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Customer Spotlight

Safety-Obsessed SAC Wireless Simplifies Emergency Response With AlertMedia

  • Communication
    Gives employees instant, 24/7 access to a live person ready to help them through any critical situation
  • Safety
    Keeps employees safe and connected while working in remote, potentially dangerous conditions
  • Reliability
    Syncs with HRIS automatically, ensuring message deliverability in the rapidly growing company
  • Visibility
    Gives executives immediate insight into all critical events impacting field safety and operations
  • Industry
    Telecommunications
  • Locations
    25
  • Employees
    2,000
  • Products
    Emergency Communication Software, Employee Safety Monitoring
  • Primary Uses
    Emergencies, Business Continuity, Operations
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SAC Wireless Prioritizes Safety for an Isolated Workforce

Founded in 1996 and now operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nokia, SAC Wireless is a telecommunications company that develops and implements network infrastructure solutions. Working with telecom carriers, major tower owners, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), SAC Wireless helps its customers design, build, and upgrade cellular networks. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, SAC Wireless now has 25 locations and approximately 2,000 employees across the U.S.

To facilitate two-way communication and ensure the safety of its employees—the majority of which are in the field on any given day, working on cell towers in remote or isolated environments—SAC Wireless uses AlertMedia’s emergency communication software and 24/7 emergency hotline service. Long known for its rigorous safety standards, SAC Wireless relies on AlertMedia to maintain its core value of safety, fulfill its duty of care to protect employees from harm, and further enhance its strong safety culture.

Rapidly Growing Dispersed Workforce Requires Better Communication

SAC Wireless, in the span of just a few years, grew from a small regional company located in the Midwest to an organization with 25 locations and 2,000 employees coast to coast. In fact, the company saw two consecutive years of 100 percent year-over-year growth and knew it needed a technology solution that could support and streamline its emergency preparedness and response procedures. Given the inherent safety risks that come with climbing and operating on 400-foot cell towers—where employees are working outside with electricity, often in remote locations and with limited cellular coverage—SAC Wireless wanted a best-in-class emergency communication solution that could grow with them.

Larry Pomykalski, Director of Business Continuity and Fleet Operations at SAC Wireless adds, “One of our core values as a company is ‘100 percent safe.’ Whether you’re in an office building in Chicago or a cell tower site in Utah, we want everyone going home safe to their families at the end of the day. That’s something we pride ourselves on and keep at the center of every decision we make.”

"Whether you’re in an office building in Chicago or a cell tower site in Utah, we want everyone going home safe to their families at the end of the day. That’s something we pride ourselves on and keep at the center of every decision we make."

Prior to AlertMedia, SAC Wireless used manual phone trees to communicate during emergencies, but that was becoming increasingly difficult to manage in a rapidly growing company where organizational charts were constantly changing. And since phone trees are also prone to error and long delays, it was not an effective approach for disseminating time-sensitive messages. To report a safety or operational incident in the field, employees had to call and speak with their regional safety manager. Since tower construction and maintenance activities are often conducted during nights and weekends, however, field-based employees couldn’t always reach or get an immediate response from their safety manager, incidents were prone to falling through the cracks, and the process at times lacked appropriate documentation.

SAC Wireless needed a failproof, reliable way to enable two-way communication, ensure the safety of its employees in the field, and give all stakeholders—including the CEO and other executives—full visibility into all safety-related events and their resolutions.

A Simplified, Centralized Process Drastically Improves Response Times

To keep its people safe and connected in the field, SAC Wireless turned to AlertMedia’s emergency communication system and 24/7 emergency hotline service. Pomykalski reveals, “Before AlertMedia, we looked into a number of different technology solutions but weren’t able to find a single vendor that could offer us both an emergency communication system with our must-have capabilities and an emergency hotline service. Only AlertMedia ticked all the boxes. We have complete confidence in the technology.”

"We looked into a number of different technology solutions but weren’t able to find a single vendor that could offer us both an emergency communication system with our must-have capabilities and an emergency hotline service. Only AlertMedia ticked all the boxes."

Should an emergency occur in the field, employees now contact a dedicated, toll-free number manned by AlertMedia’s 24/7 emergency hotline service. By calling this number—which is printed on stickers adhered to every worker’s hard hat and company vehicle—employees get immediate help from a live, expertly-trained AlertMedia monitoring specialist that acts as an extension of the SAC Wireless team.

"AlertMedia’s monitoring team can notify our entire crisis response team simultaneously and even include a conference bridge, helping us immediately assemble and connect key decision makers. It has profoundly decreased our safety response times."

Each call is split into one of two types: safety incident or operational disruption. Prior to the rollout of the hotline service, SAC Wireless worked with AlertMedia to establish custom-built emergency action plans—which include pre-built messaging, required tasks, and specified emergency contacts—for each type of event. The AlertMedia monitoring specialist qualifies incoming calls to determine which custom action plan and related messaging will be used to communicate to the appropriate set of emergency contacts. AlertMedia also provides SAC Wireless with incident summary reports, improving documentation and giving all stakeholders—including C-level executives—complete visibility into all safety and security events.

As part of the safety incident action plan, for example, the monitoring specialist uses AlertMedia’s emergency communication software to rapidly alert members of the SAC Wireless crisis response team. “AlertMedia’s monitoring team can notify our entire crisis response team simultaneously and even include a conference bridge, helping us immediately assemble and connect key decision-makers. This instant, multi-channel notification—which includes the critical background information we need to respond appropriately—eliminates the need for time-consuming, one-on-one communication. It has profoundly decreased our safety response times,” adds Pomykalski.

And the best-in-class support from AlertMedia isn’t limited to its professionally trained monitoring team. A dedicated customer success manager (CSM) was there from the get-go to ensure a seamless implementation and continues to provide support and guidance on an ongoing basis.

"Our relationship with AlertMedia is the type of relationship vendors always say you’ll get, but then you never really do."

Keeping a Constantly Growing Workforce and Response Teams Connected During Emergencies

Not only does AlertMedia’s emergency communication software enable the monitoring team to execute SAC Wireless’ action plans and rapidly notify the company’s crisis response team of critical incidents, but the entire organization also uses AlertMedia’s software to communicate more effectively during emergencies.

According to Pomykalski, the most valuable differentiators of AlertMedia’s emergency communication software are its two-way messaging capabilities and its ability to automatically sync with the company’s existing employee contact database.

“In such a rapidly growing company, it isn’t feasible to manually add new employees to the system in real-time and ensure everybody’s contact information is correct. By automatically syncing with our HRIS database, we feel confident that our people data is always up-to-date and accurate. With the ability to build out dynamic groups, we know the right people will get the messages they need, when they need them. Not receiving an important safety notification because of outdated contact information could be catastrophic.”

The two-way messaging capabilities—which include audience communication features such as read receipts, surveys, incoming messages, and “need help” requests—enable Pomykalski and his team to rapidly identify which workers are safe and which employees may be in need of assistance. And with the AlertMedia mobile app—installed on the devices of every member of the SAC Wireless team responsible for employee safety and security—administrators are instantly alerted to and able to act on any critical incidents needing their support, no matter where they are or what the time.

And with an intuitive, user-friendly design, the platform requires minimal training and ongoing support. “One of the big advantages of AlertMedia is how easy it is to use and train our employees. Our team can be up and running after a quick 15-minute overview,” adds Pomykalski.

"With the ability to build out dynamic groups, we know the right people will get the messages they need, when they need them. Not receiving an important safety notification because of outdated contact information could be catastrophic."

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Discover a Better Way to Communicate During Critical Events
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