Startup seeks to keep emergency vehicles safe on the streets

Active911

(Grand Rapids, MI) Like many of its counterparts across North America, the Grand Rapids Fire Department in Michigan is grappling with an unfortunate side effect of continually improving auto engineering and technology – namely, people crashing into its fire engines and endangering emergency responders.

The system has been developed by HAAS Alert, a company started in Chicago in 2015 after co-founder Cory Hohs was nearly hit by an ambulance while on his motorcycle.

Hohs says he believed there had to be a better way to inform motorists that emergency vehicles were approaching, so he and co-founders Jigar Patel and Noah Levens got to work on building a wireless warning system.

They’ve since sold a hundred U.S. cities – Grand Rapids is the largest so far – on their system and have tested it in a number of other markets, including Winnipeg.

The company has landed deals with a number of emergency-vehicle manufacturers including E-One, Ferrara Fire Apparatus and KME to directly build its tracking technology into trucks, as well as with after-market outfitters such as Code 3 and Active911.

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Vernon County jail upgrades include new emergency alert system

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(VERNON COUNTY, MO) A Southwest Missouri jail is upgrading security for its lockup.

A new video surveillance system means jailers have more options for keeping track of inmates. New monitors make it easier to keep tabs on the dozens of cameras trained on jail cells, a project paid by funds from the jail commissary. They’ve also added a new communications alert called “Active 911.”

“A fire or automobile accident, or whatever the case is–that information gets pushed to their cell phone device through this Active 911 system, giving them the details of the call, the address of the call,” Sheriff Jason Mosher explained.

The Nevada Fire Department first started testing the the system. Vernon County emergency dispatchers have now adopted Active 911 as well as smaller fire departments throughout the county.

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Outage Debrief – October 31 2019

What Happened

On Oct 21st at 11:46 ET our internal monitoring alerted us to a problem.  After investigation, we discovered our real-time communication service that enables us to provide response buttons, device position updates, and chat messages was not responding.  The service was restarted and the problem was fixed by 12:12 ET.

What went Wrong

  • We were investigating and monitoring a memory leak problem.  Our projections told us we had a couple of weeks left before we needed to take action, but we had an unanticipated spike in memory consumption that moved the timeline up.
  • We had to make some manual adjustments to connect to the right server that added a couple of minutes to the outage.

How we’re fixing it

  • We’re making sure to eliminate those manual adjustments we needed to make to connect to the server.
  • Despite logging 40 hours against finding the cause of the memory leak, we are no closer to a fix.  We’ll be setting up a meeting to determine how best proceed to minimize and eventually eliminate the impact of this problem and service.

Community Shows Support For City Of Lenoir Fire Station 3

Active911

(Lenoir, N.C.) At least 100 local residents visited City of Lenoir Fire Station No. 3 Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, during an open house hosted by the Fire Department.

Station 3 has a two-screen digital monitoring area where firefighters can read information and follow fire calls. On one screen, the battalion chiefs post ride lists, calendars, and announcements. The second screen shows Active 911. When a call comes in, firefighters can see the call location on the map and nearby fire hydrants. During a call, the Chiefs can see the location of all the trucks coming to the scene in real time and can direct them to the closest fire hydrants. Each fire truck and Battalion Chief vehicle also has a tablet equipped with Active 911.

“It was nice to see how we’ve advanced with technology in the department and how we can follow our trucks and firefighters during a call,” Councilman Ike Perkins said. “I was so impressed with the whole building.”

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Active911 Helps Hopkinsville Police Keep the Media Informed

Active911

(Hopkinsville, Ken.) Hopkinsville media outlets are at risk of losing access to local law enforcement channels on police scanners [due to privacy and security concerns]; however, Hopkinsville Police Department is working on a solution that keeps the media informed and keeps the agency in compliance with state and federal regulations.

“Local news outlets rely on these radio channels to inform the public of emergencies in our community,” said Brandon Cox, publisher of the New Era. “This isn’t a ‘media’ thing. This is about the public’s right to the access of information. It’s about public safety, and yes, it is at times about transparency.”

Thursday, Hopkinsville Police Captain Erik Pacheco emailed local media outlets explaining the solution could be an app called Active911.

Active911 is a digital messaging system that sends information instantly to the recipients, such as location, type of call, time, date. The app would interface with dispatch communications and alert the specified recipients in real time.

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Active911 Allows Police and Fire to Team up with Public Works for Any Call

Active911

(Crystal, Minn.) The day-to-day partnership between Crystal, Minn., public works and police departments and the West Metro Fire-Rescue District is a very intentional one that has exceeded expectations for successful outcomes. When this effort started a number of years ago, the goal was simple: we consistently act as a cohesive team when responding jointly to emergency calls within the city, with each department bringing its skills and abilities to the problem as appropriate.

In Spring 2019, a call was received of a vulnerable adult who had walked away from a building in the city. Public works supervisory staff saw the call come in (via the Active911 app) and reached out to the police supervisory staff to see if they would like some assistance in searching for the missing person. The police department responded they would and within 10 minutes of the initial call time, unified command was established at the site where the missing adult was last seen. Public works staff divided up into teams of two and were given neighborhoods to search along the railroad tracks. Police staff checked the major commercial areas and prepared media notifications. Due to the search area size, one department could not have efficiently checked the area alone. In less than one hour of the initial call time, one of the public works teams located the individual nearly 1.5 miles away from the spot he was last seen.

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Outage debrief – September 19 2019

What Happened

On Sept 19th at 12:22 ET we deployed some code to enable us to send a silent notification to all iOS users about the upcoming iOS 13 release. With iOS 13 coming out in a matter of hours, Joe made the decision to push these changes as a ‘Hotfix’ which favors expediency over thoroughness. Our internal monitoring caught it within minutes, it was recognized as an outage and the fix was in production in under an hour.

What went Wrong

We rushed the notification, and it bit us.

  • We had a fix for the iOS 13 problems in beta for weeks ahead of the release, but we failed to release early enough.
  • We did not do enough regression testing around core functionality before releasing a hotfix.
  • We rolled to backup servers first, but did not wait long enough for our monitoring to catch the problem before we rolled to our production servers.

How we’re fixing it

  • I’m going to take a look at our release process to identify why the beta stayed in beta so long.
  • We are evaluating what is worthy of a hotfix and evaluating the steps we take in each hotfix deployment.
  • We’ll ensure we give our backup servers enough time to alert us to problems before we continue with a production release.

 

Outage debrief – August 31 2019

Summary

On August 31 at 16:08 ET our monitoring alerted us that one of the services that enable us to provide response buttons, device position updates, and chat messages was not responding. Multiple attempts to recover the service failed, so we rerouted to a backup, restoring full functionality at 18:12 ET.

What went wrong

  • Our warning monitoring did not detect a problem when it should have.
  • We did not reroute to a backup as fast as we could have.
  • We lacked the ability to reroute quickly for this particular service.

How we’re fixing it

  • We’re updating our warnings to let us fix the problem before it becomes one.
  • We’re attempting to break our test environments to identify what triggered the service to become unstable.

 

Park Rapids City Council Secures iPads to Run Active911 on Engines

Active911

(Park Rapids, Minn.) Regarding budget choices the finance committee left up to the city council, significant discussion was devoted to a $1,000 request by Fire Chief Terry Long for a tablet and data service to patch the lead fire engine into Active 911 while en route to emergency calls.

Long said the tablet could help firefighters locate hydrants and estimate the arrival time of firefighters responding to a call.

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Rapid Notification System coming to ACSO

Active911

(Atascosa County, Tex.) Atascosa County EMS Director Don Penny stated, “…With Active 911 and the CAD system, it will allow our EMS crews to view maps and dispatch information pertinent to the situation in which they are responding. The Sheriff’s Office, Fire and EMS will all be receiving the same information and it will allow a more coordinated effort among the agencies. In incidents involving multiple agencies, it will greatly improve safety of the first responders, victims and the public. This is an invaluable upgrade from our past communication methods and will improve emergency response time across Atascosa County.”

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