Training Thursday: What is the difference between Background GPS and Foreground GPS

Let’s talk about GPS on your Active911 device for today’s Training Thursday. Last June, we released a new feature that allows devices to show on the map in the Active911 app even when they have the app in the background on their device. Before this point, your device would only show up when you had the app open or in the foreground on your phone. Here’s a little more detail about each:

Foreground GPS

Having this turned on means that your device will only show on the map when you have the app open on your device. You will still get routing even if you turn this off.

If you choose to turn this off, you will not be seen on the map and you won’t get routing to an alert in the app.














Background GPS

We created this feature mostly for devices that are in an apparatus, so the members of the department can tell where they are located even if they exit out of the app. There are a couple of settings that you can choose for the background GPS

    • Reduced Accuracy (iOS) / Battery Saving (Android) – if you choose this option, your device will show up on the map even when you don’t have the app open. However, your phone won’t constantly be pinging the GPS satellite, so it saves your battery a bit.
    • Precise Accuracy (iOS) / High Accuracy (Android) – this option will use a lot of battery juice because it will be reporting your location constantly. We recommend you have a charger nearby or have these devices constantly hooked up.
    • Off – This means you will not be reporting your position on the map when you have the app backgrounded. This is the default setting whenever you download or update your device.


Training Thursday: How to test the Active911 System to see if it is down

This week I was in San Diego for Firehouse World and a question came up that I thought would be a great Training Thursday blog post. The question was, “how do I know if Active911 is down or if the issue is on my dispatch side?” This is a very common question and yet I somehow didn’t think about posting this till now!

There is actually a very simple way to check if our system is down and here are the steps you should take.

  1. Login to the Active911 website through the member access area and go to the Agency tab.
  2. Locate the Active911 email. It is below the pie chart and starts with some numbers, a dash, and then a mix of letters and numbers. Like this:

Example of an alert email address


       3. Copy the alert email address and open your personal or work email to compose a message.

4. Send an email from your work or personal email address to the alert email address. The alert email address is the same as any other email address. Anything that you send to it, will go to all the devices on the account as a “general alert”, so make sure you put test in the body of the email.

If the email gets to your device or you see it on the alarms tab of the website, then our system is working. We recommend contacting your dispatch center at this point.

If it doesn’t go to your phone or you don’t see it on the alarms tab of the website, then contact us!

Let us know if you have further questions about this and happy Thursday!


iOS 1.5.21 available in the App Store

One of the new features in this release is the addition of themes that change the look of the app:


The Light theme is currently the default and should look pretty familiar since it is mostly the same as the previous default, but has updated icons, fonts, and various other style tweaks throughout the app.

The Night theme is an experimental theme which inverts most of the colors from the light theme and it also includes a dark map theme if you are using google maps.

And last but not least is our Battalion Blue theme which is part of our effort to provide a more unified look and experience across all of our apps and services. This theme uses our new brand colors and you’ll also be able to see our new logo in the icon for the app in this release.


We’ve got one other exciting feature in this release which isn’t as obvious/visible: we’ve added support for the app to be able to connect to a separate, secondary set of servers for our new users in Latin America.

Training Thursday: How to download a device list

We released this feature a bit ago, but wanted to highlight how an admin or someone with the edit devices permission can download a device list.

  1. Login to in the member access area and click on the “Devices” tab.
  2. At the top of the devices tab, there is a “+Download Device List” button. Click on that button.

3. Once you have clicked on that button, a window like the one below will pop up. You can then select what information you would like to download.

4. If you select the top check box, all categories will be selected. Otherwise you can choose what information you would like.

5. Once you have selected the information you want downloaded, click “Submit.” A CSV file will get downloaded with the list of devices and the information that you wanted about them.

Training Thursday: Do you know how to customize your response buttons?

This week for Training Thursday, we decided to create a blog post showing you how to customize response buttons! This can be done on our website, but you must be an admin or have the edit agency permission.

Here are the steps:

1. Go to and login under the member access area.


2. Once logged in, click on the agency tab and scroll down to the bottom.

3. At the bottom there is a response vocabulary section with 5 boxes. The defaults in the boxes are, “Resp”,”OnScen”,”Cancl”,”Avail”, and “Unvl”.

4. Click on a box and it will highlight. 

5. Then you can enter in the response you would like to use up to 6 characters.

6. Once you have added it, the box will turn green and the apps on your agency will be updated the next time they are opened.

If you have further questions about how to make these changes please contact us at!

New iOS Version Released Today!

We released a new update for the iOS app today that includes a few features and a couple of bug fixes. The version number is 1.5.20.



Badge App Icon

We’ve enabled the badge app icon feature for displaying how many unread messages you have:

You can enable or disable it in your iOS Settings -> Active911 -> Notifications -> Badge App Icon


Chat Sound Notification

If this is turned on you will hear a bell when you receive a chat message (with this version it is only enabled while the app is open).


Page Everyone Confirmation

Now when you go to send an alert to “Everyone” in the pagegroups, there is a confirmation box that pops up. This is to help prevent accidentally paging everyone in your agency. It only pops up if you haven’t yet selected a pagegroup other than “Everyone”.



  • Included fixes for a couple of cases (on iPads and older iPhones) where the call details were sometimes being truncated.
  • There’s also a fix for cases where responding to a notification or opening the app from a notification wasn’t marking the alert as read.


New Android Release!

This is a small release for the Android App, but the new version is

The new feature for this release is notifications when a chat messages comes in.

This can be enabled per agency in the settings of the app.

Once enabled, the app will play a “bell” sound whenever a chat messages in that agency is received.

Note: This will only work while the app is open.  While the app is backgrounded, the client leaves the chat room, so it does not know when a chat message is sent to the room.


There is one small bugfix in the app as well.

Previously, the Dark Theme would highlight response buttons in white when selected.

Since the text for the response buttons is also white, it would be impossible to read the name of select response buttons using the Dark Theme.  Now, the response buttons are highlighted in blue instead.

Training Thursday Tip: Continuous Re-paging Feature

Happy New Year Everyone! We are really looking forward to a great 2018! We are on another short week due to the holiday, which means we didn’t get to making a Training Thursday video. Instead, let’s talk about the new continuous re-paging feature on Android and iOS devices. Windows it’s coming soon! We’ve been getting quite a few questions about it so we wanted to help make the feature more clear.

Continuous re-paging was created with the deep sleeper in mind. It will continuously make an audible sound at you until you acknowledge it in some way. The sound will be the tone that you have selected for your agency in the settings of the app.

Here are the specifics for both clients to help add some clarity to the new feature:

iOS devices:

If you have this button turned on (the switch will be green), you will need to open the app or respond to get the audible to stop making a sound.

Android Devices:

If you have the continuous re-paging box checked in your settings of the app, you will need to either open the app, or expand or swipe away the Active911 notification in your notification bar.

If you have “Auto-Open” set, you will need to interact with the alert to make it stop ringing.

If you have Popup Dialogue set, you can click any of the buttons to turn off the continuous re-paging option.

If you have Original Auto-Open set, you need to interact with the alert by tapping any of the links, or even just scrolling down to see the notes.



Unread Chat Messages & Continuous Re-paging in the New Android Release!

Today we are releasing Android  Here are the new features and bug fixes for this release:

New Features

– Added indicator on chat icon with number of unread messages

The icon for chat throughout the app now includes a number badge indicating how many unread messages you have across all your agencies.

Going into the chat list, you can see how many unread messages each individual agency has

In the settings, there is now an option for “Continuous Re-paging”.

Turning this on will cause alerts to continue their ringtone until you either:

  1. Open the alert in the app


2. Expand or Swipe away the Active911 Notification(s) in your notification bar

Note: If you have “Auto-Open” set, you will need to interact with the alert to make it stop ringing.

For the Popup Dialogue, you can click any of the buttons to turn off the continuous re-paging option.

For the Original Auto-Open, you just need to interact with the alert by tapping any of the links, or even just scrolling down to see the notes.

We also added long-press capability to copy address from alert detail view. You can now long-press the address of an alert to copy it, just like any other field in the alert view.

Bug Fixes:

– Fixed issue where Map Markers would not show the right agency when editing

– Fixed issue where the settings view would break on large tablets



Upcoming Active911 Server Maintenance

Hello Everyone,

We will be performing urgent server maintenance from 23:00 to 04:00 PST tonight, December 28, and 17:00 to 21:00 PST tomorrow, December 29. During these windows you may experience intermittent outages. Our developers will be communicating status via Twitter which can be followed from our twitter account or our main page.

If you notice any issues after these scheduled windows, don’t hesitate to call us at 541-223-7992 and press 9.

More Detailed Explanation:
We just received unexpected news from one of our data centers that they will need to turn off our servers to physically move them to a new location. Unfortunately, the servers they want to move contain critical services we depend on to be available 24×7. To make sure our services stay up and reliable, we will be offloading those critical services. Our master database is one of those things we will need to migrate, which could cause some complications if our new master encounters some difficulties. While we are not anticipating difficulties, if there are problems we may have brief periods of lost data or unexpected bugs. We have specifically chosen this maintenance window during the slowest period of alerting to minimize that possibility as much as possible.

The window on the 29th will be focused specifically addressing the need to migrate those services we depend on. We’ve been working hard ensure maximum uptime and availability, and we will be moving some experimental pieces into place as a backup system while our servers are being physically moved. We have been building confidence in these experimental pieces by testing it heavily with internal use, but there is a chance a couple of bugs could be present while it is performing in a backup capacity. These pieces will enable us to easily and seamlessly react to temporary data center outages without any chance of interruptions in the future. We want to make sure the pieces we put into place work as we expect them to while serving as a temporary backup while our servers are being migrated.

We appreciate your understanding as we do this work and extend our best wishes for a smooth end to 2017 and a happy new year.