This week I announced the launch of rspndr.me. It’s a simple cloud-based application that helps volunteer emergency personnel quickly communicate when responding to incidents. It took less than 10 hours to build but solves a very real problem facing volunteer emergency teams.
Rspndr.me came about after chatting with a volunteer fire fighter friend of mine. Their department found that they didn’t know who was responding to a call until all responding members showed up at the Fire Hall. Currently, initial communication between members consists of a one-way pager used by the 911 service to alert them to an incident. Two-way communication isn’t available until members arrive at the hall where the radios are located. This results in ‘period of silence’ between when a member receives a page to when he arrives at the hall. Rspndr.me solves this by using a simple voice and SMS service.
Who is it for?
rspndr.me is for any emergency service department that needs simple group-based messaging. More ‘non-urgent’ functionality may be added to help other vokunteer organixations such as Search and Rescue teams
How does it work?
- Members sign up their cell phone number and name with the service by sending a “START John Doe” SMS message to their private rspndr.me phone number. This adds their name and number to the database
- When the member receives a page that he is able respond to, he dials the private Rpsndr number from his mobile number (typically saved into speed dial). The automated service picks up, confirms with a voice response and sends out SMS messages to all other members indicating that John Doe is responding
- Members can pause, restart or end their SMS notifications by issuing simple SMS commands the Rspndr number.
- The intention of rspndr.me is to keeps things simple and automatic. Feedback from firehall members indicated that a mobile app or even writing a quick SMS message would be too difficult and time-consuming. Having a speed dial number that answers with a short’check-in’ message makes it quick and easy for anyone to use the service.
- rspndr.me had to be easy to maintain and configure. There are no web sites or applications requires to sign-up or modify settings. Members can individually start, pause and stop their subscription with simple SMS command.
- Minimal training and simplicity will ensure a high adoption rate.
How is it built?
Rspndr.me is built on Kohana (PHP framework) and MySQL.