During the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the Safety and Emergency Services, Division of Radio and Technology in Pinellas County, Florida provided uninterrupted life-saving services to the most populous region of the state’s Gulf Coast thanks to its Rocket® MultiValue Application Platform. Despite the torrential rain and 90-mile-per-hour winds, the county maintained 100% uptime for emergency response systems to more than a million residents of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and surrounding communities.
The county runs a number of systems based on the Rocket MultiValue Application Platform, including a dispatching system for more than 70 fire stations and 400 fire trucks. In addition, the county has deployed Storm Impressions, an application built on Rocket technology that allows first responders to report the state of the weather in their jurisdictions. This tool enabled emergency responders to know precisely which areas had been impacted the most and quickly deliver aid to where it was urgently needed.
“During Hurricane Irma, all our Rocket UniData and Rocket Web DE applications performed flawlessly,” said Jacqueline Weinreich, Director of Radio & Technology. “The Rocket solution never faltered and in fact was instrumental in helping the county provide support and relief efforts to our citizens during this crisis.”
To meet the expected spike in demand, the county doubled its emergency call-center staff from 20 to 40 before Irma made landfall. As projected, the number of calls soared to nearly 6000 on the day of the hurricane – nearly triple the usual volume – and the number remained high for several more days. The Rocket MultiValue Application Platform provided 500 millisecond response time which enabled emergency personnel (who monitor up to 10 screens simultaneously) to rapidly identify and address the needs of the residents. The Rocket solution allowed responders to quickly enter initial damage assessments, seamlessly support priority dispatch protocols, as well as identify geocode structural issues within jurisdictional boundaries. The host-based nature of the Rocket application allowed for last minute modifications to be made by the county’s staff programmers, enabling them to make necessary changes to their dispatch protocols. Without having to deploy changes to each individual client, these changes are immediately available to every user.
“We are gratified that the Rocket MultiValue Application Platform enabled Pinellas County to save lives and protect its citizens from the after-effects of the punishing winds and rains Hurricane Irma delivered to that region of Florida,“ said P. Gary Gregory, SVP of Technology Solutions at Rocket Software. “Our thoughts go out to all of our customers and partners affected by Irma, Harvey and Maria. Certainly, crisis and emergency management is a great example of how technology can provide the automation and response times required to move people and resources to where they are most needed with a high level of efficiency.”