Absolutely critical to the success of any emergency response unit is its ability to communicate. Team members need to communicate effectively between each other and the central base. But even with so many critical communication solutions available, finding the right solution, as Alex Crowe found out, can be mind boggling and frustrating.
Alex and Geoff Hicks, a retired ambulance officer, were fundamental in establishing the emergency response organisation called HeartStart.
Now affiliated with the NSW Ambulance Service, the organisation was set up to meet the immediate emergency medical needs of residents living in the Orara Valley.
Located outside of Coffs Harbour in northern NSW, the valley incorporates the isolated towns of Glenreagh, Nana Glen, Coramba, Karangi and Lowanna.
As Alex explained, 'The closest ambulance service in this region is located 25 kilometres away and on average the ambulance takes about 30 minutes to reach an emergency site. But as you can appreciate, for some people this could mean the difference between life and death.'
Staffed entirely by volunteers, the organisation consists of about 60 highly-trained local residents who are familiar with the area and can respond immediately to a medical emergency.
'Our job is to provide first-aid and to keep people comfortable and stable until the ambulance arrives.’
One of the many issues that Alex and the founders were confronted with when establishing HeartStart was identifying and implementing a communication solution that would immediately alert the team members and keep them in touch with each other.
Specifically, they needed a solution that would provide instant conference call notification, the flexibility to add and change team members quickly and call reporting.
'We knew exactly what we needed so we thought that finding a communication solution would be as simple as looking at the various options offered by the big communication companies and assessing them, but we were wrong.’
'We were surprised to find that the big players were unable to accommodate us for one reason or another, which meant that we had to widen our search to find what we were looking for. Six months later and after much frustration Adtec Communications was recommended to us,' said Alex.
Adtec Communications, a supplier of critical communication solutions, was able to provide HeartStart with Alerts. Alerts is an emergency communication solution that offers rapid response capability.
Reliable and robust, Alerts is easy to implement and delivers instant team conferencing that can be tailored to the needs of the user's operation.
'ALERTS is an exceptional program. It not only notifies us immediately of an emergency, it also lets us conference with other members of the team. We can also add on new team members to the system or make changes as and when necessary,' said Alex.
HeartStart has also found the call logging feature of Alerts helpful. The system logs all call activity during the emergency response in case it ever needs to be reviewed.
Other features of the solution include email/SMS broadcasting, call recording, rostering, interactive voice response, automatic tracking, call forwarding, roll call and voice page broadcasting. All of which, according to Jeremy Sharp, Director of Adtec Communications, can be turned on or off depending on the specific needs of the emergency response unit.