Customer Spotlight: City of San Mateo, California

This month we are pleased to shine a spotlight on the City of San Mateo, a valued customer of Rapid Notify for many years.  The City of San Mateo is a well-established community located in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of approximately 100,000.

Over the years, San Mateo has issued numerous Rapid Notify alerts to protect and inform its citizens. Situational uses have varied from traffic advisories to mountain lion spotting to armed suspects.

“Our patrol officers know to ask for a Rapid Notify message in certain situations, “ said Sgt. Dave Norris of the San Mateo Police Department.  “They work with our dispatchers to make sure the public is alerted quickly, with pertinent details and necessary actions.”

San Mateo PoliceAn important key to the success of an alert is not only the speed at which it is delivered, but the quality and clarity of the message it delivers. The San Mateo PD has carefully crafted a multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank script to generate message content on the fly as each situation presents itself. Dispatchers can plug in relevant details such as event location and appropriate actions for citizens to take. The result is a pre-approved, recording-ready message script.

San Mateo has generously provided an example of their script outline below.

The following is a PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT from the San Mateo Police Department. The San Mateo Police Department is actively investigating an incident involving _______.  In the area of ________ . Residents in this area should_______ (Stay inside, secure all doors and windows, etc.) and wait for an “all clear” message when the immediate threat has been resolved. The Police Department will issue a follow-up message and provide any available further details when the incident has been resolved. During the duration of this incident, please avoid calling the Police Department via 911 for any issue other than an actual emergency. Thank you for your assistance.

“We have been very impressed with the capabilities of the Rapid Notify system,” added Norris. “Sending alerts to specific map locations is a must.”

The City of San Mateo is not only using the GIS Mapping option, but the community self-registration portal as well.  With as many as 25% of households using cell phones instead of landline phones, the need for self-registration is greater than ever.  Accurate contact information is an essential part of municipal and government public safety programs.

The self-registration portal is specifically designed to help organizations improve the quality and quantity of information used for mass notification.  In addition, the portal ensures that mass communications are privacy compliant by offering opt-in and opt-out capability.  Self-registrants complete a short online form with their contact information, indicate their preferences for notification, and select a secure login enabling them to return and update contact details as often as needed. The portal quickly plots address locations on a map and presents them to the registrant to verify or reposition the pin to the exact location of the address.  Confirmed addresses are geo-coded into the Rapid Notify mapping system, which enables organizations to target emergency and mass communications to individuals in specific physical locations.

“We are proud to provide a communication system that helps to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of San Mateo,” said Steve Sipe, president of Rapid Notify. “Rapid Notify has been the provider of choice for municipalities across North America for more than twenty-five years.”

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