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OmnilertJul 22, 2010 9:29:57 AM5 min read

Fire and Rescue Crews Receive Computer Aided Dispatches on Cell Phone

Omnilert now connects to CAD systems via the SNPP protocol for reliable automated alerts to first responders.

From booth #405 at the Firehouse Expo, Omnilert LLC, the leading SMS-based dispatch and paging system for fire departments and rescue squads, today announced that the service now connects to Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems via the SNPP protocol. Fire Stations, Rescue Squads, and EMS can configure Omnilert to automatically dispatch pages from the 911 center or dispatch center directly to standard cell phones and pagers of first responders.


Previously, a fire station or EMS would receive a dispatch from the 911 center and turn around and dispatch their own message from the Omnilert interface to the desired groups. Omnilert’s CAD Pack now automates this connection, so no human intervention is required from the Fire Station or EMS. The system can be configured for everyone to receive an alert or it can go to specific groups or individuals.


John Wood is the Chief at Griffin Fire District in Wash. Chief Woods said, “We use Omnilert as a secondary alert system, but it is used simultaneously with the primary alert system. The Omnilert CAD Pack ensures the dispatch from the 911 center goes out over the tone radio as a voice alert and over Omnilert as a text message to standard cell phones. We’re mostly a volunteer fire department, so some of our people don’t always take their primary alert, so they still have that secondary Omnilert that they can then respond to.”


“The tone pager broadcasts the primary call only one time, and you don’t always hear what’s said on the radio, but the Omnilert alerts give you updates in text – they give you the address, the contact information, what’s going on, and a whole lot more information.”


“Omnilert also gives us the ability, when we’re on the scene, to alert a support group of volunteers who are not fire fighters but support us on bigger incidents. I also like how Omnilert nails down the ability to communicate with the department members on a daily basis about non-emergency things such as drills and assignments.”


“Before Omnilert, we used the traditional alphanumeric pagers, but they did not get very good coverage. Sometimes you could be sitting in the fire station and not get the alpha page. We switched to Omnilert and it gives us a lot better service – the alerts come within 10 seconds – and it’s a lot more flexible. The young fire fighters have their cell phones on 24/7, so we’re really able to communicate a lot better because of it and they don’t have to carry around a third device.”


“I would recommend to fire chiefs to keep your tone pagers as your primary for initial dispatches, but use Omnilert for out-of-district primary alerts, for secondary dispatches that include additional info, for inter-department communications, and for other outreach efforts. It is much more reliable, flexible and user-friendly than alpha pagers.”

Jim Dinsch, Information Systems Coordinator at Countryside Fire Protection District in Ill. said, “There is huge value in being able to simultaneously dispatch an alert to on-duty personnel and also text alert to off-duty personnel being called back for additional manpower or specialty personnel for HAZMAT, technical rescue or water rescue type situations.”


“Omnilert offers an additional means of alerting your personnel and it’s a great backup system. I also work at a volunteer fire department and I quite often get my text message to my phone before my radio page goes off.”


Omnilert is a highly redundant, geographically-dispersed, hosted communication system operating with 99.999% up time. This extreme reliability meets or exceeds the performance of many radio-based dedicated public safety alerting systems used by fire departments and rescue squads today.


About Omnilert
Omnilert, LLC is the leading provider of unified mass notification systems for better business continuity, emergency management, and routine communication. The easy-to-use, self-service, Web-based system enables a single person to communicate timely information to thousands of people anywhere, anytime, on any device or service. The award-winning company's 3,000 clients include the U.S. Army, Boeing, sanofi-aventis, Harvard University, Penn State, American Red Cross, UNICEF, and the National Institutes of Health. The privately held company is headquartered in Leesburg, Va., and at online.