Boston-area Agencies Relied on ECN for Post-blast Crisis Communications

Less than thirty minutes after two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, multiple agencies within the Boston area utilized ECN’s massive dialing infrastructure to quickly send critical communications to both runners and the public.

On Monday alone, more than 228,000 calls, tens of thousands of texts and emails, in addition to 700 CodeRED Mobile Alert app notifications kept citizens informed of critical public safety messages specific to their areas.

For one ECN client who utilizes the CodeRED high-speed notification system, part of the marathon path took runners directly through his town of Newton, Mass. “The Boston Marathon goes through Newton, and it was enormously helpful to be able to utilize the Code RED system in specific geographic areas on marathon day,” said Lt. Bruce Apotheker, spokesman for the Newton Police Department. “In addition, when the state advised a lockdown of Newton and neighboring communities on Friday, April 19th, the system was very useful in helping us to keep our residents informed throughout the day.”

Brookline Police Department in Massachusetts also relied on ECN’s proprietary technology to deliver nearly 30,000 telephone calls specifically related to the Boston Marathon explosion. Their EMT Division initiated calls before 3:15 p.m., less than a half hour after the bombs exploded near the finish line.

On Tuesday, ECN client Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used the CodeRED system to notify students, faculty and staff of a suspicious package on campus. More than 20,000 calls were launched in 11 minutes and 18,000 text messages were sent in three minutes, allowing MIT to proactively communicate with their campus community during a time of heightened awareness and vigilance. MIT used the system to send a follow-up “all clear” message 15 minutes later, and the campus was again notified in just over 10 minutes.

The system saw critical client use Thursday and Friday as MIT launched a succession of thousands of text messages almost every hour to students, faculty and staff related to an active shooter on campus, suspicious package reported, class cancellations and to stay home and indoors. Messages were received in less than three minutes of initial launch.

Beyond MIT, CodeRED clients across Massachusetts including Lexington, Cambridge, Newton, Arlington and Plymouth proactively used the system to engage SWAT teams and deployments, “shelter in place” warnings to the community, among city transportation and office closure messages. Before noon on Friday, clients used the ECN infrastructure to deliver nearly 2 million calls, hundreds of thousands of text and email notifications, as well as thousands of notifications through the CodeRED Mobile Alert for location-specific smartphone alerts.

Because the ECN system is monitored 24/7 by live, in-house technical and client support teams, calls were initiated seamlessly, amid reported network congestion at critical times Monday, overnight Thursday and through Friday.

“ECN understands and takes very seriously the huge responsibility of providing agencies this type of technology, especially when it is needed to help prevent the loss of additional lives. Beyond the Boston Marathon tragedy, our clients have trusted us for crisis communications during the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy,” said David DiGiacomo, ECN President. “That’s why we continue to own, maintain and manage our entire infrastructure so that when tragedy strikes, our systems work exactly as we and our clients expect them to.”

Media and Analyst Contact:

Victoria Borges
Senior Director, Strategic Communications