Emergency Notification Systems
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DSC Tech Library

Emergency Alert Systems

Emergency Notification Systems This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Emergency Broadcasting Systems and Disaster Recovery Applications. Should an emergency arise in your community, our 911 broadcast service can deliver large volumes of calls quickly using thousands of phone lines simultaneously. In the event of a blizzard, wild fire or devastating flood, your community can be notified quickly given specific instructions if an evacuation is required using our emergency broadcasting service. If a dangerous chemical spill occurs in your community, you can target specific areas to call. If a severe snow storm hits your area, your community can be notified of school closings or event cancellations.

The following article relates to emergency broadcasting and how it is used in various communities today. This information was obtained from the internet with attribution to the author and/or community.

Local emergency broadcast system passes first real test

By Craig Salters/ csalters@cnc.com

There wasn't much good news in a late January storm which dumped more than 30 inches of snow on Cape Cod and left many residents with unplowed roads, scattered darkened homes and freezing temperatures.

But there was one silver lining: the Yarmouth Police Department's new system of broadcasting emergency bulletins directly from its headquarters passed with flying colors.

"As far as we know, everything worked well," said Yarmouth Police Patrol Officer Nick Pasquarosa, explaining how, for the first time, Yarmouth police were able to directly interrupt the normal broadcast of local cable access channel 18 and provide useful bulletins throughout the storm. In the past, officers wishing to broadcast information had to travel to Town Hall accompanied by a volunteer technician.

Using the new, simplified system, made possible by the purchase of a $150 converter and a PowerPoint program, police issued bulletins updating road conditions, providing hotline numbers for utility companies and detailing guidelines for the emergency shelter at Station Avenue Elementary School. The information, all sent from headquarters, was updated between 15 to 18 times as the storm ran its course.

Pasquarosa said providing residents with information as quickly and efficiently as possible was an important part of relieving emergency responders from that task, enabling them to concentrate on more pressing matters.

"If folks can handle it on their own, it frees us up to do what we need to do, which is plenty," said Pasquarosa.

He added that removing the need for technical assistance, as well as a time-consuming trip to Town Hall during storm conditions, were also benefits.

"We don't have to drive at all now," said Pasquarosa. "We're the police, not television guys."

Although the new system's goal is information rather than entertainment, Pasquarosa did say the bulletin screens were "aesthetically pretty good" and that care was taken to make the broadcast look as professionally done as possible.

In addition, Pasquarosa said police had the ability to broadcast pictures as well as bulletin screens, meaning that future storms could see town officials talking directly to residents with hourly updates.

Pasquarosa said he was not aware of any other town on Cape Cod having such capability.

Pasquarosa acknowledged that, despite the system upgrade, the emergency broadcast system still had one unavoidable drawback: in the event of a power outage, residents would be unable to access the broadcasts.

"The Achilles heel is the power," said Pasquarosa, adding that Yarmouth did not see significant losses of power during the big storm.