Jefferson County, AL (Birmingham)
Jefferson County is the largest metropolitan county in the state of Alabama. The total affected regional population is more than 1 million.
Since 2004, Jefferson County EMA has used W.A.R.N. to manage emergency information and public communication distribution, with more than 800,000 residents, and 1,600 public safety personnel, managed in the W.A.R.N. System.
Over 110,000 residents have been contacted simultaneously via W.A.R.N., and hundreds more are communicated with daily between agencies and responders, CERT teams, volunteers, and others with authorization to use the system.
Jefferson County is in the geographic center of "Hurricane Alley", leading straight up from the Alabama Gulf Coast. A series of nearly 200 CAD-based flood gauge monitors have been deployed over the past 30 years, of various makes and models, to provide trending and real-time reporting on county flood activity. The gauges were all originally reporting into a single CAD system terminal, located within the county Emergency Management Agency.
It was very difficult for public safety officials to continually monitor the gauges because of the frequency of flooding, and the various locations being affected. There was only one reporting station and monitor – with no instant alerting to activate those out in the field -- when the gauges would hit critical levels (i.e. "one ft. bankful and rising".)
W.A.R.N. was able to make the gauges "smarter", with no new hardware investment, by taking the same CAD signal used internally and simply sending it through W.A.R.N. to trigger automated notifications to emergency response groups (who are already out in the community) and who are not required to be sitting at the CAD monitor station.
Using the W.A.R.N. web-based console, any responder can now be set up to receive flood state or "bank full" notifications automatically, without an operator even being present at the CAD system. Almost overnight, this has opened up the rapid spread of accurate and timely information to the right people -- via cell, home, office, pager, blackberry, treo, fax, email, radio, social media, or other means – so they can quickly take action.
Every individual notification creates its own detailed report automatically upon activation, and gives the administrator a trackable and accountable report and history of the actions taken by the entire system during any activation.
W.A.R.N. modules used for Jefferson County include W.A.R.N. Continuity for real-time flood gauge monitoring, data analysis and event monitoring, W.A.R.N. GIS, and W.A.R.N. Command for emergency notification and reporting.
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