Not exactly something we built ourselves, but thanks to our local Emergency Operations Center (in combination with our local Dispatch / Communications Center who use it for community-level emergency notifications) we have access to what I’d term “team-level” Everbridge mass notifications system.
Using Everbridge we can send a message to all our team members; phone (land line, mobile, work), email, text messaging either in priority order (with time delays in between) or all at once … all devices / mechanisms - almost instantaneously. We do this for emergency resource coordinating (e.g. we are gathering a crew for mutual aid, like we did for some of the recent Colorado fires) and/or messaging (e.g. training canceled last minute.) We also use this (with delays in between) when we do critical conditions patrols.
If we send a message we can ask for “confirmation of receipt” and send in the member’s chosen priority order, with perhaps a 15 minute delay between messages. “Confirming” that receipt (e.g. via email) stops Everbridge from sending to subsequent devices, and some members use this to save their family (land line) getting a phone call.
Everbridge allows a “poll” where we can ask the question of “availability”:
We always start with “In District” because we need to know we can cover our responsibility before assigning a crew. Based upon conditions we will request “normal response” (come and go as normal) or a “shift” (where folks get credit for staying in district and remaining available.) Next we offer the activity (mutual aid crew, critical conditions patrol, etc.) Finally we ask those who are not available (out of district, working, etc.) to identify themselves.
Using the Everbridge mobile application means we can (at times, when signal allows) even do this from the field, if needed. For example after hours of working a structure fire we can poll for “overnight fire-sitting support”, or “preparing a wildland crew to hit a located smoke source at first light”.
We don’t expect our firefighters to check their devices regularly (some old timers check email once every few days or so), and we do our best NOT to interrupt dinner or sleep, but using Everbridge we can effectively dispatch a message to all our membership, and most get it pretty immediately. This is our “time critical” messaging solution.
Using Everbridge we no longer need to interrupt dispatch with a “tone test with a message”, and we get an efficient poll for resource availability.
Responserack provides services for volunteer fire departments; member information services, incident reporting, NFIRS and so much more.