Flood crisis managed with E-SPONDER Express

First response agencies say incident management tool is a success

ST. LOUIS, March 27, 2008 -- As flood cleanup begins, first response organizations are beginning to evaluate their performance in responding to the needs of their communities. For some agencies, this task has become much easier -- and more rewarding -- with the recent implementation of the incident management tool, E-SPONDER Express.

Developed by St. Louis-based company Convergence Communications and built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (Nasdaq: MSFT), E-SPONDER Express is a solution designed specifically for first responders. It enables organizations, such as fire and police departments, to track, disseminate, and communicate information during an emergency utilizing FEMA-based Incident Command Structure (ICS).

"E-SPONDER Express provides these agencies with the situational awareness, incident management and communication tools they need so that their resources can be focused on responding to an event in the most effective manner possible," Convergence CEO and President Robert Wolf said.

Agencies that have utilized E-SPONDER Express in responding to the flood include Missouri Area C Incident Support Team, St. Louis County Police, Eureka Fire Protection District, Metro West Fire Protection District, Eureka Police Department, Missouri State Water Patrol and the US Coast Guard. The solution was used in the planning, response, and recovery processes, facilitating the collaboration of first response agencies across a variety of departments and disciplines.

"E-SPONDER Express allowed us to quickly gather incident action plans from numerous departments. Since data can be easily input and accessed in real-time, we immediately had a clear plan of action for responding to the rising water, and could identify areas where there was a need for additional assistance," said Mike Smiley, Deputy Director of Emergency Management, St. Louis County Police.

As floodwaters rose, E-SPONDER Express enabled the Eureka Fire Protection District to track events and response activities as they occurred. "With E-SPONDER Express, we were able to create action plans before the flood, and manage information electronically as we prepared for and responded to the situation. The ability to track information about the flooding and response actions in real-time also gave us the knowledge we needed to create plans on-demand as the situation changed," said Chief Greg Brown, Eureka Fire Protection District.

In addition to tracking and managing data, E-SPONDER Express has optional modules that can be added to the package, including E-SPONDER Alerts, which provides two-way communication with other responders and contacts via phone, email, text message, or pager. "The Alerts tool gave us a simple, effective way to quickly call on first responders across the State for the assistance we needed in managing this emergency. Alerts also has the ability to create multiple groups, special strike team and task force lists in addition to being able to call everyone simultaneously, allowing us to keep our teams, staff and elected officials informed throughout the response process," said Coordinator Mike Thiemann, Metro West Fire Protection District.

In addition to serving as an accessible, easy-to-use solution for planning and responding during emergencies, E-SPONDER Express also enables its users to immediately review their actions based on the data collected. "Incident Action Plans (IAP) and After-action reporting capabilities are a critical element of E-SPONDER Express," Wolf said. "Not only does government require that this information be provided, but these reviews give responders the ability to evaluate and modify their approach to future incidents."

E-SPONDER Express is an easy-to-implement solution for the real-time collaboration and data management needs of first responders. "The needs of first response agencies today are far more tactical than in years past. The ability of E-SPONDER Express to enhance situational awareness and maintain open lines of communication is a great benefit to its users," Wolf said. Using E-SPONDER Express for the first time in the response to an incident of such significant proportions, its users are touting its success. "E-SPONDER Express gave us a way to coordinate, collaborate and communicate as the community and region responded to this major event," Chief Brown said. "With this tool at our disposal, we were able to easily manage necessary information, and direct even more of our efforts and resources to our primary focus of responding to the flood, protecting and serving our communities affected by it."

SOURCE Convergence Communications

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