Spotlight: eDispatches allows firefighters to receive information needed to perform their jobs effectively
The audio dispatching service was born after a firefighter's pager failed to alert him of an emergency at a grocery store — the same one he was shopping in at the time
Company name: eDispatches
Headquarters: Kinnelon, N.J.
Signature Product: Audio dispatching service
1. Where did your company name originate from?
eDispatches is an amalgamation of electronic and dispatches. When we first started sending notifications to personal electronic devices, it was a word that captured both aspects.
Penguin Management, Inc, the company that operates the eDispatches service, is named for the predominant computer operating system on which the backend processes are carried out. That operating system is called GNU-Linux. Linux's unofficial mascot is a penguin.
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
The initial spark was in 2003. While working as a full-time IT professional, Tom Stearn was also a member serving his local volunteer fire department in Morris County, New Jersey. Faced with the poor reliability of his department-issued pager (which was used to alert him to emergencies), and as someone with a significant interest in radios and computers, he was uniquely positioned to solve a problem that was about to become all too clear.
One afternoon while shopping at his local grocery store, Tom was surprised to be met by members of his own department as they responded to a dispatch at the very store in which he was shopping. Despite the fact that he was literally on scene at the time of the alarm, he was completely unaware of the emergency because the pager he carried on his belt had never alerted.
He received a good-natured ribbing from the arriving crew and while it was amusing in the moment, he still felt a great sense of frustration under the surface. He set out to make sure that he'd never have to repeat his grocery store experience again. That's when eDispatches was born.
3. What is your signature product and how does it work?
Our signature product is our audio dispatching service. Many first responders are familiar with receiving their audio dispatches on their pagers or radios. eDispatches provides that same audio dispatch directly to your phone, wherever you are located.
This is done by providing a small set of equipment that works similar to your traditional pagers, only the difference is it records the dispatch messages and sends the audio alerts to wireless devices carried by emergency personnel.
Unlike a radio pager, the eDispatches equipment can handle multiple tone-outs with no range limitations. By using eDispatches, you are capitalizing on the one device you never leave home without, your mobile device.
4. What makes your company unique?
Many of our employees are volunteer or career first responders. We share and understand the importance of a reliable system and relate to all of our customer needs. Whether your department is volunteer or career, our staff is available to help. This system was designed not only for our customers, but also for ourselves.
5. What do your customers like best about you and our products?
Our clients appreciate the fact that there is no dispatch involvement when setting up eDispatches for the first time. Our proprietary eDispatches equipment is simple to set up at your department, office or home. There are no additional steps for your dispatcher to learn or perform which makes implementing a new service easier for everyone.
6. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?
The most rewarding part about serving the first responder community is hearing the amazing stories about how eDispatches helped their community. We frequently communicate with many customers via phone/email or at tradeshows and hear stories how if it wasn’t for eDispatches, many of their members wouldn’t have known about the call for service. A significant number of clients report they see an increase in personnel at incidents due to using eDispatches. Hearing these stories reminds us of our mission and why eDispatches was created.
7. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety?
eDispatches has provided support to Code 3 for a Cure, Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, as well as other organizations that assist first responders with various needs.
8. What's next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
eDispatches has a valuable in-house development team that continues to innovate. In 2020 we are updating our mobile app to include myriad of new features and advancements that will continue to assist first responders and allow them to receive the information they need to effectively perform their jobs.