- Norwalk, CT Municipality
- 2016 Quarter 1
- Two-Way Communication
Warnable was a game changer for the city of Norwalk. Having served in in law enforcement for close to 30 years and providing safety inspections / recommendations for a variety of institutions, I haven’t seen a system that comes close to being able to equip a building population to stay informed and respond. The tie-in with Norwalk’s first responders and dispatch allows us to respond more effectively to situations. With a direct line to all members within a building, we are able to receive data points that we may not have had otherwise, which can be critical during time-sensitive events.
- Deputy Police Chief, Ashley Gonzalez
Print VersionRead More
The city had been searching for a way to better equip staff members with the tools to keep them informed of emergencies and other situations. Previously, the city tried walkie-talkies, emails, group text messaging, and one-way mass notification systems. However, during emergency preparedness meetings, the issue of effectively disseminating and communicating emergency response plans and situations consistently arose. The head of emergency management for the city of Norwalk had been approached by almost every other existing provider, yet was still unsatisfied with what those providers had to offer. Given the responsibility over multiple buildings, there was a distinct need of the emergency management chief to be able to easily coordinate the response across structures. Also, due to the open-floor style layout of the city hall, it was of utmost importance to quickly reach all staff and equip them with the tools needed to respond, particularly given the scenario of a lockdown. With 11 different buildings, and no way to effectively communicate situational awareness amongst them, they turned to Warnable.
Warnable created a solution designed specifically to meet the town’s needs. After speaking with the city’s stakeholders, Warnable created environments for each of the city buildings. The buildings then had the ability to report up to specific organization-level or first responder super-users depending on the event.
A list of super-admin, admin and user accounts was carefully designated for all staff in a manner that would enable swift communication but allow for screening / efficiency. Specific privileged users could trigger a city-wide alert within seconds, but other user-specific permissions meant that alerts could be verified at the building level before being escalated further. Alerts can also be made to require approval, or an administrative review before it goes to the intended audience.
To enhance notification, Warnable created a multi-modal response that would reach users within different channels: 1) App push notifications, 2) Emails, and 3) Desktop phone notifications. With the Warnable app and email, specific response plans are clearly displayed. Additionally, staff could mark themselves in as safe or use the chat to communicate relevant events For the desktop phone notification, Warnable integrated with existing systems so that when an alert was sent, each phone would be overtaken and emit a loud, distinct sound.
Warnable also integrated with the city’s 911 dispatch center and first responders. This provided a top-down and bottom-up coverage. Alerts sent from the buildings would be seen by the relevant parties. At the same time, dispatch/first responders could now send a message down, creating one communication channel as “the truth” from the first responders. The goal of this was to cut down on the amount of panicked 911 calls that can overwhelm dispatch, and allow them to effectively communicate with many people at once within a building.