It’s easy to talk in hypotheticals and ideal scenarios, but we think it’s far more compelling to tell Amatra’s story through the successes of those who use our product.
We’ll periodically be chatting with our users on this blog, finding out the unique challenges they face and how Amatra has helped them tackle their toughest emergency-notification issues head on.
Our first user feature is Duane Davis, director of the Jackson County (Ind.) Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. We talked with him as he was preparing for a full-scale exercise at Indiana’s Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.
Amatra: What system were you using before to execute your emergency notification strategy?
Duane Davis: We would send out mass emails, post to social media and make individual phone calls — there were multiple notifications going out in a silo fashion.
Especially with time-sensitive issues, it could be problematic.
I had to find the websites providing the information, paste it into each one of the silos and disseminate the information. It was very time consuming— not very robust and definitely not user friendly.
Amatra: Did you have a turning point that led you to select a different option for emergency notification?
Davis: Yes. During an exercise, there was a discussion on how officials get notified of an event and who notifies the public…everything kept pointing back to our office. I agree that this information needs to be disseminated, but we are a 1.5-man office, and I can only do so much with a small amount of time.
So we started to look for a solution to consolidate all those steps.
Amatra: How did you narrow down your options?
Davis: We’ve had various vendors present solutions to us, and I also searched online for solutions. Madison County is also using Amatra and told me to take a look. We plugged each software into our evaluations and Amatra came out on top.
The system is robust. It’s pretty simple; it’s web based, so we can access it anywhere, and thanks to word of mouth from our friends in Madison County, we knew people liked it. Hearing how someone local actually uses Amatra really sold it.
Amatra: How are you using Amatra in Jackson County?
Davis: Weather is probably the primary use of the system, between the watches and warnings for the variety of weather we have here in Indiana.
But it’s also a huge benefit when you need to send specific notifications to specific groups — I will definitely use it during our deployment next week.
Amatra: What is the biggest benefit of Amatra?
Davis: There are actually a couple of things. I can craft one message and choose how it goes out, whether through voice, text, email or social media — or a combination of those. There’s a lot of technological flexibility.
I also like that I can send a message to a specific group, and they can respond to me in real time. I know they’ve received the message and can act immediately.
I think the other highlight to Amatra is its affordability of it. It’s definitely much less expensive than some other brands we looked at: It’s not some flashy, big-name system, but I can accomplish with Amatra just about everything the flashy ones can do for a fifth of the price.