Mass notification system keeps post residents in the know
October 1, 2009
By Carl Purvis
'One Call Now' available through Villages at Belvoir
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- In the case of a natural disaster, Fort Belvoir residents can expect to receive information through the post's mass notification loudspeaker system, "Giant Voice."
But, how can residents be sure to know about smaller emergencies or even community events'
According to Julie Divine, community manager with The Villages at Belvoir, the answer is One Call Now, a service Pinnacle launched in May.
The One Call Now system sends mass e-mails and phone calls within seconds of inputting the message.
"The purpose of the system is to notify residents of planned and emergency utility outages, community events, service reminders and [the publication of] our quarterly newsletter," Divine said.
Additionally, Divine said she is designing a pilot program that would send an automated message to each resident after their maintenance request has been completed and give the resident an opportunity to provide feedback on the service they received.
Divine said the system is not only critical in emergencies, but, also more efficient and better for the environment.
"In order to reach all residents, we are still putting flyers on every door. But, the goal is to discontinue this as soon as possible," Divine said. "We are using a lot of paper by delivering flyers to more than 2,000 homes, not to mention plastic door-hanger bags."
To date, 89 messages have been sent, Divine said.
"All 89 messages have been success stories because they provided valuable information to our residents. In particular, we have been able to keep the Woodlawn Village residents informed about emergency and scheduled water shut downs as part of the renovations," she said. "These notifications helped Woodlawn residents plan their day accordingly, when water had to be shut off to make necessary repairs."
Divine said in order to receive information through the One Call Now, residents must enroll for the service.
"This is a very effective way to keep our residents informed," Divine said. "Now, all we need is for them to sign up. We are currently at 67 percent across the installation, but, I know we [can] do better," she said.
"Residents can sign up by calling, e-mailing or by [going] in person to their management office," Divine said. "Each resident can provide up to six phone numbers and five e-mail addresses."
Although the method of delivery may be new to Belvoir, Divine said keeping residents informed about their communities is not.
"The idea of resident notification is not new. We have been papering neighborhoods with flyers as long as there have been neighbors," Divine said. "One Call Now provides the technology to make this process a lot easier and more efficient.
"There are a few other installations using the One Call Now system; however, I believe Belvoir is the front runner in making this system a priority to keeping our residents informed," Divine said.