Security Technology Executive

SEP-OCT 2017

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36 SECURIT Y TECHNOLOGY E XECUTIVE • September/October 2017 • www. I n today's highly connected world, effective communication is indis- pensable to fostering a safe and connected community. With recent advances made to mobile technol- ogy and its creation of a more con- nected public, local businesses, governments, and their respective public safety departments have grown better equipped to share critical updates dur- ing all types of security and community events. During these situations, the abil- ity to identify and reach residents and responders with reliable and automated communications can be the difference between finding missing children, resolv- ing traffic congestion issues, triaging IT issues and even saving lives. This is especially true for large- scale events that cross municipal jurisdiction lines and impact multiple area communi- ties, hospitals, universities, transportation agencies, and businesses. These events require a regional, multi-agency response approach that ensures communication between previously unconnected groups so that all residents and visitors receive critical information quickly and efficient- ly. This concept – known as the "network effect" – can be achieved by deploying a unified critical event management solu- tion that allows key emergency and pub- lic safety agencies (e.g., law enforcement, fire/EMS, city and regional government, healthcare and transportation) across dif- ferent counties and regions to access the latest notifications and updates from local, verified resources and coordinate activities The Power of the Network Effect in Critical Event Management A multi-agency response approach can now ensure communication between previously unconnected groups SECURED CITIES to ensure that no conflicting messages are delivered to relevant recipients. Benefits of Regional Programs Because multiple levels of government are often involved in responding to major inci- dents, there is huge value in regions band- ing together to develop a shared approach to critical communications and incident management. The major benefits of a com- mon platform include: • Quick and efficient communica- tions. During major critical events that affect a large number of people across jurisdictions, assessing threats, automat- ing incident processes and communi- cating directly with area residents and businesses is essential to keeping them safe. When agencies adopt a regional solution, local officials are able to quickly reach impacted residents and businesses with important information in situations where they may be in danger. In April 2017, North Carolina's Wake County, the second most populous county in the state, implemented a mass notifica- tion system that served over 30 nearby counties and cities, including Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte. Imple- menting a common critical event man- agement and communications across the count ensures more streamlined training, support, and administration of the solu- tion, and improves the ability of County public officials to issue emergency alerts quickly and efficiently. According to Bill Greeves, Chief Information & Innovation Officer of Wake County, NC, "With an increasingly mobile population, traditional methods of emer- gency communication can no longer be relied upon in emergency situations. A mass notification system gives local offi- cials the ability to interact with area resi- dents and businesses in situations where they may be in danger." Choosing a system that was already used extensively through- out the state enabled Wake County to be confident in its decision that it was deploy- ing a platform capable of effectively reach- ing every hospital, emergency response agency, business and resident with impor- tant critical safety information. Another example of an effective regional approach to critical event management and communications can be found in Florida. In April 2016, the state began implementing a statewide system that gave all counties and major cities the ability to share emergency information with resi- dents and visitors. The state-administered system can communicate with county/city system administrators and can even send statewide AlertFlorida alerts if needed. Also, the National Capital Region, which comprises Washington, D.C., and several cities and counties within Maryland and Virginia, also uses one platform for emer- gency notification. The system is used to send internal employee alerts, public alerts, and cross-jurisdictional notices. • Enhanced coordination between jurisdictions. It is common for agencies to have interoperability and compat- ibility communications challenges when By Imad Mouline

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