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Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

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PBEM: Portland gives vendor another try at citywide emergency notification test

Press release from the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management issued February 8, 2012.

First CallThe City of Portland is giving communications vendor First Call a chance to re-test the city’s emergency notification system. The exercise is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2012. The first, failed launch of this test occurred late last month. During that attempt, First Call, the operators of the system, reached less than one percent of the roughly 317,000 devices attempted.

 

“Clearly, it’s disappointing First Call failed to meet its obligation during the first citywide test. But this is why we test systems in advance of an actual emergency,” said Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) Director Carmen Merlo. PBEM serves as the notification system’s administrator. “The ultimate goal is to have a high-functioning alert and notification tool, something that gives us confidence we can communicate to any number of residents during a major emergency.”

 

Thursday’s re-attempt will confirm whether First Call successfully resolved the technical issues that hampered its ability to send a single test message to all landline phones, as well as all cell, text and email subscribers who voluntarily registered their contact information at PublicAlerts.org. First Call has had success launching notifications to residents during small-scale emergencies over the past year-and-a-half. For this upcoming re-test, First Call estimates it will need up to three hours to contact every device in the system.

 

Merlo encourages Portlanders to register for this test and all future notifications by signing up at http://www.publicalerts.org/. Personal contact information provided during registration is kept private and used only for the purpose of sending geographically tailored emergency messages.

Portland gives vendor another try at citywide emergency notification test

The City of Portland is giving communications vendor First Call a chance to re-test the city's emergency notification system. The exercise is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2012.

First CallThe City of Portland is giving communications vendor First Call a chance to re-test the city’s emergency notification system. The exercise is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2012. The first, failed launch of this test occurred late last month. During that attempt, First Call, the operators of the system, reached less than one percent of the roughly 317,000 devices attempted.

 

“Clearly, it’s disappointing First Call failed to meet its obligation during the first citywide test. But this is why we test systems in advance of an actual emergency,” said Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) Director Carmen Merlo. PBEM serves as the notification system’s administrator. “The ultimate goal is to have a high-functioning alert and notification tool, something that gives us confidence we can communicate to any number of residents during a major emergency.”

 

Thursday’s re-attempt will confirm whether First Call successfully resolved the technical issues that hampered its ability to send a single test message to all landline phones, as well as all cell, text and email subscribers who voluntarily registered their contact information at PublicAlerts.org. [more]

PBEM: Re-test of Portland's citywide emergency notification a success

The second attempt to launch a citywide test of Portland's community notification system is complete.

First Call testThe second attempt to launch a citywide test of Portland’s community notification system is complete. The exercise began at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2012, with private vendor First Call officially contacting all the targeted 328,427 devices across the city by 5:50 p.m. The company earlier predicted it could complete the test within three hours. It is possible First Call may have overestimated the call-load capacity associated with Portland’s local landline phone infrastructure. During First Call’s previous attempt at this test last month, it reached less than one percent of the targeted population before its own system halted.

 

“We’re relieved that First Call overcame its technical problems and pulled this off. We now have reasonable confidence this system can reach any number of Portlanders when needed,” said Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) Director Carmen Merlo. PBEM serves as the notification system’s administrator. “Of course, we would never rely on this system as our sole means to reach a huge population quickly during a major emergency. We lean on broadcast media, the Emergency Alert System, social media and other channels for that. But it’s good to know First Call can perform at this scale.”

 

During today’s re-test, PBEM was able to launch a single test message through First Call to all landline phones, as well as all cell, text and email subscribers who voluntarily registered their contact information at PublicAlerts.org. First Call has had success quickly launching notifications to Portland residents during small-scale emergencies over the past year-and-a-half.

 

Merlo encourages Portlanders to register for all future notifications by signing up at www.PublicAlerts.org. Personal contact information provided during registration is kept private and used only for the purpose of sending geographically tailored emergency messages.

Re-test of Portland's citywide emergency notification a success

The second attempt to launch a citywide test of Portland's community notification system is complete.

First Call testThe second attempt to launch a citywide test of Portland’s community notification system is complete. The exercise began at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2012, with private vendor First Call officially contacting all the targeted 328,427 devices across the city by 5:50 p.m. The company earlier predicted it could complete the test within three hours. It is possible First Call may have overestimated the call-load capacity associated with Portland’s local landline phone infrastructure. During First Call’s previous attempt at this test last month, it reached less than one percent of the targeted population before its own system halted.

 

“We’re relieved that First Call overcame its technical problems and pulled this off. We now have reasonable confidence this system can reach any number of Portlanders when needed,” said Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) Director Carmen Merlo. PBEM serves as the notification system’s administrator. [more]

Sign up to receive future notifications by visiting PublicAlerts.org.