Active911 Helps Hopkinsville Police Keep the Media Informed

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(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

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(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

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(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

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(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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Firefighters’ Medical Crash Course Aided by Active911

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(Cook Islands) Puaikura volunteer fire brigade member Trish Barton was at home in the middle of the night earlier this year, when she heard a crash – right outside her house.

It was a motorcyclist who had come off his bike. She sent an alert through her Active911 app, and three other first responders came to her assistance within minutes.

They performed CPR on this patient until the ambulance arrived. Sadly the outcome for this patient was not favourable – but another motorcyclist was luckier at the weekend.

Puaikura firefighters were on their way to training on Saturday morning and were able to treat the critically injured young man, until the ambulance arrived.

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Another Active911 Admin chosen 2019 Firefighter of the Year

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(Washtenaw County, Mich.) Lieutenant Michael Grissom of the Dexter Area Fire Department is Washtenaw County’s 2019 Firefighter of the Year. An experienced firefighter when there is an emergency, it is Lt. Grissom’s work behind the front lines that have earned him the honors.

Lt. Grissom facilitated the use of the mobile app “Active 911,” which puts the pertinent information for a call right into a first responder’s smartphone. In addition to medical information, the app shows the location of hydrants, the location of other emergency vehicles in the area, and what type of vehicles have responded.

Active 911 also enables responders to communicate with one another efficiently. The app replaces the outdated, problematic CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system where first responders would receive a printout and transmit vital information from there.

Michael also found a way to repurpose radios destined for destruction. Deftly moving around the red tape that governs every action of a fire department, Lt. Grissom salvaged specific components of hand-held radios to help improve some failing receivers in the Sheriff’s department.

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Sales Tax and Active911

What Admins Need to Know  

Why? The recently decided Supreme Court case South Dakota v. Wayfair determined that states could sue businesses which conduct transactions within their state, including online businesses not from their state, if they do not collect sales tax.

Who? Agencies in states that are taxing Active911, starting with: CO, LA, MS, SC, TX, IA, OH, RI, SD, TN, UT, WA, and WV.

What if we are tax exempt? If your agency is exempt, you will need to upload a copy of your sales tax exemption certificate the next time you renew. You will be required to upload this form every time you renew to be exempt from sales tax.

If you are not exempt, you don’t need to do anything. When you renew your Active911 subscription, sales tax for your state will be added if you live in a state that collects sales tax.

All agencies will be required to add a billing address to their account for sales tax purposes.

When? This requirement is set to go into effect immediately. However, your agency may not be impacted by it until you renew your subscription.

How to Upload Your Exemption Document 

Your usual renewal process is not going to change. You’ll still check out the same way, you’ll just need to upload the sales tax exemption certificate as part of the process.

Here is what it looks like:

1. Start your purchase.

2. Choose your preferred payment option.

3. Enter your billing address.

4. If you live in a state that collects sales tax, you’ll be prompted to upload your sales tax exemption certificate now. Click the Upload Document button and select the proper file.

5. Sales Tax will become $0.00. Once you see the “Upload Successful!” message, you’re ready to confirm your order.

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Questions?

Please email support@Active911.com if you have any questions about this process, or if you have any trouble uploading your tax documents. We answer a majority of emails within 48 hours.

If you need immediate help, you can also call 541-223-7992 at any time to speak to one of our Customer Support Members. They answer the phone in the first ring cycle 75% of the time, so you’ll always speak to a real person who works in our office.

Southwest VFD celebrates 60 years, highlights need for volunteers

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(Jacksonville, N.C.) Southwest VFD Chief Ray Silance explained that at the offset of the department, there was a blaring alarm system that notified the entire community of a fire.

“Once everybody heard the horn they would respond to the station,” Silance said.

That system eventually gave way to the 911 calls that Southwest VFD currently uses, according to Silance. And the evolution hasn’t stopped. The latest improvement the team uses is a phone application called Active 911 that alerts the chief and others to who is available to answer any given fire.

″(If) no one is there to volunteer to answer then no one is coming. That’s why it’s important to volunteer.”

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