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Friday, September 20, 2013

Infographic: National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these four steps:

  • Stay Informed: Information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. Access Ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see Ready.gov. Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies - water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand - for you and those in your care.
  • Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public, and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disaster Preparedness Month Highlights Need for Innovative MNEC Systems

Since 2003, the US government has designated September as National Preparedness Month, with the goal of encouraging individuals, businesses, and communities to be proactive in preparing for possible disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a wealth of useful planning information through the website www.ready.gov, and organizations like the Red Cross sponsor training sessions to prepare citizens for a wide range of natural and manmade disaster scenarios. This national spotlight raises the question what types of equipment are needed by businesses, schools, and communities to cope with emergencies, including Mass Notification and Emergency Communication systems (“MNEC”). AmpliVox Sound Systems commends these initiatives, and offers a variety of sound system products to meet the demands of emergency situations.

Whenever a crisis requires a large evacuation, effective communication is vital to the success of any response operation. All too often, emergency situations create obstacles to communication – power may be cut off, access routes may be blocked, isolated response teams may be operating with inaccurate information, or teams may have difficulty getting instructions to large groups of frightened civilians. The potential negative consequences for local governments, schools, businesses, sports arenas, and other public areas are obvious and overwhelming. Government agencies charged with public safety at every level must consider MNEC guidelines as a top priority if they hope to respond to disasters successfully.

In establishing disaster preparedness plans, emergency personnel in all settings should have equipment on hand to guarantee that, whatever obstacles arise, communication lines will remain available. Such equipment needs to meet a number of criteria, including:
  • Portability — the communication unit must go wherever the response teams go, with a minimum of weight and space.
  • Power – the unit must operate with battery back-up for long time periods without the need for outside power.
  • Versatility — one-to-one communication between team leaders must be available, as well as the capacity to address larger groups of responders and civilians.
  • Cost Effectiveness — the unit must be affordable enough to be available to all sizes and types of response organizations, including in-house safety teams and local public safety officials.
One innovative approach combines handheld radio networking with powerful long-range hailer sound amplification. AmpliVox Sound Systems has developed a portable system that links response leadership through MURS wireless, secure radios. During an emergency, the AmpliVox Radio Hailer provides a grab-and-go, battery operated system that brings voice coverage to an area where disaster has knocked out communication channels, and allows organizations to establish their own zone sites during a disaster scenario.

These zone sites enable Public Sector First Responders, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), or Corporate Preparedness Teams to broadcast messages to the Radio Hailer from up to one mile away, literally expanding crowd control coverage.

In recent drills, the Radio Hailer system enabled a corporate emergency response team to effectively communicate with each other and with employee groups in large, noisy areas, including street level meet-up spots and building atriums. The clients chose to use their own two-way radios, set to a restricted digital talk group that only specified radio holders (management, fire/life safety, and others) could access. Set-up included one master two-way radio used as the transmitter, and additional two-way radios as receivers at each position. The master radio was connected via the headphone jack to the auxiliary input of the Radio Hailer amp, which received the signal and then broadcast the information from the speaker. The customer established separate talk groups at two sites: New York City and Jersey City. The Radio Hailer with attached radios was configured for both sites. In an extreme emergency, this would allow the company to link all the Radio Hailers together at both locations for an all-hands announcement.

The success of the Radio Hailer model in this corporate setting suggests a wide range of other possible applications for this important new communication tool. In addition to private customers, it is currently in use at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico and the 21st Combat Support Hospital at Fort Hood. The straightforward design could easily be used by local law enforcement and public safety officials at all levels.

AmpliVox also offers a variety of other portable, battery powered products that aid in crowd management, team communication, and coordination, including:

SW300 Mity-Lite Portable PA

A lightweight PA with carrying strap and wireless mic, with a 35-watt amp covering spaces up to 1500 square feet

SW720 iPod/iPhone/iPad Wireless PA

A powerful PA system for spaces up to 2500 square feet, with full connectivity for most Apple devices

Half-Mile Hailer

A portable outdoor loudspeaker designed for the greatest range and durability under extreme conditions

Mini-Meg and Mity-Meg

A line of portable megaphone systems that deliver power, multiple functions, and long-lasting battery life in a compact and simple package.
The bottom line: when disaster strikes, effective communication can make all the difference. Any organization charged with emergency response duties must review its disaster plans with a focus on communication, and make sure it has the equipment on hand to stay connected. Technological innovations like the Radio Hailer and other AmpliVox emergency sound products make it possible for any community, military and government installation, school, or business to have a cost-effective, reliable, and portable long-range communication system, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Great Moments in Historic Speeches - George Washington

After an eight-year struggle with the British, the Continental Army (led by Commander-in-chief George Washington) finally achieved its ultimate goal in 1783 – to be an independent nation. Washington decided to resign from Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, thereby taking leave of “all the employments of public life” (Washington).

He delivered his resignation speech on December 23, 1783. The speech itself is not astounding; the astounding part is that, despite his service in the war and his inclination to retire, the public demanded that he become president in 1789. To this day, Washington remains the only president to have received 100% of the electoral votes.

The importance of this speech is not within its content, rather within its symbolism. George Washington was such a powerful figure within his culture that, even though he had already retired from public life, the public commanded him to become the president.

Certainly such a tale brings to mind the Philosopher King of Plato’s Republic. The Philosopher King does not want to rule, the public chooses him to rule. To this day, George Washington remains the only person unanimously elected to the Presidency.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Great Moments in Historic Speeches - John F. Kennedy

On January 20, 1961 John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States. The speech delivered at that ceremony is famous for the line “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

This line encouraged the American public to fight against the “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself” expressing Kennedy’s optimistic ideals.

Kennedy’s speech is an excellent one because of its content and delivery style. The message behind this speech is one of extreme optimism, embodying fundamental American beliefs.

The delivery of the speech is very steady and solid, encouraging confidence in the authority of the speaker while maintaining enough vocal variation to hold audience interest. John F. Kennedy’s speech illustrates how simplicity can make a great impression.

Although this speech showcased Kennedy’s great skill when addressing large audiences. Americans first witnessed JFK’s public speaking style during the first televised debate between presidential candidates. The fact that candidates were now seen by voters, made facial expressions, demeanor, and even clothing choices vitally important.

Whether he spoke in person or through the media, JFK was – and still is – praised for his cool, handsome appearance, solid speaking style, and carefully crafted speeches.