July 2nd, 2014
Disaster Response Specialist Debbie Chitester is one of the American Red Cross’s front-line employees who ensure disaster response coverage from the ARC Greater Cleveland Chapter throughout Ohio’s northeastern jurisdiction, including emergency preparedness, response and volunteer training for multiple counties. There are over 800 Red Cross volunteers throughout the region, serving over 660,000 families.
“We use W.A.R.N. specifically during disasters. We call volunteers on their availability, or for other activities based on their specialty or skills, or all volunteers when preparing for a big storm. W.A.R.N. has actually made my job 100 times easier because I know exactly when I’ve reached my staffing goals, allowing me to focus on other important tasks during an incident.”
Debbie explains that with the W.A.R.N. system, she’s able to create groups on the fly from those people who did not respond to the first alert, preventing her from calling people she had already contacted. “From a time management perspective, W.A.R.N. is invaluable. When I can watch the number of responses build in real-time on-screen (of those people who have been contacted) I don’t have to worry about staffing the shelters. We can staff our shelters more accurately and efficiently, so it’s an incredible time-saver.”
W.A.R.N. was used during the recent super storm in 2012, Hurricane Sandy. The system was used to staff 4 shelters in 2 shifts a day for feeding and sheltering residents directly affected by the storm. Debbie was able to better manage staffing and deployment. “We’re really pleased with the system’s performance. It’s a critical tool for preparedness and response,” said Debbie.
December 8th, 2013
Fire Chiefs Use WARN for Emergencies and Everyday
November 5th, 2012
In just a few short days before Hurricane Sandy crashed into the eastern seaboard, WARN created several 'rapid set-up' 1-way and 2-way communication environments to help manage the adverse impact and after-effects of the superstorm.
In combination with communication providers in the midwestern, southern and western regions of the country (not impacted by the storm), WARN launched 800 Toll Free call in services for use by agencies and departments to be able to constantly update their own information, and to give specific instructions to employees and contractors and responders (regardless of their location) by simply using the Toll Free Dial-in, which administrators could update on-the-fly as the situations changed or worsened.
Even some organizations that are not currently WARN customers were provided access to outbound 2-way notification, mobilization, and inbound update services --- which were fully mobilized in the last 48-72 hours before the storm hit.
WARN 24/7 Support was included, and many of the users continue today on the various systems that were provided, as they work to try to get back to normal operations. For more information on how WARN services were rapidly deployed and used during this crisis, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 1st, 2012
Robert J. “Bob” Maestri, Jr. has been named Project Liaison for W.A.R.N. in New York City.
Mr. Maestri brings over 20 years of senior IT project management experience --- with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Big Four accounting credentials --- spanning dozens of clients and Enterprise Projects throughout New York, Washington D.C., and the northeastern U.S as well as international clients.
Career highlights include seven years as a Principal / Management Consultant for IBM in New York, nurturing client relationships and managing the implementation of contracts for the East Coast region and working directly with multiple New York City departments and agencies, creating value added services in close collaboration with CIO and IT staff members, and implementing valuable long term IT solutions.
While at Hewlett-Packard, Mr. Maestri was responsible for developing and delivering business and IT solutions for consolidated emergency services response systems to various agencies in The City, where he authored proposals and managed high profile project life cycles for the H-P New York City office.
He previously served at Deloitte & Touche as a Manager of Systems Project Assurance (1997-2000), and as Quality Assurance Manager, Finance & Operations (1995-1997) for the Teaneck, NJ division of Lockheed Martin IMS on the EZ-Pass program. In his role with W.A.R.N., Mr. Maestri is responsible for executive management of all aspects of client engagements in The City, including but not limited to strategic planning, delivery scheduling, project presentations, client needs assessments and negotiations. He reports directly to the President of W.A.R.N.
February 27th, 2012
WARN celebrates its 10th year in 2012, with a growing product line, robust hosted solutions, and new partnerships in the federal and commercial arenas.
For 10 years, WARN has introduced a steady series of software products connected to an ever-expanding COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) communication engine platform that has successfully delivered tens of millions of emergency, informational and internal messages via multiple network modalities including email, all telephone types, SMS, PDA, pagers, fax, RSS feeds, text, and others.
WARN COTS solutions are designed to be easily accessed and to interoperate with existing system components. Our COTS deployments typically require configuration or provisioning -- allowing the base secure distributed application (SDA) to be tailored for specific uses, or to integrate smoothly with existing systems. The use of COTS products like WARN, across government and business applications, can offer significant savings in procurement, development, and maintenance.
Since its inception, WARN has steadily added modules and tools to its communication engine platform, including powerful ESRI GIS mapping Tool Bars and web-hosted distributed enterprise GIS mapping, weather connectivity tools for use with NOAA, NWS, and 3rd party commercial weather analysis providers, data management and desktop tools for content management, and more.
WARN has also participated in GOTS (government off-the-shelf) software development in concert with the technical staff of the US Department of Energy - Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) for the Tag In, Tag out (TiTo) personnel management program, with funding and specification from the agency.
For 2012 and beyond, WARN is aggressively developing strategic relationships with even more partners and providers in order to continue growth, by referral and successful deployments, to additional federal, state, regional, local, tribal and non-profit agencies and organizations.
August 26th, 2011
As Hurricane Irene bears down on U.S. shores with projections showing it to affect coastal areas from North Carolina to New Jersey, W.A.R.N. system users are launching notifications and alerts for evacuations, shelter, staging of supplies, and continuity of business and government.
Damaging winds and flooding rain will be a huge concern for locations well inland, including Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and much of Pennsylvania and New York.
The American Red Cross has posted preparation instructions and information on its website found here: (Cut and Paste entire link into your browser to access the downloadable information)
Responders are receiving coordinated messaging in key areas regarding the staging of supplies for recovery -- ranging from water, generators, sand, vehicles for transport of injured, medical preparation and more.
Rain and flood surge for this event could cause the most damage. This image from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission reveals an area of deep convection (shown in red) near the storm’s center where precipitation-sized particles are being carried aloft. These tall towers are associated with strong thunderstorms responsible for the area of intense rain near the center of Irene. They can be a precursor to strengthening as they indicate areas within a storm where vast amounts of heat are being released. This heating, known as latent heating, is what is drives a storm’s circulation and intensification.
April 30th, 2011
Recent deadly storms in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia sent the WARN System successfully into action, helping disaster and emergency responders contact and mobilize thousands during the 3-day event. From Tuesday, April 26th, through Friday, April 29th, Emergency Management and Public Safety customers of WARN alerted officials, responders, and the public to updated weather tracking information using distributed WARN Weather, and helped to guide immediate resources and response along the most critical path of damage and destruction. WARN users in markets like the capital of Alabama (Montgomery), and Selma, AL, Birmingham, AL, and beyond, assisted response efforts with targeted and specific information management. In addition, over 10,000 students at Calhoun Community College, Decatur, were kept advised on preventative actions and class cancellations; Miles College in Birmingham also alerted thousands of students during the events. The storms are the worst to hit the US since 310 people were killed by violent weather on April 3, 1974. WARN services used throughout the region included WARN Command, WARN Mass Notify, WARN GIS Mapping, WARN Continuity (flood gauges and wind meters) and WARN Weather.
April 7th, 2011
Almost 41,000 people were sent notifications on Wednesday as part of the biggest test ever conducted by UTA, to check the MavAlert Emergency Notification System. Full story at the link below: http://www.theshorthorn.com/index.php/news/university/14855-administration-sends-13317-test-emergency-text-messages-during-mavalert-test#
December 10th, 2010
By DENA POTTER Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech officials argued they did their best under the rules at the time to notify students of a gunman on the loose at the outset of the 2007 shooting rampage. Federal education officials found they broke the law.
The U.S. Department of Education issued a report Thursday confirming that the university violated the Clery Act, which requires that students and employees be notified of on-campus threats.
The report concludes that the university failed to issue a timely warning to the Blacksburg campus after student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed two students in a dormitory early on the morning of April 16, 2007.
Virginia Tech officials did not send an e-mail to the campus community about the shootings until two hours later, about the time Cho was chaining shut the doors to a classroom building where he killed 30 more students and faculty, then himself.
The federal department first found that Tech broke the law in January, but the university had its chance to respond to the allegations.
That response was soundly rejected Thursday in a report that brought satisfaction for some victims’ family members who have repeatedly called for more accountability from school officials for their actions on the day of the shootings.
“Virginia Tech’s failure to issue timely warnings about the serious and ongoing threat deprived its students and employees of vital, time-sensitive information and denied them the opportunity to take adequate steps to provide for their own safety,” the report stated.
The university could lose some or all of the $98 million in student financial aid it receives from the federal government, and could be fined up to $55,000 for two violations — failing to issue a timely warning and not following its own emergency notification policy.
Any sanctions will be decided by a Department of Education panel and federal officials have not provided a timeline for when sanctions might be announced. Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said the school likely will appeal any sanctions. University president Charles Steger was traveling and unavailable for comment, Hincker said.
Some of the arguments in Tech’s defense centered around the definition of a “timely” warning. The university argued there was no definition of “timely” until two years after the shooting, when the DOE required schools to immediately notify people on campus upon confirmation of a dangerous situation or an immediate threat.
The university argued that the definition of “timely” is still not clear.
“Today’s ruling could add even more confusion as to what constitutes a ’timely warning’ at a time when unambiguous guidance is needed,” Hincker said. “It appears that timely warning is whatever the Department of Education decides after the fact.”
The federal report countered that since 2005, the Department of Education has stated that the determination of whether a warning is timely is based on the nature of the crime and the continuing danger to the campus.
While Thursday’s finding makes official the federal verdict for the university, it echoes some of the conclusions already made by a state commission that investigated the shootings. That panel also found that the university erred by failing to notify the campus sooner.
The state reached an $11 million settlement with many of the victims’ families. Two families have filed suit and are seeking $10 million in damages from university officials. A judge recently ruled those lawsuits could move forward.
One victim’s mother was satisfied that the federal report included actions that Virginia Tech officials took to protect themselves that morning. Victims’ families had long wanted those details included in the report of the state commission.
“They couldn’t fine enough money for what happened that day and how it altered our lives,” said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was injured in the shootings. “It’s more about the truth of what happened. That’s what I sought for all these years.”
The university said one official advised her son to go to class anyway, while another only called to arrange for a baby sitter.
But the federal report notes a few actions on campus after word of the shootings spread but before the e-mail warning was sent: a continuing education center was locked down; an official directed that the doors to his office be locked; the university’s veterinary college was locked down; and campus trash pickup was suspended.
“If the university had provided an appropriate timely warning after the first shootings (in the dormitory), the other members of the campus community may have had enough time to take similar actions to protect themselves,” the report said.
Carter, the director of Security on Campus, said he found Virginia Tech’s response troubling.
“Our fundamental goal is not to place blame, but to make sure students are kept safer,” he said of the Act. “But their policy arguments would be very detrimental to protecting students all across the country if they were to be accepted.”
The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report information about campus crime. To receive federal student financial aid, the schools must report crimes and security policies and provide warning of campus threats. It is named after Jeanne Ann Clery, a 19-year-old university freshman who was raped and murdered in her Lehigh University dormitory in 1986. Her parents later learned that dozens of violent crimes had been committed on her campus in the three years before her death.
The report also found:
—The university’s e-mail stated only that “a shooting incident occurred” and that the community should be cautious. The report said that could have led recipients to think the shooting was accidental and that it failed to give students and employees the “information they needed for their own protection.”
—The warning would have reached more students and employees and “may have saved lives” if it had been sent before the 9:05 a.m. classes began.
—That Tech’s warning policy — which is required under the Clery Act — was vague and did not provide the campus with the types of events that would warrant a warning, who would deliver it or how it would be transmitted.
—The university’s process for issuing a warning was complicated and not well understood even by senior officials.
The financial impact for Tech is not decided. An expert on the federal Clery Act said loss of federal aid is unlikely.
S. Daniel Carter, director of public policy for Security On Campus, a nonprofit organization that monitors the Clery Act, said reviews based on the law are relatively rare and that the Virginia Tech review was the 35th in two decades. No school has ever lost federal funding, and the largest fine to be levied was $350,000 against Eastern Michigan University for failing to report the rape and murder of a student in a dormitory in 2006.
September 24th, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bayer CropScience will pay nearly $460,000 to resolve a variety of chemical storage and air pollution violations cited by state inspectors at its Institute plant over the last three years. The Institute plant has been controversial because of its use and storage of large amounts of MIC, the chemical that leaked and killed thousands of people near a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984. The facility has been under increased scrutiny since an August 2008 explosion that killed two workers and prompted federal investigators to warn of a near-miss disaster for the surrounding community. Nearby West Virginia State University used the W.A.R.N. (Wide Area Rapid Notification) system at the time, and continues to use W.A.R.N. regularly, as part of its rapid communication and emergency management and response programs.
May 16th, 2010
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the DHS Office of Small Business Utilization approved a Mentor-Protégée Agreement between Avaya Government Solutions (AGS) and W.A.R.N., LLC. Under the Mentor-Protégée program, AGS will provide developmental assistance and support to enhance the business competitiveness, independence and development of W.A.R.N. The term of participation in this program is three (3) years.
February 1st, 2010
Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC has implemented W.A.R.N. for first responder and emergency communication processes. Bechtel Jacobs is the environmental management contractor for the U. S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The company is responsible for environmental cleanup and waste management on DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation. Bechtel Jacobs Company also supports DOE in a reindustrialization program to find commercial uses for many Oak Ridge facilities that no longer have a mission.
February 1st, 2010
Cleveland – 50,865 seniors were called quickly on January 6, 2010 to warn against extreme snow and cold conditions in the Greater Cleveland area. For those seniors who were not initially contacted due to busy signals or no answers, a second retry was sent.
Jane Fumich, Director of the Cleveland Department of Aging, was extremely satisfied with the high percent of successful contacts. Fumich has been an advocate and a major player in issues affecting both the City’s and Cuyahoga County’s older residents for the length of her career. She frequently receives messages from seniors thanking the Department and the City of Cleveland for senior care alerts (“Care Calls”). The program has been successfully running since 2003.
August 3rd, 2009
Oak Ridge, TN – Oak Ridge National Laboratories and W.A.R.N. technologies for emergency alerting were featured in the latest edition for July / August 2009 of the NFPA Journal (National Fire Protection Association).
Read the entire story here: http://www.nfpa.org/publicJournalDetail.asp?categoryID=1858&itemID=43897&src=NFPAJournal
NFPA was founded in 1896 and is the world’s leading advocate of fire prevention, andÂ an authoritative source on public safety with over 75,000 members worldwide.
State of New Mexico Chooses W.A.R.N. for Emergency Public Notification and Technology Solutions State-Wide Award valued at $2.1 million
May 28th, 2009
Additional emergency solutions services include Desktop Notifications, Continuity of Government online management software, Weather tracking and alerting modules, and more.
October 30th, 2008
Parkersburg – Wood County commissioners authorized Emergency Services Director, Ed Hupp, to select W.A.R.N. (Wide Area Rapid Notification) after reviewing proposals from several other mass notification companies.
Wood County did not renew its contract with Community Alert Network (C.A.N.) about a year ago after several attempts to activate the notification system for a test alert failed.
W.A.R.N. is already in place in 15 counties in West Virginia and is on a state contract bid.
Hupp said the other proposals received were significantly higher in cost and were out-of-state firms. (W.A.R.N. has a significant presence in Charleston, WV whereÂ one of its sales and customer support divisions is located.)
“I do think this is an important tool for emergency services to have here and it’s probably been too long that we haven’t had something in place,” Commissioner Rick Modesitt said.
Officials noted the phone numbers for the emergency alert network are provided by local phone companies so anyone with a cell phone would have to voluntarily register their cell phone number iff they want to be notified through the W.A.R.N. system.
September 8th, 2008
New alerting and warning system launches today
By Capt. Margo Bennett, UCPD, and Marie Felde, Media Relations | 25 August 2008
BERKELEY - The University of California, Berkeley, announced today (Monday, Aug. 25) that it is launching a new alerting and warning service that can provide immediate notification to individual students, faculty and staff of situations on or near campus that may pose an immediate threat to their safety and provide instructions on what to do.
Called “WarnMe,” the new service can contact individuals by phones, text messaging and email to help keep the campus community safe in an immediate crisis, such as a major accident, natural disaster or an assailant on campus, said campus officials.
The new mass notification service is the latest addition in the campus’s continuing efforts to improve safety and emergency response. WarnMe will be used in conjunction with other elements of UC Berkeley’s emergency communications system, including the campuswide siren system that is tested on the first Wednesday of each month.
In all emergencies, natural disasters and other crises, information will be posted on the campus homepage and on the off-site emergency Web site at emergency.berkeley.edu. Information will also be recorded on the toll-free emergency number, 1-800-705-9998, and broadcast on the campus radio station, KALX 90.7 FM.
The new WarnMe system uses contact information provided by students, faculty and staff. Emergency alerts and instructions on what to do can be sent via cell phone, text messaging, email, and office and home phones, including TTY devices. In all, individuals may choose to receive messages on up to seven communication devices.
The service is an opt-in program, and a campaign is underway to encourage the campus community to sign up. Students were able to enroll beginning in late July. Faculty and staff started to sign up over the weekend. Already, 11,200 on campus have signed up. A campus identification number is required to enroll.
Last fall, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau charged a task force to plan and implement a phone and text-based alerting and warning system by the fall 2008 semester.