Emergency notification technology to improve communications, mobilize first responders and keep residents safe
February 16, 2009
"Ketchikan now has a more rapid way of notifying our community of events, both emergency and non-emergency," said Jim Hill, City of Ketchikan Fire Chief. "The City of Ketchikan is committed to providing fast and efficient emergency response to our community. Critical situations can arise at any time," he added. "We firmly believe that DCC's REVERSE 911® system will aid us in our communications efforts and ultimately help us preserve the safety and well-being of local residents, provide us with an information avenue, and give us one more way to provide professional services to our community."
An integral part of DCC's public safety offerings, the REVERSE 911® system is an emergency notification solution used effectively in thousands of U.S. communities and counties. It is proven to dramatically enhance the lines of communication with the general population and/or targeted groups (e.g., first responders, volunteers, etc.). For The Greater Ketchikan Area, the system will provide immediate notification in the event of weather alerts, missing children, hazardous materials incidents, or many other threats to public safety.
"Just [last] week, only a week after our first training session, we activated our REVERSE 911® to help us get the word out regarding the land-slide at Mile-5 North Tongass Highway and we were very pleased with the results," said Assistant City Manager Dave Martin. Chief Hill added, "We had planned on testing the system and doing more training for a couple months. We wanted to make sure everything was ready for the cruiseship exercise planned for April and have a full-scale test, but the need was there and we were confident the system would work for us. We had an opportunity for a real test during a real problem and we were successful."
In 2008, the City of Ketchikan received a grant for $77,000 from the State of Alaska's Department of Health and Social Service Public Health Preparedness Program for the installation of the system, with funding from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. Ketchikan's new REVERSE 911® system will be assessed by the CDC and the state for possible additional funding opportunities in other Alaskan communities. The need is there for Public Health related information getting to the public quickly and accurately and the REVERSE 911® system gives us the ability to get this information out quickly. It also provides an avenue for the public to get information and updates related to outbreaks or other health related events.
The REVERSE 911® system is designed to provide map or list-based communications with key audiences. Geographic calling zones are easily created based on immediate circumstances (i.e., Amber alerts, chemical spills) or ahead of time, based on anticipated needs (i.e., flood plains). Calling sessions to names appearing on specified lists such as: City and Borough employees, first responders, Neighborhood Watch, Hospital employees, etc., are also quickly initiated, ensuring a faster, better-orchestrated response. Patented features like REVERSE911.NET® allows neighboring communities to create their own calling network when needed, often augmenting crisis communications throughout entire regions.
"The REVERSE 911® system is playing a key role in protecting public safety in communities across America," said Scott Alfieri, DCC President. "We congratulate Ketchikan on their REVERSE 911® certification and are honored to now serve their emergency notification needs. We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship."
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