OnSolve® CodeRED® Effectively Bridges Multiple 911 Call Centers
Some emergency alerts sent out through ArapAlert, the Arapahoe County 911 Authority’s emergency alert system, weren’t being received by citizens who signed up for the service. And the vendor that provided the technology powering ArapAlert couldn’t explain why.
After putting out a call for proposals, the Arapahoe County 911 Authority found that CodeRED provides more features and functionality than the other options. And since CodeRED began serving Arapahoe County, ArapAlert messages have been getting to citizens by phone, text, email, social media and the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, without interruption.
CodeRED works well across PSAP boundaries, helping call centers and emergency responders better coordinate their response to events.
The Arapahoe County E911 Emergency Communication Service Authority, in the metropolitan Denver area, includes six 911 call centers, or public-safety answering points (PSAPs). The authority serves more than 288,000 citizens over 712 square miles, which encompasses all of Arapahoe County except the city of Aurora. The authority district varies from rural, on the east side, to urban on the west, toward Denver.
Messages Not Getting Through
Emergency alerts transmitted through ArapAlert, the Arapahoe County E911 Emergency Communication Service Authority’s emergency alert system, weren’t always getting to citizens as they should, said Bruce Romero, executive director. And the vendor that was providing the service for ArapAlert was not following up with Romero’s reports of problems. “The investigative process was always very difficult, and they were never able to give us a good answer why messages did not go out,” he said.
Problem Solved: CodeRED
But that problem has gone away — ever since the Arapahoe 911 Authority switched to CodeRED to power ArapAlert. Romero said, “We’ve been quite happy with our customer support with CodeRED.” To comply with purchasing policies, the Arapahoe 911 Authority issued a request for proposals to solicit bids from vendors to provide an emergency alert solution for ArapAlert. “Our current vendor was welcome to submit a bid,” Romero said. “But based on the features, functionality and price value, we found that CodeRED was the way to go.” “The most important part of ArapAlert by CodeRED is to notify our public in the event of an emergency,” said Romero. Using the web- based CodeRED product, ArapAlert notifies citizens about severe weather, police activity, unexpected road closures, missing persons, and evacuations of buildings and neighborhoods. CodeRED uses geo-location to target alerts to regions impacted by specific events and sends alerts via users’ preferences, such as voice, text or email. And CodeRED is fully integrated with the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) to send alerts via the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems. In addition, the city of Glendale uses CodeRED to notify residents of events held at Infinity Park, home of the only municipally-owned rugby stadium in the nation. “And I can see us using CodeRED for major road construction updates,” Romero said.
CodeRED Coordinates Call Centers
“One of the real benefits we like about CodeRED is that we’re able to build a system that allows our PSAPs (public-safety answering points or 911 call centers) to launch notifications for one another.” (The authority includes six call centers.) “So, if there’s a major event at one PSAP — and they’re too busy to do the launch for themselves — all of our PSAPs have the ability to launch anywhere within our authority boundaries.” This capability also comes in handy for evacuation orders that cover multiple PSAPs. A call center can launch a CodeRED alert for other PSAPs, with their permission.
Promoting ArapAlert and CodeRED
To help more citizens and people who work in Arapahoe County benefit from ArapAlert by CodeRED, the Arapahoe County 911 Authority is advertising free registration in newspapers; at movie theaters, on screens in the lobby and on movie screens before every showing; on tabletop ads at restaurants; and in lobbies of public agencies. Printed ads include QR codes to connect smartphone users directly to the registration page of the ArapAlert website. Romero said that the authority may also advertise on billboards and in light rail cars. “In the advertising, we’re saying, ‘Do you live, work or play in Arapahoe County? If so, you need to sign up for ArapAlert.’”