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Case Study: Mont Belvieu Emergency Services

Mont Belvieu Emergency Services

Overview

Mont Belvieu Emergency Services is located in Mont Belvieu, Texas, in Chambers and Liberty counties, 28 miles east of Houston. It includes an emergency management team of 18 and a volunteer fire department of about 30, and serves a rapidly growing region with a current population of approximately 15,000.

Industry

Government and Public Safety

Solution

Spok® Messenger (critical alerting)

Business Drivers

  • Provide backup communications for nearby emergency services organization
  • Continue to provide fast, effective community response with smoother communications
  • Support messaging to multiple device types

Results

  • Reliable, comprehensive service
  • Increased notification flexibility – individual/group messages and support for multiple recipient devices
  • Improved coverage for communications

The Challenge

The City of Mont Belvieu is at the center of a thriving region, home to more than a dozen natural gas production facilities and the site of the world’s largest salt dome natural gas storage caverns. In the middle of a building boom, the area has more than $24 million in infrastructure improvements underway along with multiple commercial projects.

As part of a group of municipalities working together, Mont Belvieu had always relied on the critical alerting system of nearby Chambers County Communications. Many people counted on the same system: four emergency medical service departments, 10 volunteer fire departments, and other vital county divisions such as the sheriff’s office, the arson team, and animal control.

“We were piggybacking off the Chambers County system,” said Bruce Oliphant, chief of emergency services for the City of Mont Belvieu. Given that they were in a hurricane-prone area, Oliphant thought it prudent to have an independent system. Without their own solution, the city could be vulnerable to disruptions in service, a serious situation for fire and emergency teams.

"They handled this like a multimillion-dollar project. I was really impressed with the level of commitment from the people at Spok. "

––Bruce Oliphant, Chief of Emergency Services

The Solution

Oliphant knew that the Chambers County Emergency Services staff was very happy with their Spok critical communications solution and had used it for years. It provided reliable coverage throughout the county and met the diverse needs of various departments. They appreciated the fact that it worked with multiple devices, allowing staff to communicate via text messaging and email if needed.

Oliphant approached Spok about creating an identical, smaller-scale system for Mont Belvieu that could support the city’s critical communication needs. Spok put together a multidisciplinary team, including project managers, engineers, and IT staff, to make it happen.

“They handled this like a multimillion-dollar project,” said Oliphant. “I was really impressed with the level of commitment from the people at Spok—the depth and breadth of personnel and resources that they assembled to implement this project was outstanding.”

The Results

“We have not had one issue, either with the hardware or the software,” said Oliphant, when asked about their new solution. Staff has been pleased with the reliable, comprehensive coverage and the ability to communicate via pagers, cell phones, text messaging, and email.

“It’s a nice combination of pagers along with cell messaging—which plays a big role for myself and the fire chief when we are out of town,” said Oliphant.

An added advantage: They are able to manage the system in-house. “I wanted something that was cost effective and wouldn’t require a Ph.D. in physics to implement, and that’s just what I got,” said Oliphant.