Coordinator Program

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International Emergency Preparedness, Notification and Communications Organization

EMCOM NewsLetter

10/10/2006 - ANNOUNCING...

We are launching, an online networking community for both the public and private emergency management/response sectors, and for the interested public. Join us by signing up for your Free web page and blog, bulletin system, CastHopper application and more.

We have finished alpha testing in a 'blind' environment, so the system is now it its 'beta' test mode; but we invite you to join and help us work out the bugs...

Click Here to go to the new web site and learn more about the My.EMCOM community and its purpose.

EMCOM Testing Universal Wireless "Push-to-Talk Direct Voice Connections

01 MAR 2004 - EMCOM is currently testing a new product offering that will allow Emergency Mangers, First Responders, EMCOM Community Coordinators and others involved in an emergency situation to communicate via wireless "push-to-talk" type communications via their wireless PDA and cell phone devices, regardless of their wireless type or communications provider. The new product allows the user simply to 'click' on another user's name or icon, and be in instant voice contact with that person. Additionally, it allows for the following features:
  • Works with any Palm 5+, Windows CE or Pocket PC run device, or on a laptop or standard computer with Windows 2000(tm) or Windows XP(tm) operating systems.

  • Works through wireless internet connection through any cell phone provider, or viw WiFi hotspots, modem, Local Area Network (LAN) or AreaWide Area Network (WAN)

  • Users may communicate via voice between PDA's, laptops or computers anywhere in the world.

  • Users may also directly connect via the system to any telephone in the world.

  • File transfers between users, and a text chat box where important phone numbers or other information can be typed in and exchanged without misunderstanding in chaotic, noisy environments.

  • Text Chat allows users to key in critical information for the other user to see so as not to misunderstand key information in chaotic, noisy environments.

When coupled with EMCOM's Hughes 1 meter satellite communications dish and local wireless network, the system can be brought to any area and set up in minutes, allowing voice and data communications by emergency personnel, even when all other communications have been cut off, (including radio when towers have been toppled). This allows remote users to use the full extents of the EMCOM system including Public/Private Alert Notifications, Situation/Status Reporting System, Interactive Map/Annotation System, Emergency Victim Locator, etc.

than most Emergency Management Agencies. Coupled with instant alert notifications via WeatherAlert/RapidNotify devices, situation reporting and status displays that, due to the efforts of the coordinators themselves provide street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood status reports within moments of an emergency or disaster situation, and the ability to share a feature rich mapping system (see Mapping System for more information), the system is the most advanced system of its kind.

The new mapping system provides shared access (even to mobile devices) to user annotated maps. Users can indicate (draw) hazard areas with circles, rectangles, polygons, and even ellipses that can be "swung" by current wind conditions. Users can also annotate points with a variety of markers. All annotations are displayed by category (layer), with the user capable of displaying any/all layers on any map. Watch boxes for meteorological events such as thunderstorm and tornado warnings are automatically generated and will appear on their maps as applicable. The system is also capable of plotting the movement of personnel or vehicles, or plotting points or hazard zones from leakage/spill detectors or other remote devices.

Plots are based upon geo-coded data, not a specific map drawing, so that any authorized user, using any device, any map at any resolution, from any location will see the plotted data as applicable on their own screens. "Clicking" on a point marker or within a depicted shape will display detailed data about that point or area. A new feature will shortly be implemented which will notify users when a new plot appears on their map (since the last refresh time) with a voice notification. Additionally, users will be able to set voice based notifications to occur for various events, including if a wind shift of more than a user defined number of degrees occurs. The system also provides for both permanent (facilities, tank farms, etc.), and temporary (incident related) layer plots.

The more robust system, used for Emergency Management Agencies, also provides the ability to do Crime Statistics plotting/analysis. Users can show maps of all crimes, crimes within user defined date/time parameters, or any individual or group of crime types.

Exercise Proved Mobility

20 SEP 2003 : During the week of 15 SEP 03, EMCOM was involved in mobility exercises of its system in the area from Branson, MO. to Eureka Springs, AR. During the test, various devices, both directly internet connected and wireless, were utilized to send test alert notifications, situation reports, etc.

While tests were conducted using lap top computers with "dial-up" connections, wireless PDA devices, etc. from various locations, the most interesting test was performed from the "Branson Belle" Showboat in the middle of Table Rock lake. Several tests of both notifications and situation reports were run and were fully successful. Rather than run the tests with fancy notebooks or PDA's with wireless connections, these tests were run with a simple NEXTEL i1000 cell phone using the EMCOM WAP interface. Despite the additional difficulty of having to key the messages using the numeric keypad, all messages were completed and sent within 2 minutes. While this is not the recommended method, it proved fully useable.

Another impromptu test was run using the i1000 while on the streets of Branson, stuck in the infamous traffic along Rt. 76. It made us wonder what the situation would be in the case where a massive evacuation was required; but with the ability for the system to place alert and evacuation messages onto electronic highway signs, the problem could easily be lessened with the system by directing the traffic from various parts of the vicinity to the alternate routes through the city.

Mobility is a key aspect of the EMCOM system, providing multiple levels of back-up access into the system, and allowing emergency managers to issue alert and notifications to other agencies or to the public, even if their power, communications, and even their complete EOC are destroyed.

The exercise proved that even in the rugged Ozark Mountain terrain of Branson, Missouri, the system provides an extremely effective and low cost means of mass alert notification. It demonstrated the capability for emergency managers, in a tourism based town such as Branson, to be able to contact every resort, hotel, theater, restaurant and/or other business (or any user defined subset or group of these) with emergency information within 90 seconds.

EMCOM Integrates "Phone Camera" Images into Situation Reporting System

System integrates Phone Camers 29 AUG 2003 : EMCOM is currently testing a new enhanced capability for its situation reporting system. This capability allows emergency agency personnel and EMCOM Community Emergency Preparedness Coordinators to capture images with their "cell phone cameras" and integrate them with situation reports. These images will immediately become available from the participating agency's Situation/Status displays. This will allow emergency managers to not only receive critical situation information, but to view emergency disaster scenes to aid in their damage assessment and resource allocation decisions.

This new capability enhances the previous ability of the EMCOM system to incorporate "dash cam" views from emergency vehicles, and "web cam" views.

EMCOM situation reports from EMCOM Community Coordinators on a street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood basis can be available to emergency managers within moments of an emergency or disaster striking. Phone camera views (when provided) will likewise be immediately available.


Thanks, BC-PEP

ALL COMMUNITY COORDINATORS - Please download the HELP-OK sign (pdf file) by clicking HERE.

The file contains two full page signs:
  • One sign in red with white lettering "HELP"
  • One sign in green with white lettering "OK"
Either reference your neighbors to this page to download the file, or print and make copies of each sign for them. (If you have heavy enough paper, you can print them 'back to back'.) Immediately after an emergency, have them place the applicable sign in a prominent place (window), that can be easily seen from outside. This will aid emergency/rescue personnel entering the area in quickly assessing where help is and is not required, and can allocate resources without having to physically check each residence/business. This is a very simple, yet very effective system. Please try to insure that your neighbors have the signs, and keep them where they can be easily accessed in an emergency.

Thanks, and a tip of the hat for both the idea, and the sign file to Mervin Harrower, Director of Provincial Emergency Preparedness, British Colombia, CANADA, and his entire dedicated staff. We also recommend everyone to visit their site whether you live in Canada or not, for the great information there. The site is <>

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