UMS Case Study: Haugesund Firedepartement


The fire department of Haugesund Municipality changes to an effective and cost efficient messaging system

The fire department of Haugesund Municipality changes to an effective and cost efficient messaging system The municipality wanted to find a new system for alerting citizens about planned chimney sweeps, inspections and of changes in the planned schedule. The new system sends SMS to registered mobile phones and simultaneously disseminates voice messages to registered fixed line phones; it also allows residents to respond back to the authorities if they need to reschedule or to provide any other relevant information. In this manner, information is disseminated immediately and both citizens and the fire departments can better plan their workday.

Haugesund municipality is located be- tween Bergen and Stavanger, on the west coast of Norway. The population is approximately 37.000. The fire and emergency preparedness department of Haugesund is responsi- ble for the fire and rescue services of the municipality and is also tasked with in- spection of the county as well as conduct- ing training and providing information. In Norway all fire departments are re- sponsible for the regular cleaning of chimneys within their area. The chiefs

of the fire departments are ultimately in charge of the frequency depending on the need. By law, the owner of the house or apartment is notified in writing the date of scheduled chimney sweep. This notice is provided a few days before the appointment, so that the owner can prepare for sweeping to be carried out. If an inspection is to be carried out, a notification will be sent to the owner in advance, so that the owner can be avail- able on of the day of the inspection. For several decades the fire depart- ments around the country have com- municated through delivering letters to


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“This is a message from the fire department. Sorry to report that we cannot sweep your chimney as previously announced due to unforeseen events. You will receive a new date shortly. We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause.”

mailboxes regarding planned chimney sweeping or inspection. When there was a change of schedule, the fire depart- ment manually used to call residents or they chose not to inform the citizens about the change at all. Naturally, this manual way to follow the advanced notice legislation for service and inspections took a lot of manpower. Along with the Norwegian national plan regarding digitisation of public com- munication from 2012, the municipal- ity of Haugesund wanted to find a new system for alerting their citizens about planned chimney sweeps, inspections and changes to planned schedules. The fire department of Haugesund as- sessed the services of UMS to provide an effective system to reduce the time and effort spent on notifying citizens re- garding chimney sweeping schedules. The solution that was presented to them was UMS’ Address Based Alert System The choice of ABAS as the best solution

(ABAS), which utilises a multi-channel approach to send notifications.

thorities if they need to reschedule or provide any other relevant information in response to the notification. Text and voice messages work far better than older traditional methods which essentially solves the primary problem

ABAS allows the authorities at Hauge- sund’s fire department to identify the regions and houses designated for the mandatory chimney sweep or inspection through a digital map and automatically provides them the option to send text and voice messages to the residents in these buildings. The system extracts contact informa- tion of the residents using a public data- base that stores the contact informa- tion (business and private) of citizens. The system is continuously updated and avoids any effort needed to ex- tracting updated contact information like changed phone numbers/ points of contact, etc. The system sends SMS to registered mobile phones and simultaneously dis- seminates voice messages to registered fixed line phones. The system also al- lows citizens to respond back to the au-

“UMS Service Alert solved many of our

challenges and makes the everyday job for the fire de-

partment easier. The system simplifies the

traditional way of notifying considerably. We save time and resources with this system and consider it stable and reliable.” Øystein Fonnes Chief Fire Prevention Officer, Department for Fire & Rescue Services Haugesund Municipality


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of the fire department. An SMS mes- sage can be read instantly, resulting in improved communication between the authorities and its citizens. ABAS also generates detailed delivery reports and provides an option to respond to the no- tification. In addition, a recipient can re- ceive response to voice alerts via DTMF. UMS estimates that 90% of affected citi- zens receive the message within min- utes after they are sent out. ABAS deliver alerts much quicker than traditional methods, which need plan- ning and it could take days to circulate a message. The authorities at Haugesund can now initiate an alert within minutes, and what could traditionally take a week, can now be delivered within minutes. Text and voice messages are cost effec- tive; they each cost 1 NOK (Norwegian Krone) compared to 10 NOK to send the message in a letter. Previously, with sev- eral fire departments were also driving around to drop letters in mailboxes, which was a very costly routine. It is now An SMS message can be read instantly, resulting in improved communication between the authorities and its citizens.

possible to reduce the cost from approxi- mately 50 NOK per alert to 1 NOK.

The earlier time consuming calls to in- habitants about changes in schedules have been replaced by SMS or automat- ed voice messages and can therefore be accommodated and communicated more efficiently. The alert can be initi- ated in a few minutes instead of several hours and the ability to setup pre-de- fined templates saves even more time for fire departments. In today’s digitalised society, there is an expectation to be informed in a quick and efficient manner for any planned or unplanned changes to schedules. ABAS solves this need and gives the best cus- tomer service as the fire department now can act quickly and in a contem- porary way.

Text messaging is the best way to pro- vide better service. Customers receive information immediately wherever they may be and can also reply if they need to. With this approach, fire departments can better plan their workday and citi- zens can easily follow correct guidelines to provide a safe work environment for the fire department. With this new method of communicating, Haugesund municipality has ceased all traditional communication through let- ters delivered to mailboxes. They now send an SMS or a voice message several days before their planned chimney sweep or inspection as well as a final reminder before it is due. The digitisation of alert- ing gives people the choice of their pre- ferred channel wherever they are grant- ing higher customer satisfaction. Improved and cost efficient every day work


Unified Messaging Systems ASA • Innspurten 15, 0663 OSLO • Pb. 6301, Etterstad, 0604 OSLO, Norway


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