Previous uses of the system by the county include emergency alerts for boil water notices, suspicious persons and tornado shelter locations.

When local law enforcement was notified of a missing elderly woman, they requested assistance from Harnett County Emergency Services with a targeted Rapid Notify alert.

With Rapid Notify’s precise Geographic Information System (GIS) option, messages can be delivered to a local neighborhood or an entire county area. The county sent messages to all residents within a 4.5-mile radius from where the elderly woman was last seen.

Read the full Harnett County Case Study today.

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