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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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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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.

Read more…

The Latest App Updates from Active911

You may have noticed a general release hit your phones last month! Here’s what we were busy working on: 

iOS 1.6.3 

  • Map Scale Factor – Adjust the size of your map for easy viewing
  • Map Marker Density – Adjust the size of map marker icons
  • Map Layer Toggle – Toggle off map layers that you don’t need
  • View PDFs with layers
  • Clearer error messages
  • No Internet Connection notification bar in maps when you don’t have a signal

Android 1.6.9.3

  • More information for lock screen notifications
  • More information for Android wearables
  • Map Layer Toggle – Toggle off map layers that you don’t need
  • Keyboard has a “Done” button to return to screen
  • Read banner alerts now mark as read
  • Fixed obscured text in Battalion Blue theme

The following features will drop later this month, when our Beta testing team is done trying to break them. Huge shoutout to the Beta users who alerted us to the following issues in the next release so we could fix them before it went out!

iOS 

  • New “Critical Alerts” feature replaces previous “Override Silent” feature for devices using iOS 12 and newer. Devices using versions of iOS older than iOS 12 will see the existing “Override Silent” option. A big thanks to user Simon Allard for advocating for this new iOS feature!
  • Made it easier to select options within the “External Links” section of an alert
  • Fixed a bug that prevented shared map data from appearing within the in-app mapping system
  • Fixed a bug that caused the app to crash when “Apple” was selected as the mapping source
  • Receiving routing within the in app mapping system upon opening the app for the first time shouldn’t require a force restart/extended wait – A big thanks to user Mark Potts for identifying this problem!
  • Adding map data icons within the in-app mapping system will correctly display the map data icon that was selected, rather than the default “flag” icon
  • Fixed bug that prevented devices with the “send alert” permission from sending alerts via the in app workflow – A big thanks to user Kevin Miller for identifying the problem!
  • The app badge counter updates after using the “clear all alerts” feature

Android

  • Our beta testers identified six separate issues that were causing the app to crash, most of which were mapping related. This release contains solutions for those six crashes. Please let us know if using the mapping system is still causing the app to crash for you.

Want Access to New Features a Month Before Everyone Else?

We are always looking for Android and iOS users who are willing to test new features and give us feedback via a short email survey.
Our surveys are less than 10 questions and ask users to rate each new feature on a scale of 1-5 after using the new release for at least a week. It takes less than a minute, and we get valuable feedback that makes Active911 better for everyone we serve. Email Active911 with your name, device type (Android, iOS, or PC) along with your device email to get signed up for the Beta testing program for your device.

Echo Rural Fire Protection District Keeps on Truckin’

Active911

(Echo, Ore.) — In a city that spans less than 1 square mile, an unassuming fire station sits at the edge of downtown.

Today, the ERFPD is able to respond to emergencies using an app called Active911, which provides key dispatch details right to a first responder’s phone. But Enright, who joined the fire district volunteer crew in the early 1970s with her late husband, Tom, who was fire chief, remembers a different time completely.

“When we joined, they didn’t have a paging system,” Enright said.“We had less fire trucks and old equipment.

Instead, there were three fire phones — including one at a local tavern — and whenever the district got a call, the crew would run down to the station to set off the fire alarm.

Read more…

 

Coming this July: Map Layers and Android Wearables

Active911

We have been hard at work on many invisible improvements to reliability and redundancy to make Active911 more dependable. But some recent improvements are available for you to enjoy right now! These include:

  • Deleted chat messages stay deleted: Previously, old chats kept popping up. Now they stay deleted, even if you  delete and reinstall the app.
  • Map Icons: (iOS) Previously, when you added icons to you map, you had to close out and reopen the app to see them, but now they are there instantly.
  • Fixed simultaneous alerting: Our system can now handle a higher volume of CAD emails per alert.

Our next beta release will be June 19 and it will include: 

  • Map Layers – Isolate icons in any combination to see only the resources you need.
  • Android wearables get more call info: We had been limited on how much information we were pushing to wearables, but now Android watches and devices get more detailed info on each call.

These improvements will be available to everyone after the July 19 client release.

Coming  Fall 2019: 

  • Chief reports – Get more out of your Active911 data with reports by call volume, call type, group, and number of responses.
  • Shift Management Tools
  • Custom events – Schedule trainings, classes or meetings in Active911
  • Webview improvementsYou have been asking for improvements and added features that would catch this platform up to your other Active911 resources. So we’re listening. Custom events, weather layers, and an updated look are all coming this fall.

If you’d like to be a beta tester, email us and let us know your device type (iOS or Android) and the email associated with your device. Giving feedback is easy! We send out an email with each beta release and tell you what’s new. Just use the app for a week and then complete the quick in-email survey to let us know about your experience.  

Mapping Inaccurate?

A frequent piece of feedback we get about the app in the Facebook Support Group is that mapping isn’t working the way it should. We know you rely on this feature to get you where you need to be!

Inaccurate mapping can be caused by a few things:

  • Broken parser
  • Incomplete parser
  • PSAP abbreviations/shorthand

All of these problems can be fixed by our support team, but we need a few pieces of information from you before that can happen. If you’re unable to use the mapping feature because of inaccurate routing, please contact support and provide them with:

  • Your Agency name
  • Alert # for a recent call that did not map correctly
  • The correct location of the call

Customer Interviews

Please be on the lookout for messages, calls or emails from Active911! Calls from us come from the 541 area code. We will never ask for any personal information or try to sell you anything.

Our Product Manager and Happy Customer Manager are trying to reach customers for brief interviews on a variety of topics to get feedback that will help us improve your experience. It’s part of an initiative to make our app better at serving you.

Consumers Energy breaks ground on Tawas service center location

Active911

(Baldwin Township, Mich.) Consumers Energy officials have said ground has been officially broken on the agency’s new Lincoln Street service facility, with crews already stationed and working out of the area, according to Senior Public Relations Director Debra Dodd.

Some of the tactics being piloted in Iosco County include a new active 911 app for public safety personnel and public safety outreach team members to improve incident monitoring.

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Fire department contract with Active911 OK’d

Active911

(Lisbon, Ohio) Village Council this week gave the fire department permission to contract with Active911, a software program and service for emergency services personnel that sends alerts directly to cellphones, tablet and computers.

Firefighters are currently issued pagers to carry at an annual cost of $9,450. The Active911 software and app will cost $390 a year for 30 firefighters (there are 27 currently), but Little said they wanted three additional apps should the need arise.

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Active 911 is changing the way emergency personnel communicate

active911

Company Name: Active911
Headquarters: Corvallis. OR
Signature Product: Active911 app
Website: https://www.active911.com/index.php

1. Where did your company name originate from?
Active911 comes from the idea that, using modern computing technology, we could make the alerting and response of emergency personnel “active” instead of passive – that is, we could track agency members and other responding agencies, as well as provide mapping, hydrant and building information and take an active role in dispatch.

2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
In 2011, our CEO was a volunteer firefighter with a problem. He used to get SMS text messages from dispatch, but he was unable to give them a distinctive ringtone because they came from random phone numbers. MMS text messages did not have this problem but were not reliable. On one occasion, his MMS text message was so delayed that he arrived to find someone washing down the rig. He had missed the call due to faulty technology and his reluctance to wear a bulky, old pager. That is when he started a software project to process 911 alerts to his phone.

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Chat by Group on Active911

Active911

So many of you have voted at the Active911 idea portal to tell us that chat notifications and chat by group were needed features for the Active911 app, and we listened.

We are happy to introduce these features to the latest version of the Active911 Android and iOS apps to help make communication easier and more seamless for your agency.

Update iOS Now

Update Android Now 

An Overview of Chat by Group

With this new feature, your chats will go out to your entire page group, and those group members will be notified of your message without receiving an Alert. Any individual will be able to initiate chats in any unlocked group. Your notification settings for chat by group will mirror those that you have set for that agency. The “Everyone” group still works the same.

You can Favorite certain groups so they are always easily accessible, and you’ll also always be able to see the three most recent groups that you have been active in. It’s also possible to search for groups by name.

Notifications by Group

There are three options for notifications:

  • Receive alerts when the app is CLOSED: You will get chat notifications whether the app is open or closed.
  • Receive alerts when the app is OPEN: You will only get chat notifications when the app is open.
  • NONE: Receive no chat notifications.

These settings are labeled the same in Android and iOS.

Please note that we introduced this feature with the default for chat notifications set to NONE. This is to prevent your phone from blowing up before you are familiar with the feature. 

Not getting notifications? Check these three things first: 

  1. Is your phone’s external sound control set to silent?
  2. Do you have notifications enabled for the Active911 app in your general settings?
  3. Do you have chat notifications enabled within your page groups?

How to Use Chat by Group and Turn on Notifications:

Turning on Notifications:

    1. Go to the settings in your Active911 app
    2. Scroll down to your agency and tap on “Chat Notifications”

3. There you can select to receive messages when the app is open, closed, or none.

 

How to chat by group:

  1. Tap on the chat icon in the menu bar.
  2. The main chat tab will show all of your agencies that have chat turned on by an admin.
  3. Tap on an agency and now you will see a favorites, recent, and groups sections.

4. Tap on a group to send messages to people in that group.

5. In the top right corner of a group is a star. If you tap on this star, you will favorite that group. This means that you will receive notifications for that group (if you have those turned on), and it will appear at the top of all the groups.

Questions? Please email support@active911.com or call (541) 223-7992 to talk to a real-life support tech 24/7.