Rapid Notify is continuously striving to add exciting features and options that benefit our customers. We are often surprised to hear from long-time customers “I didn’t know you could do that” when discovering these system enhancements for the first time. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of our outstanding capabilities that you may or may not be aware of.
Standard System Features
- Unlimited Emergency Messages – No charge for emergency notifications sent via voice message or email.
- Interactive Responses – Receive immediate feedback with touch-tone surveys to poll alert recipients regarding response efforts, location status, etc.
- Reporting – Dashboard access to detailed, downloadable delivery and status reports for each alert recipient.
- Delivery Options – Instant, scheduled and recurring alert delivery options allow you to respond to immediate situations or plan notifications in advance.
- Custom Reply-To and Caller ID – Enable an email alert recipient to reply directly back to the address you specify and select your valid Caller ID number for identification.
- Multiple Contact Numbers – Assign up to three phone numbers to the same contact record in addition to an SMS Text number and email address.
Optional System Features
- Automated Severe Weather Warnings – Automated and geographically targeted alert notifications are delivered via SMS Text message and/or email moments after being issued by the National Weather Service.
- Online Self-Registration Portal – Capture complete contact information directly from your website with opt-in, self-edit, and opt-out capabilities, keeping your data up-to-date and addressing privacy concerns.
- Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping – Powerful GIS map selection tools can help you target your emergency notifications by geographic location. Create map-based lists with complete contact information including addresses (including self-registrants).
- Communications Desk – Send and receive SMS Text and Email messages and responses from a central dashboard. Instantly communicate with organization members individually or as pre-specified groups. Powerful staffing module enables you to share and fill shift openings with individuals, groups or priority groups.
- Master/Sub-Account Structure – Organizations with multiple locations can utilize a Master/Sub-Account relationship with customizable levels of visibility and control.
- Inbound Toll-Free Number – A dedicated Inbound Toll-Free Number option provides a dedicated dial-in number for callers to hear your latest recorded voice message at any time.
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.”
An 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.”
The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that provides education and research around information sharing and data interoperability associated with GIS and advanced technologies used by the public safety and homeland security communities.
Rapid Notify customers that use the optional Geographic Information System for mapping may be interested to know that the NAPSG offers free web-based training to public safety and GIS practitioners. The online workshops are inter-disciplinary, including fire service, EMS, emergency management, and law enforcement. For example, an upcoming topic for June is “Map the Risks Before the Incident – Learn how to create pre-incident plans using GIS.”
For more information and to learn about upcoming events, please visit: http://www.napsgfoundation.org/events/upcoming-events