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Action Notification

Dispatcher's Guide for the Action Notification Network

This guide is designed to compliment the Dispatching Guide that is sent to new dispatchers.  Please follow these guidelines to improve dispatching quality.

Message Length
Many subscribers utilize text pagers and digital cellular phones for receiving dispatches from the Action Notification Network.  These devices, unlike regular email, are often limited to about 150 characters.  For this reason it is important to keep messages short and to the point.  Depending on the category you are dispatching, the message includes from 35 to 75 characters that contains subject, category, group, dispatch time and dispatcher ID.  Take this into consideration when calculating the total characters.  New, a character counter has been added to the form to help you gauge the length of your messages.

Duplicate Messages
It is possible that more than one dispatcher may try to send the same alert.  There are several steps you can follow to reduce duplicate postings.

  1. Check the Dispatch Log.  The last three pages recorded to the log are displayed on the Dispatch Page. 
  2. Before you hit "Send" check your email or pager to be certain an alert has not yet been dispatched.
  3. Consult other Dispatchers. Many of our dispatchers use the AOL Instant Messenger Service, or AIM.  A list of AIM users is included in your introduction email and is updated periodically. 

Message Content
The Action Notification Network's subscribers only want to be notified of events that would be considered newsworthy.  Subscribers carefully select the type of events and the times they want to be alerted for, but it is up to you to dispatch only events that would be of interest. 

An Example
It is tempting to dispatch that a car accident with injuries has just occurred.  However, dozens of such calls are made to the police, fire and EMS everyday.  Most are not newsworthy.  However, if an accident with injuries is reported and the car has rolled over or is on fire, then perhaps this might be considered a "Major Accident" that should be dispatched.

Message Categories to Dispatch
Although it is possible for you to dispatch any category, there are many notification events that you are not to utilize.  Please review the Notification Events.

Special Service Dispatchers Only:
Lead Dispatchers Only:
Flash Flood Warning
Flash Flood Watch
National Event
Thunderstorm Warning
Thunderstorm Watch
Tornado Warning
Tornado Watch
Action Dispatchers please use the following categories:
Airport Alert 1 - Standby at Station
Airport Alert 2 - Aircraft in Trouble
Airport Alert 3 - Aircraft Down
Car Chase
Fire, Multi Alarm
Major Accident
Missing Child*
Officer Down/Assist
Plane Crash
Train Derailment

* Only when this information is being made public by government officials.

Follow-Up Messages
As a general rule ANN Action dispatchers do not make follow-up dispatches.  Special Service and Lead Dispatchers may make follow-up dispatches in their categories as they feel necessary.

It is possible that a situation may change so that a dispatch in a different category is warranted.  For example, if a "Fire" is dispatched, it may be necessary to later dispatch "Fire, Multi Alarm" if on-scene firefighters request more man power and apparatus to help battle a blaze.

Many pager and cellular phone companies limit the number of pages that a customer can receive without being billed an over-the-limit fee.  This is one reason why it's important to moderate the number of pages that are dispatched.