Tshirt Blog Pic

Interested in winning an $800 Galls gift card? Then send us your awesome t-shirt designs! We are looking for sweet original art work done by our members that we can print on our 2018 t-shirts!

How the contest will work:

After the designs have been submitted, there will be a week of voting. The top 10 finalists after the voting period ends will get feedback, and be given a week to make tweaks to their designs. We will then pick the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

Rules: 

  1. Participants must be 18 years or older.
  2. Each person may submit up to 3 design entries.
  3. Even though you may submit 3 designs, you can only win one prize even if all 3 designs place in the top 10 of voting.
  4. Only submit original work made by you. Your design should not contain Active911′s nor anyone else’s logo, art, or material.
  5. Active911 has the right to use all art that has been submitted as we wish.

Round 1

  • All entries need to be submitted by 11:59 pm PST on December 3rd.
  • Link to voting will be provided via email, FB, and Twitter.
  • Voting will begin at 4 pm PST Dec. 4th and go until 11:59 pm PST December 10th.

Round 2

  • Top 10 finalist will be notified by 4 pm PST Dec. 11th.
  • Feedback will be sent out to finalist by 4 pm PST Dec. 13th.
  • Finalist final designs must be resubmitted by 11:59 pm PST Dec. 20th.
  • Winners will be notified by 4pm PST Dec. 22nd.

How to Submit your Design:

  1. Submit your design(s) to contact@active911.com.
  2. Put “T-Shirt Contest” in the subject line.
  3. Include your name, department, and email address.
  4. Also if you have a name for your design, we would love to hear it!

Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $800 gift card to Galls & a t-shirt.
  • 2nd Place: $400 gift card to Galls & a t-shirt.
  • 3rd place: $200 gift card to Galls & a t-shirt.
  • 4th-10th place: $100 gift cards to Galls.

Emergency Reporting Integration

Hi Everyone!

Today, I’d like to tell you about an integration we have been asked for for years that we were finally able to get going. Over the last few months, we’ve been working with Emergency Reporting to start pushing Active911 alert data automatically into ER to make report generation more seamless.

How it works:
Emergency Reporting will be able to generate an agency code for you by filling out this form.
Once you have an agency code, in the agency tab of Active911 is a new spot for integrations. Select Emergency Reporting and put your agency code in the box.
Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 2.49.48 PM

From there on out, each CAD message Active911 receives will be populated as an incident in Emergency Reporting. In this initial pass, we hit some of the major fields we know we get on a regular basis like the time we received the CAD message, the address, city, and state, and any information in our notes section as the narrative. We have set this integration up to respect the duplicate detection options in the Agency tab, if your dispatch sends multiple messages that add additional information for the same alert, we will pass that additional information to the correct Emergency Reporting incident. Additionally, the incidents Active911 sends will have it’s own Incident Number for the year, starting at 1 each year and incrementing up for each successive call, which will be independent of other systems that populate incidents. You could theoretically have an incident number from some other place that ER has identified as 2017-4356, with the last Active911 incident being 2017-55. The next Active911 Incident will be 2017-56, not 2017-4357.

Where we are heading with this integration:
Our early testers of this integration have told us the next step is populating the apparatus times from the CAD’s closeout/run report. We’re working on a reliable way to parse that information when it is sent to us, then passing it to Emergency Reporting correctly. If you want to get that information into ER, the first step is ensuring you are getting closeout/run report information from your CAD sent to Active911. The next step is ensuring those calls are labeled as RUN REPORT in the call section. If they’re not, shoot us a quick message and we will make sure to fix it. From there, once we’ve figured out that reliable format, we’ll start sending that info to Emergency Reporting.

Feel like something is missing from the integration? Let us know

Quick iOS release to fix bugs with a couple features

Today we are releasing another update to the App Store with a few more fixes and a couple of new features.

 

Features/Changes

One change we’ve made to address the issue of needing to wait to download a lot of alerts before you can access the latest one: calls now load from newest to oldest in the alerts list.

Also there’s another new feature in the alerts list view; with this release you can now manually pull to refresh if you ever need to make sure your list is fully up to date:

IMG_2223

 

We’ve also added a new option when sending an alert from the app for ‘non-emergency’ which can be used to send notifications with an alternative ringtone. With this initial version we’ve picked a default tone for these types of alerts (The ‘Hose Cart’ ringtone), but in the future we would like to make this fully customizable (being able to choose your ringtone for different types of alerts):

IMG_2220

 

 

Bugfixes

This release also includes a few bugfixes:

  • Fix for position reporting to keep stationary devices from disappearing off the map.
  • Fix for a fairly old bug that frequently caused the alerts view to become unresponsive/frozen.
  • UI fix for the ‘off but available’ duty status option.
  • Fix for a crash in the assignments view when the categories refresh due to reassignments.

New Windows Apps Update!

Today we launched an update to all three of our apps for the Windows platforms. For our PC app this means a regular update with new features, but this also brings our phone and tablet apps much more in line with the PC. Therefore our phone and tablet apps have a new look and feel and have been given all the features that the PC app has.

phone_alert_detail tablet_alert_detail

In these images of the phone and tablet apps, you can see that they have an almost identical view layout.

In addition to the updated views and feature parity with the desktop app, there have been a number of new features such as:

  • New feature to send chat messages within an agency
  • Added turn by turn directions to the desktop app
  • New AVL reporting feature in the desktop app allows you to push personnel positions to another program
  • New colors have been added to map icons
  • Added the ability for the desktop app to preview ringtones before selecting them

And some improvements and bug fixes include:

  • Improved the way we keep an active connection to Active911 which is much more stable
  • Uses more readable font size on locations
  • Update Available popup no longer nags the user and blocks the use of the app

Crushing bugs in the new iOS version, released today!

For this release we mainly focussed on bug fixes and internal updates for better compatibility with newer versions of iOS.

In order to move forward and make some essential changes/fixes we have had to increase the minimum version of iOS that we support with this release from 6.0 to 8.0. We will try our best to keep the existing version of the app working for you if you are stuck on 6 or 7 but it’s getting more difficult to support so it’s unlikely that we will provide any new builds with new features for these version of iOS.

One of the many benefits of this minimum version increase is that we were finally able to update to the latest version of Google maps which is more stable and more performant.

Also in this release we’ve added a few fixes:

  • Fixed a problem that started in iOS11 where stationary devices would stop reporting their position while using precise background position reporting.
  • Also we started getting reports of certain features (responses, position reporting, chat, etc.) not working on some T-Mobile cellular devices. We tracked it down to an issue with the underlying XMPP and sockets libraries having issues on IPv6 only networks and so we updated them and added a bugfix to address this problem.
  • Lastly in response to some feedback we received on the chat feature in the last release, we’ve included a way to enable/disable it via the website and that ties into some changes included in this release.

 

New Android Version Released Last Friday!

A new version of Active911 for Android has been released last Friday. The version number is 1.5.8.5. You can get it from the Play Store with the following changes listed below.

New Features:

Unassign Devices

You can now un-assign devices from an assignment.  For yourself, you can do this from the Settings View.

First, select the “Active911Assignment” option under the Agency.  Then, select “Automatic”.

Screenshot_20171002-171814Screenshot_20171002-171743

This will unassign you, defaulting to “Unassigned” unless you have a different assignment scheduled in the calendar.

You can also do this from the Personnel View.

First, long-press a device you want to unassign.  If you want to unassign multiple devices, tap each other one you want to unassign until all are highlighted.

Then, tap the dropdown and select “Automatic”.

Screenshot_20171002-171129  Screenshot_20171002-171137

Now, hit “ASSIGN” to apply the changes.  You can choose to make the update “Silent” or “Notify Users” if you want their ringtone to sound.

The selected devices will go back to “Unassigned” unless they have another assignment scheduled in the calendar.

Screenshot_20171002-171145  Screenshot_20171002-171204

 

Email Alert Report

You can now send an email of the alert report.

First, go to the alert report by tapping “Report” in the Alert View.

Screenshot_20171002-171258

Then, hit the “EMAIL REPORT” button.

Screenshot_20171002-171302

This will bring up an email with the Alert Report as well as the Alert’s details in your default email client.

Screenshot_20171002-171318

 

Dark Theme Maps

If you are using either of the Experimental Dark themes, the Map View will now be dark themed as well.

Screenshot_20171002-171432

 

Marker Colors

We have now added additional marker colors, so you can now choose any of the following:

    • Brown
    • Purple
    • Yellow
    • Pink
    • Green
    • Fluorescent Green
    • Light Blue
    • Black

Real-time Marker Updates

Location marker changes now update in real time.

If you update the location or color/icon of a marker on one device, all other devices in your agency will immediately see the changes made to the marker.

 

Bug Fixes:

  • Uninstalling the app now clears the app’s data.
  • Fixed a bug where multiple lines in the notes field would cause “Send Alert” to return an error.
  • Fixed a bug where the settings menu wouldn’t show pagegroups after startup.
  • Fixed a bug preventing the report view from showing data.

Recent outages – explanations and resolutions

Over the last few days, Active911 has had several problems we should have anticipated but did not. We have already described some potential iOS 11 problems, but we should elaborate on the other problems and what we are doing to fix them.

Webview/PC App Not Connecting or getting Alerts:

There had been a difficult to find and diagnose bug that would cause Webview to not connect to our servers when there was a combination of lag between the Webview client and slowness with our severs. Yesterday, we had a chain reaction start that led to ~100 Webview devices encountering the bug, overloading our real-time communication services ability to log people in, causing delays in being able to tap response buttons and get real-time updates.

How we fixed it:
We isolated the Webview bug and rolled a fix last night to all Webview clients. If you are still encountering problems with Webview not connecting, a force refresh should fix it. To force refresh on Windows, hold Ctrl+F5, for Mac hold Cmd+Shift+R. If after a force refresh you are still encountering problems, we have added a test button in the settings menu that will help us further fix the problem. Please run the test and copy the output in an email to support@active911.com.

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.15.32 AM

In addition to rolling the fix, We thought we could resolve the problem by making some server configuration changes, which worked until this morning, at which point our developers concluded our real-time update service that should be able to handle the load could not and needed to be completely replaced. This morning we built a brand new server that can easily handle what our old one could not. Responses and alerting should now be faster than before.

Assignments randomly missing:

When we were building assignments, we decided to test some experimental technology that had the potential to help us make better software. Once we deployed assignments and started to really use and interact with that technology, we kept running into problems and unexpected difficulties, which is why assignments has been in beta for so long. In this past week, the assignments server started to be unable to handle the load we were putting on it, causing it to often return nothing instead of what the apps were asking for. This increased load also slowed down the startup process of all our clients, resulting in odd behavior like alerts not showing up in the alerts page.

How we are fixing it:
With the unexpected side effects of alerts not showing up, we had to turn off assignments. Today, we are rebuilding the pieces that became overloaded and we will be migrating fully migrating off the experimental technology we were trying in the upcoming week or two. Once the new assignments server has been built up and tested, I’ll update this post.

Is your Active911 app having issues since downloading iOS 11?

Recently, Apple had their large September event about all their new upcoming products (anyone else excited about iPhone X?) and the release of iOS 11. A new operating system is always exciting, but it generally takes Apple a couple of updates to iron out all the operating system issues. We do our best to confirm our app works on the newest operating systems, but this time we were caught flat footed and may have missed a couple of things. We have taken steps to further refine our testing of upcoming operating systems so we will be able to proactively fix problems instead of having them reported.

We’ve been getting reports about problems our users have experienced after updating to iOS 11. We are in the middle of preparing a new version for the store that has a re-paging option, an option to disable chat, some bug fixes and a few other things. While preparing the release, we are also digging into some of the issues that have been reported to get our app working smoothly in iOS 11. Apple can be counted on to push out updates to new operating systems for bug fixes once they hear about them. There have been fairly widespread reports amongst app developers of issues across many different apps in this latest OS. Apple’s OS updates over the next days/weeks should help to remedy the situation in addition to the work we are putting in.

A problem we are encountering with this particular OS update is an update to Apple’s development platform and its associated developer tools. Apple has cut off a lot of legacy support, telling us we need to make several widespread changes to things that hadn’t been broken, but Apple now considers broken. In order to rebuild and debug for iOS 11 we have several developers going through a long overdue process of modernizing a lot of the internals of our app to get it up to speed as quickly as we can for the next release.

In the meantime, if you rely on Active911 & iOS devices, we definitely recommend holding off on updating to iOS 11 until we get all of this sorted out.

If you have already downloaded iOS 11, and are having issues try uninstalling the app and reinstalling it. That has been fixing some issues for our users. If that doesn’t work, then please contact our support team by phone or email. Our phone number is 541-223-7992 or support@active911.com. They just need to know what the issue is and what device model you are using.

 

 

 

 

Better Alert Types

This is how we currently classify alerts

The pie chart is getting an upgrade

We have added some features to our website so alarms can be classified by type.

Many of you are familiar with NFIRS codes.  Codes starting with 100 mean “fire”.  For example:

NFIRS 162. Outside equipment fire. Includes outside trash compactors, outside HVAC units, and irrigation pumps. Excludes special structures (110 series) and mobile construction equipment (130 series).

NFIRS is a US standard, but we have modified our system to support other systems as well.  Currently NFIRS is the only classifier that is programmed; if you want another classifier, you will have to let us know what your system or country uses.

  1. We have added a column on the alerts tab that lists the alert type for easy reference
  2. You can select an alert type by clicking on the alert and scrolling to the bottom of the window.
  3. You can do a full text search by name or by code number.  We have also reorganized the codes into an easy-to-browse list. When you have made a selection, push “save”.
  4. “See also” suggestions, if any, will be displayed below the description.  NFIRS codes are complicated, we have tried to make it easy to choose the right one.
  5. We are adding a server component to learn from your selections and auto-select types for future alarms. In order to train our server, we are asking users to log into their web consoles and manually classify a couple dozen recent alarms.  We can use this data to perform machine learning.

Some users have pointed out that a machine can not be accurate 100% of the time, especially since an alert classification often changes based on what is found on scene.  A “651 smoke” alarm might turn into a “111 Structure Fire” or a “733 Smoke detector malfunction”.  This is reasonable. To ensure clarity, human classified alarms will be shown in dark letters with the full 3-digit code on the Alerts tab.  Computer classified codes will show the century digit only and will be grayed out.  For example:

111 Fire (black, 3 digits) = Human classified

100 Fire (gray italics, 1 digit) = Computer Classified

Of course, if the computer gets it wrong you can always correct it manually.

The next step (once alarms are being classified right) is for us to update the pie graph to show the new classification system.

 

 

 

A Good Tech Policy Will Make Your Department Safer

Active911, like other modern tech tools, is a great help for emergency responders.  I just got back from a trip to Saltillo, Mexico where the local FD has used Active911 successfully to reduce their average response time by over 50%.   Most departments in the US already have low response times but still benefit from the communications and coordination that Active911 provides.

But what happens when we have a server outage and these tools suddenly disappear?  As a leader in a tech organization, it’s not a subject I really want to talk a lot about because, well, we’re not supposed to go down.  Ever.  Nevertheless, it happens.  Several weeks ago we got a call from a department  who had trouble reaching their local responders because of a completely unrelated internet problem miles away in Texas.  It wasn’t our “fault” or theirs, but something in the internet caused our servers to be unavailable when they needed it.

Events like this underscore the fact that we must all have a plan in place to deal with unexpected outages, and we must make sure that everyone knows and practices the plan.  To this end I’ve written a policy writing guide to assist chief officers in creating a tech outage plan.  This guide can be useful not only for dealing with Active911 but for any tech service with lots of moving pieces.

I encourage all administrators to examine the tech that they rely on and ensure they have a plan in place for when, not if, that technology, suffers an outage.   Even if you never have to use it, you’ll be prepared to take care of the people who depend on you when the unexpected happens.