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Power Plant Dispatches First Responders Swiftly with InformaCast

Protecting Your Most Important Asset

In every organization, the most important asset is the people that work there, and keeping them safe is a top priority. Technology is being leveraged in innovative ways to make people aware of life threatening situations and help efficiently manage a response.

Sending Assistance Where It’s Most Needed

This was the recent case at a nuclear power facility in Georgia when one of its personnel experienced a medical emergency. First responders needed to be called and directed to the area where the employee needed assistance. Given the size of the facility, this could prove challenging if the proper tools weren’t used.

However, the facility was able to utilize InformaCast, its emergency notification system to help the distressed employee. The Operations Duty Manager broadcast a message asking for assistance throughout the facility using InformaCast and Cisco phones. This immediately alerted first responders, one of whom was able to reach the employee in just a few minutes, with five others following close behind. They were able to assist the employee, who was sent to the hospital for further evaluation.

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Topics: Case Studies, emergency communication

Partners Shine Spotlight on Emergency Communication During HIMSS 2017

Combined Solutions Offer Quicker Response Times

We’ve already taken a look at what this year’s HIMSS conference has to offer (see that blog here), but there is even more opportunity to see how emergency communication technologies will play an important role in healthcare.

Singlewire is partnering with several leading companies to demonstrate how adding InformaCast to existing technologies can enhance safety and communication in any organization. This can lead to better patient care and faster response times during a crisis.

Twice the Power for Patient Care

Spectralink will be showing off its wireless phone, Pivot at booth 6445. Pivot runs on Android which means users can download the InformaCast Mobile app for emergency communications on the go. The phone is also able to receive messages from InformaCast such as Code Blue, intruder and 911 alerts. Visitors will be able to see how the InformaCast Mobile app looks on Pivot phones.

Learn more about InformaCast uses for healthcare

Stanley Healthcare will showcase how it is improving patient safety by using InformaCast and its RTLS badges at booths 5761 and 8361. The badges track patient whereabouts, and when tied to InformaCast, can send alerts when a patient is outside of his or her designated area. These alerts can be programmed to go out on overhead speakers and be prerecorded with the voice of a patient’s family member.

Learn more about patient tracking and InformaCast

The partnership between Cisco and InformaCast continues to grow, and new innovations will be on display during HIMSS. Stop by booth 1850 to see how Cisco Spark and InformaCast can be integrated to manage emergencies.

When an InformaCast message is distributed, it can be sent to a long list of devices and in a variety of message types. Now that list includes Cisco Spark rooms. When an alert is triggered, a Spark room will automatically launch, bringing together members of the safety or security team to begin managing any emergency.

Schedule a Demo, Win Big

At Singlewire booth 6970, our team will be demonstrating how the speed and reach of InformaCast can help your organization respond quickly to emergency situations. If you think InformaCast would be the right fit for your organization, talk with our team at the booth about scheduling a demo with your safety personnel to receive a $50 gift card.

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Topics: emergency communication, Conferences, Partnerships

7 Tips to Enhance K-12 Communication and Connectivity [INFOGRAPHIC]

Share Critical Information

At Singlewire, our customers have found that greater connectivity leads to better communications. In K-12 schools, there are many people to reach and many ways to reach them. Overhead paging, phones, and digital signage are just some of the ways critical information is communicated.

But disparate systems can make communication challenging, which in turn can lead to unnecessary risks. Our latest infographic offers seven tips for connecting systems and tools to enhance communication in your K-12 school.

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Topics: emergency communication, K-12, Infographic

K-12 District Improves Reach of Critical Messages with InformaCast

Three Schools, One Building

Necedah Area School District, a rural district located in central Wisconsin, houses its elementary, middle and high school in one building. With 700 students and 130 staff and faculty, communicating messages to the right audiences is a crucial component of running day-to-day operations smoothly.

Kris Saylor, director of technology, had the opportunity to renovate the district’s overhead paging system, he knew he needed a solution that would provide better reach than the current analog system. With three schools in one building, he needed to be able to designate messages for the right audience, and upgrade his speakers to ones that offered better sound quality.

“We had speakers placed every six feet throughout the school, but no one could hear anything,” said Saylor.

He needed a system that was flexible, easy-to-use and reached everyone. For that, he turned to InformaCast from Singlewire Software.

See how Necedah implemented InformaCast (VIDEO)

Bringing Everything Together

Using Advanced Network Devices, Saylor installed IP speakers throughout the building to provide clear audio and scrolling announcements. With the help of InformaCast he and his team have been able to drastically improve how they schedule bells, configure zones and send messages.

Currently, the district has zones set up to reach everyone in the building, a zone each for the elementary, middle, and high school, one combined middle and high school zone, one zone for outside speakers and one zone specifically for the gymnasium. 

This streamlined the steps needed to make a page, saving time when critical information needed to be shared. This includes scrolling text that appears on the digital displays of the IP speakers.

“What I like most is the usability of InformaCast,” explained Saylor. “It has a simple user interface and works without complications. And the potential to expand its use for other situations is very appealing.”

Download the case study

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Topics: Case Studies, emergency communication, K-12

Social Media Can Help and Harm During Emergencies

Influx of Information Can Cause Issues

According to the Daily Dot, our awareness of violent events has concurred with the rise of social media. As these channels become more ubiquitous, everyone is empowered to become a source for information. While this can help spread the word at the onset of an emergency, it can also hinder the response to an ongoing incident by adding confusing and incorrect information into the conversation.

Such was the case during an active shooter incident at UCLA in May of 2016. The Washington Post reported about misinformation spread through social media and traditional news outlets. Students were alerted through the school’s official notification system, but access to their phones meant they were able to look for additional information on other channels such as Facebook, Twitter and local news websites. This led to rumors about the number of shooters and their locations on campus that increased the fear and anxiety caused by the situation.

Download White Paper

Don’t Confuse Facts and Rumors

This isn’t the first time social media has caused an issue when responding to active shooter incidents either. During the San Bernardino shooting in December of 2015, the Press Enterprise reported similar challenges faced by law enforcement. While some information was useful in providing updates about areas that should be avoided, again rumors sprung up that added to the confusion. Despite more information being available, it’s increasingly more difficult to fact check that information’s accuracy during an emergency.

Similar issues occurred years earlier during the 2012 theater shooting in Colorado. People took to social media and law enforcement were forced to dig through distracting misinformation and hoaxes, and men with names similar to that of the shooter found themselves harassed by people who did not have the proper information about the event.

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Topics: Whitepaper, emergency communication, social media

Clear Communication Means Contacting People on the Right Channel

More Channels, More Opportunities

It can be easy to think of communicating with someone as a 1:1 task. You send one message to one device, in one format. But we live in a world where people can be reached in an almost unlimited number of ways. Email, text messages and social media have expanded the way we communicate with each other. Utilizing only one form of communication can be costly, especially during emergencies.

Tools that facilitate clear communication, regardless of circumstances, make it easy to send messages in multiple formats to multiple devices. During critical situations, it’s important to get information that keeps people safe into their hands quickly. Taking time to use multiple systems can cost precious seconds when a life-threatening situation takes places.

Download White Paper

Consider Real-World Obstacles

During an emergency, high volume can cause congestion on cellular networks. That’s why it is important to utilize multiple channels to reach people. For example, people in Boston experienced challenges during the marathon bombing attack in 2013. This issue arose when everyone used the network at the same time. This included the people in the area trying to make outgoing calls, and people outside the area trying to reach people inside it. This taxed the network and made it difficult for calls to get through.

Service providers advised people use text messaging and emails so emergency calls could get through. Phone calls can jam a network when too many are taking place at the same time. However, text messages and emails have a better chance of finding an opening for delivery when a message is sent.

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Topics: Whitepaper, emergency communication

Testing Emergency Communication Tools Ensures Effectiveness

Know Your Systems Work

Many solutions are currently available that promise getting critical information into the hands of people who need it during an emergency. However, simply setting up the tool does not guarantee it will work as advertised.

Testing regularly helps ensure successful deployment when they need to be used in real-world situations. Creating a testing plan that works in conjunction with emergency communication strategies helps build familiarity throughout organizations. This can assist in avoiding costly mistakes. 

Download White Paper

Errors Can Hinder Clarity

Even on the largest scale, errors can prevent smooth deployment of emergency communications. This was an issue the French government encountered during the terrorist attack in Nice in July of 2016. In anticipation of the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament being held in France, the French government launched an emergency notification app to keep people informed should an incident occur. However, according to the Huffington Post, during the attack, people using the app did not receive any information until nearly three hours after the attack commenced. The app, which uses geolocation to determine who to send alerts to, told users in Nice there were no incidents occurring during the attack.

A similar issue occurred in Kalamazoo, Michigan during an active shooter event in February of 2016. While an Uber driver went on a shooting spree around the county, the Western Michigan University security team failed to send out an alert to students through its channels. Following the incident, the university president said he would be reviewing the guidelines for how they address these kind of situations to keep students informed.

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Topics: Whitepaper, emergency communication

Get the Most Out of Emergency Communication Tools

Assess What You Have

A strong emergency communication plan utilizes tools that help spread information quickly and get it into the hands of people who need it. If a plan like this is not already in place in your organization (and even if one is) a good first step is to assess the tools and resources already in place and understand how to best maximize their effectiveness. This assessment can help identify weaknesses in plans and procedures already in place to correct them before an emergency occurs.

Download White Paper

Learn from Others

When developing an emergency communication plan, it’s important to look at what has worked, and what hasn’t, at other organizations.

For example, following tornadoes in Tuscaloosa Alabama in 2011, it was discovered that the Alabama Trauma System, a system designed to prevent hospital overload by helping reroute patients to other facilities, was underutilized. The system is supposed to help prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients that need trauma care. However, during the aftermath of the tornado, hospitals were finding either too many or too few trauma patients being routed to their facilities.

This was a result of communication taking place directly between ambulances and hospitals. Since they did not go through the Alabama Trauma System, patients were not routed in the most efficient manner.

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Topics: Whitepaper, emergency communication, healthcare

Prepare Emergency Communications for Winter Break and Beyond

Know Who is On Campus      

As the semester comes to a close, colleges and universities are working to make sure students get home safely, and campuses are secured for winter breaks. However, some students will be back sooner than others as some institutions offer shortened winter terms to help students catch up or get ahead in their studies.

With a limited number of students, faculty and staff on campus during this time, it may not make sense to have the same emergency notification plan as the rest of the year. Understanding who is on campus and what kind of situations can occur during this time help keep everyone safe and informed. But the students and faculty who won’t return until the semester officially begins may not need to be notified at the exact moment an incident occurs.

Download Our Clear Communication White Paper

Build the Right Group

With InformaCast from Singlewire Software, users can send emergency notifications to mobile and on premise devices to reach everyone when a crisis occurs. InformaCast also gives users the ability to create groups and designate zones to fit their needs. On college campuses this is used to reach every building, office, and person with critical information. During winter terms though, certain buildings may be closed, and large numbers of student and staff may not be on campus. 

Through InformaCast, administrators can set up groups specifically to reach those people, buildings and devices that will be in use during the winter term. This helps get the right information to the right people in the event of an emergency. It also prevents messages being sent to unnecessary parts of campus, and alerting people who would be unable to assist with the situation.

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Topics: emergency communication, Higher Education

WHITE PAPER: Clear Communication During a Crisis

Learn from Past Mistakes

No matter how well prepared people may think they are, when an emergency occurs, unexpected events can lead to disaster. Misinformation can derail even the best made plans, and lack of awareness can put people in unnecessary danger.

In our new white paper, we examine recent events that have been impacted by misinformation. From terrorist attacks, to school shootings and severe weather, efforts to keep people informed have been hindered by technical and user errors. This white paper looks at different strategies organizations used to manage emergencies and the issues they experienced when tragedy struck. You’ll be able to assess the current procedures in place within your organization, identify weaknesses, and deploy best practices to ensure successful communication.

Download White Paper

Plan for Any Scenario

The world presents an ever-growing number of challenges that make it close to impossible to anticipate and prepare for emergencies. However, with this white paper, readers will understand the obstacles other organizations have faced and how to overcome them.

Topics covered in this white paper include:

  • Preparing for an Uncertain World
  • Utilize What You Have
  • Testing Ensures Effectiveness
  • Contact People Using the Right Channel 
  • Social Media Can Help and Harm
  • Best Practices for Clear Communication
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Topics: Whitepaper, emergency communication

Singlewire Software

Singlewire Software develops and supports innovative voice applications centered around secure, fast, and reliable mass notification capabilities. More →

Singlewire Software
2601 West Beltline Highway, Ste 510
Madison, WI 53713
Phone: +01 608 661 1140
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