Tom Roberts is the Emergency Manager for the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. He works with the county and cities within it to notify both county employees and residents about various emergency and non-emergency situations as they develop.
Before switching to AlertSense, Umatilla county had to rely on slower, more basic emergency notification systems. While these systems helped his department notify residents and county employees of weather events, fires, they were clunky and lacked multi-platform support.
Starting in October of 2016, Tom and his team decided to switch to AlertSense after hearing about how great it was from other departments in the county, and they never looked back. Tom sees AlertSense as the perfect platform for emergency and non-emergency notifications. Before AlertSense, it was time-consuming to contact local farmers to let them know when agricultural burning was allowed. After embracing AlertSense's multi-platform system, Tom can easily send out burn notifications to a preselected list of local farmers and county employees letting them know when they could burn fallow fields. AlertSense also makes it easier for Tom to plan for training exercises; contacting the relevant employees and letting them know when and where to meet has become a snap since he can send out messages, conduct polls, and alert all the right people through text, email, and voice all at once. “The pre-defined templates for sending out messages are one of my favorite parts of AlertSense,” says Tom, “using them to send out notifications and alerts helps to keep communication cohesive.” When a brush fire broke out near the small town of Weston, Tom was able to utilize AlertSense's geo-referencing feature to quickly select a one-square mile area around the burn to let nearby residents know fire responders were on their way. And when a water main broke in a public building after a severe freeze, Tom was easily able to contact the public employees who worked in that building to let them know about work closures that day. “AlertSense makes it quick, easy, and fast to keep everyone informed about what is happening,” he said. In the event of a bigger emergency, AlertSense allows Tom to respond quickly to search and rescue teams, letting them know what kind of operation is taking place and what tools they will need. And since Hanford (the now decommissioned nuclear production site) is part of the county network, Tom can easily send out notifications and instructions to emergency responders who work in and around the complex should the need arise. “I like the flexibility of use,” says Tom, “the ability to use AlertSense in both non-emergency and emergency situations makes the system really great!”