Organizing Critical Incident Information for First Responders
Most adults remember learning how to respond to a fire emergency when they were in school. The steps were very simple:
- A teacher pulls the red pull station that sounds the school-wide alarm
- Students form a single line and follow the teacher outside
- The fire department receives the call, units are dispatched and the fire is extinguished
However, with the increased frequency of more complex and fast-paced incidents such as active intruders, people working in office buildings or students in school face a difficult challenge to remain safe. The world we live in is quite different. For example, during an active shooter incident:
- People would not form a single line and exit the building
- A call to 911 might be impossible to make because of panic or lack of infrastructure
- First responder won't know where in a building to enter first - can't follow the smoke
Today, first responders need information quickly with relevant details. In the midst of a crisis, information from various sources can get lost, delayed, or missed. To help address these incidents and streamline the flow of information, Rapid Emergency Response Systems (RERS) are deployed to deliver rapid, complete, and simple notifications to both first responders and to the people in harms way.
Rapid Emergency Response Systems use a combination of pull stations, mobile pendants, PA systems, and/or strobe lights to instantly notify first responders and building occupants of an active shooter incident. Notifications are sent through normal communication protocols but can also be sent to designated stakeholder groups or individual's cell phones via calls, emails, or texts. As a result of the increased information, first responders can adapt their approach to the dynamically unfolding event.
Advanced RERS systems, like the patented BluePoint Alert Solution, can not only notify but also integrate and organize two-way communication during an active incident. Imagine a single control panel that integrates IP-based camera feeds, group text/email messages and broadcast notifications to first responders and stakeholders. The system organizes all the data streams into a single incident event that enables first responders to tailor their response by:
- pinpointing the incident location within a building
- receiving real-time, secure feedback from building occupants
- viewing real-time, on-site camera feeds
- communicating instructions to the designated stakeholder or building occupants
At the resolution of an active incident, the RERS is used to broadcast the "all clear" to stakeholders and building occupants. The system also keeps a complete record of all the related communication for historical record and to strengthen future security protocols.
Complex incidents require intuitive and easy-to-use rapid response systems to provide quality information fast to first responders. This concept is fundamental to BluePoint's founding purpose. The company's mission - as explained by John McNutt, co-founder and CEO of BluePoint (www.bluepointalert.com) - is "to provide a solution that not only speeds the response times of law enforcement and other first responders but also equips them for an improved response in emergency situations for any kind of facility or building."