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Mass notification lights a fire under emergency response

About two hours down Interstate 5 from Seattle, on the outskirts of Olympia, lies Lacey, Washington, a city of about 40,000 people. But small doesn’t mean sleepy: Lacey Fire District III (the subject of this free online case study), an emergency response team helps a citizen in need every 55 minutes.

With more than 140 employees and volunteers and supporting 75,000 residents in a 70-square mile section of north Thurston County, WA, Lacey Fire District III responds to more than 10,000 calls per year, including 7,800 for emergency medical services.

And as you can imagine of any fire district making hourly calls, if multiple fires or other emergencies occur at the same time, resources get stretched ridiculously thin—meaning that everyone’s time must be used effectively.

Until recently, however, when the fire department put a mass notification system in place, that wasn’t happening.

Before updating their systems, the fire district relied on an archaic, time-intensive, manual phone-tree system to alert firefighters, paramedics and other responders. When an emergency arose, personnel were required to stop whatever else they were doing so they could join in on calling duty—trying to reach emergency workers and volunteers by phone, no matter where they were.

Time-consuming? Yes. Resource-restrictive? Definitely. And with several different people dialing out at the same time, it was difficult to track responses and next-to-impossible to manage more than one emergency at a time. (To say nothing of the fact that phone lines were tied up in the process, making it more difficult for county residents to even report another emergency in the first place.)

Enter MIR3 partner, Wide Area Rapid Notification (WARN), to help the fire district find a mass notification solution.

Together they chose the MIR3 Intelligent Notification platform. Reliable and versatile, Intelligent Notification provides rapid two-way communication that allows Lacey Fire District III to issue voice and text notification to desk phones, cell phones, PDAs, pagers, fax machines, and email accounts.

Now firefighters and paramedics are automatically notified during emergencies, leaving other personnel to concentrate on their primary tasks. Mass notification also lets alert recipients respond to communications—and automatically tracks all responses.

And there’s more good news: Following the success the fire district has seen, other agencies in the Pacific Northwest are exploring their mass notification options as well.

Rapid, two-way mass notification from MIR3 allows the Lacey Fire District III crew to mobilize dispersed volunteers quickly and reliably, greatly reducing time to respond. To learn more about how—and to find out about the results achieved—download the case study today.