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Posts Tagged ‘AMBER Alerts’

Mass Notification Systems (MNS) in Disaster Planning

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Emergency managers are experiencing a “sense of urgency” about the importance of including mass notification systems in professional disaster plans.

A mass notification system is a means of delivering a message to a large set of recipients. The complexity of the system is often dependent on the type of message that must be sent. For example, a mass email might be sufficient to alert employees about a drill, whereas notifying individuals when a building is on fire would require real-time interaction, escalation, scheduling, rosters and fail-over scenarios. One such mass notification system is the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Homeland Security describes the system like this: “The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.”

At a recent international security system conference, emergency manager, Mike Madden, explained the sense of urgency about creating mass notification systems of all kinds: “I think we are beginning to see a trend towards MNS spreading to larger corporate campuses and large manufacturing facilities because of the very nature of these large complexes and violence in the workplace. People are looking at more options to protect their employees.”

Incidents like the bombing of the Khobar Towers in 1996 and the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 moved the concept and importance of mass notification to the forefront for government as well as secondary education. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are adopting mass notification systems for hospitals and clinics around the country. What’s more, large defense contractors like Boeing are starting to explore the need for bring mass notification for military bases.

Part of the reason for interest in the systems is a basic cost benefit analysis for business owners who realize that, in an emergency, a mass notification system can get everyone to rapidly assemble at the onset of a disaster and quickly return to work stations following emergencies. And time is money.

Peter Ebersold, director of marketing for Notifier/Honeywell Fire Group said that, post September 11, most people expect mass notification to be employed. And at airports, that’s probably true. However, such is not always the case. In fact, a host of public transportation stations and large commercial buildings have no such system in place.

Fortunately, the Allied Universal Training System features a fully-integrated messaging system, which allows all users to instantly communicate with tenant managers or occupants in any property, without the necessity of leaving the Allied Universal Training System. While logged in, users can easily send mass messages which are delivered to everyone located in one or multiple properties, simply by clicking “all,” or targeting particular groups. So subscribers of the Allied Universal Training System don’t have to invest in cost-prohibitive free-standing notification systems for their commercial properties.

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW Allied Universal Property Messaging System is included FREE for all Allied Universal Online Training System users. Visit www.rjwestmore.com for more information.

AMBER Alerts: 10 Ways to Help Kids BE SAFE

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Created in 1996, the AMBER Alert System is a legacy to Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in Texas. While she was yet missing, local residents called radio stations in the Dallas area to offer their help. The active citizen involvement, though tragically unsuccessful in Amber’s case, led to the creation of broadcast alerts to help thwart child abductions across the nation.

Today, AMBER Alert is a partnership program involving law enforcement agencies, broadcasters and departments of transportation. Statistics show that most children who are kidnapped and later found murdered die within the first three hours of being taken. During an AMBER Alert, urgent news bulletins are broadcast over airwaves and posted to highway alert signs to enlist the aid of the public to find missing children and stop perpetrators in the all-important hours immediately following child abductions.

The AMBER Alert system is based on the same concept used to alert the public to a severe weather emergencies. During alerts, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), formerly called the Emergency Broadcast System, airs a description of the abducted child as well as his or her suspected abductor. The purpose is to instantly galvanize the entire community to search for and safely return abducted children. Studies show that when ordinary citizens become the eyes and ears of law enforcement, lives can be saved.

Allied Universal users can access the amber alert national map from their Allied Universal homepage:

  1. Under “Your Resources” click “More Emergency Info.”
  2. Open the “More Emergency Info” PDF and scroll down to the “Satellite Imagery” section.
  3. Click on “Global Incident Map” and select “Amber Alerts.”

So how can average citizens help?

  1. Be on the lookout for abducted children and suspects.
  2. If you spot a child, adult, or vehicle fitting an AMBER Alert description, call 911 immediately and provide authorities with as much information as possible.
  3. Each state or regional program has its own mechanism for relaying AMBER Alerts to the public. Check with the AMBER Alert coordinator in your local community to find out more about their procedures.
  4. For more information about the national AMBER Alert plan and to find the name of your state AMBER Alert coordinator, visit the Department of Justice website.
  5. Work with your local law enforcement agency to host a safety seminar at your school, church, community center, civic organization or neighborhood group.
  6. Pay close attention to missing-children flyers and notices.
  7. Keep current information and photos of your own children. Better safe than sorry.
  8. Report emergency situations or provide information about missing or exploited children, call 911 to notify local police, or call 800–THE–LOST (800–843–5678)
  9. Report information about child pornography, child molestation, child prostitution, or the online enticement of children, log on to the CyberTipLine.
  10. Find out more information about missing and exploited children by visiting the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW Allied Universal Property Messaging System is included FREE for all Allied Universal Online Training System users. Visit www.rjwestmore.com for more information.