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Sudden Impact, Rapid Response, and Resolution

Sudden Impact, Rapid Response, and Resolution

A Real-World Drill with AtHoc Connect

BlackBerry AtHoc's customers know how well our solutions work within their organizations.  But, what is it like to be an external first responder, receiving an emergency notification via the AtHoc Connect outreach application?

We recently participated in a drill at a major chemical plant, and the results were very positive.

Here's the scenario. At 9:30 am, the plant issued an internal notification to alert personnel that a simulated chlorine gas leak had occurred, involving a rail tanker car. The information included:

  • The nature of the notification
  • The severity of the simulated situation
  • The location of the rail car at the plant
  • Wind speed and direction
  • A map indicating areas near the plant at risk from the leak

Employees were told to shelter in place if they were in a secure area, or to move to the nearest safe harbor as soon as possible.

Next, AtHoc Alert issued an internal notification with further information about the incident. AtHoc Connect had automatically contacted police, hazmat, and fire-rescue units in all of the affected areas. Some of these units dispatched to the plant. Others deployed within their communities to ensure no one would go outside if this had been an actual emergency.

All activities were coordinated through the BlackBerry AtHoc Networked Crisis Communication Platform. External first responders were linked through the plant's AtHoc Connect outreach application.

BlackBerry AtHoc helped responders organize and collaborate so multiple agencies knew exactly where to send their teams within 15 minutes of the beginning of the drill. That coordination included polling various hazmat teams and personnel to identify who was available, and how quickly they could move to designated areas at the plant and in the surrounding communities.

Very little time was required to organize multiple agencies with limited ability to collaborate among themselves across a large geographical area. The process included methodically and automatically contacting first responder personnel to ensure the necessary number of hazmat teams were on the way to where they were needed, with other units queued and ready if additional assistance was required. BlackBerry AtHoc contacted each of these individuals via pagers, cell phones, and office phones – or whatever devices might available – until the necessary resources checked in and the response could begin.

This was just a drill. And, plant personnel and first responders knew in advance that an exercise of some sort was scheduled. Nevertheless, BlackBerry AtHoc gave each external organization detailed information on what was happening during the drill, what was needed, and where to go – and updated the requirements as the situation evolved until an all-clear was issued at the end.

This exercise demonstrated how accurate and timely information distributed by BlackBerry AtHoc supports rapid response, minimizes injuries, and prevents individuals or support teams from accidentally entering dangerous areas. There is no doubt it would have taken the surrounding community much more time to receive accurate information on the simulated chlorine gas leak without BlackBerry AtHoc, and for multiple organizations to coordinate a safe response.

This is the power of BlackBerry AtHoc – information shared securely and confidently across and among teams to protect a community.

If you would like to learn more about what happened during this real-world drill, why the exercise was so successful, and how the lessons learned can help your facility work faster and smarter with your surrounding communities, feel free to contact us.

Efraim Petel - Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at AtHoc
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