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A Real-World Scenario with BlackBerry AtHoc Connect

Oftentimes, the most severe consequences from a disaster or crisis stem from a failure to address communications issues.  Blackberry’s AtHoc Connect is empowering organizations and people to be able to communicate and collaborate in times of crisis with multi-channel communication methods through provided safety and availability status updates prior to, during, and following an event – ultimately providing the critical information needed to make operational decisions.

We took part in a drill at a major chemical plant to find out how external first responders can make use of the AtHoc Connect outreach application to respond to an emergency. The results could not have been more positive.

Here’s what happened: The plant issued an internal notification at 9:30 AM to all employees that imitated chlorine gas leak had occurred, involving a rail tanker car. The notification stated what happened and where, how severe the situation was, wind speed and direction, and a map of at-risk areas near the plant that could be affected by the leak. Staff members were told to take shelter where they were if they were in a secure place, or to move to the nearest safe area as soon as possible.

AtHoc Connect automatically contacted hazmat, police, and fire-rescue units in all of the affected areas. Some units were dispatched to the plant, while others were sent to the surrounding communities to keep people inside like they would in the event of an actual emergency. AtHoc Alert then issued an internal notification with further information about the incident.

All occurrences were synchronized through the BlackBerry AtHoc Networked Crisis Communication Platform. Multiple first responder agencies were able to send their teams exactly where they needed to be within fifteen minutes of the commencement of the drill using BlackBerry’s AtHoc Connect outreach application, which allowed them to organize and collaborate with each other in real-time.  They were able to poll various hazmat teams to ascertain who was available and how quickly they could reach designated areas within the plant and the surrounding communities. 

From this drill, we learned that very little time was required for multiple agencies with limited ability to disperse across a large geographical area. AtHoc Connect automatically contacted first responder personnel and systematically assigned the necessary number of hazmat teams to where they were needed most while queuing other available units, if extra help was needed. BlackBerry AtHoc reached each of these individuals via available device – pagers, cell phones, office phones, etc. – until the necessary resources were dispatched.

Even though this was just a drill and both plant personnel and first responders knew in advance that it was scheduled, BlackBerry AtHoc worked efficiently from beginning to end.  It gave each external organization details on what was happening during the drill, what was needed, and where to go – and updated them as the situation progressed until there was no longer a threat.

Without BlackBerry AtHoc, there is no telling how long it would have taken the community to receive correct information on the simulated chlorine gas leak, or for multiple first responder organizations to coordinate a response. This drill confirmed that BlackBerry AtHoc is able to allocate effective and prompt emergency response to minimize injury in the event of a crisis with the distribution of accurate and timely information.

The power of BlackBerry AtHoc lies in its ability to securely share information across multiple devices and among several response teams to save lives.

If you‘re interested in knowing the details of this drill and why it was so successful, or how BlackBerry AtHoc can help your facility with crisis communication, please reach out to us.

Tagged with: crisis communication, crisis communication platform, emergency notification, AtHoc Connect

Efraim Petel

About Efraim Petel