Case Study

The Challenge

Tappahannock-Essex Volunteer Fire Department wanted to notify their members via text message whenever a call was dispatched over the radio. The goal was to develop a solution that was affordable and that integrated into their website and existing text messaging system.

Existing solutions on the market either did not have the capability to integrate into a website, were unable to send alerts automatically, or required that recipients be manually added into software on a dedicated computer. They also relied on sending e-mail to mobile devices, which can result in significant delays in delivery.

The Solution

We produced an affordable solution that uses a microcomputer to listen for the distinct dispatch tones that are broadcast over the radio when the department has a call. The microcomputer we decided on was a Raspberry Pi Model B, which is very affordable, does not have any moving parts, and operates on 5 volts of electricity.

Raspberry Pi Model B

When the department's tones are detected, a text message is immediately sent to members of the department, via Twilio Cloud Communication, with the name of the station dispatched and a link to a page containing a recording of the dispatch audio. The call audio is recorded and then uploaded to the department's website. Members without smart phones may also receive the dispatch audio in the form of a multimedia message sent to their phone.

Recipients are added dynamically through the department's website, allowing each member to change their phone number or choose whether or not to receive alerts. The system is fully integrated into the department's text messaging system, which is also based on Twilio, and user settings can also be changed by sending simple commands to the alert phone number.

Because this system is integrated into the department's website, dispatch audio recordings can easily be linked to Blog posts and shared via social networking.

Take a look at our communication solutions to learn how we can help with your unique text or voice based communication requirements.

To learn more about Tappahannock-Essex VFD, a valued client web design of ours, please visit their website at tevfd.org