How Eaton County Took on Historic Windstorm & Massive Power Outages

By Michael Armitage, ENP, MPA, Director Eaton County Central Dispatch

Massive power outages affecting more than one million people crippled areas across Michigan as a March windstorm tore through the state, leaving some without power for more than a week.

The storm brought a day full of extreme gusts reaching speeds between 60 and 70MPH causing downed power lines, fallen trees, brushfires; and left more people statewide without power than ever before in the history of Michigan’s leading energy provider, DTE Energy.

(Learn More, courtesy of ABC News, NEWS BEAT and YouTube)

At the peak of the storm, Eaton County Central Dispatch received 160 calls per hour compared to the average of an estimated 30 calls per hour.

There are approximately 109,000 people that live in Eaton County, and we have seven dispatch positions with sixteen total dispatchers and six supervisors prepared to help when an emergency like this strikes.

Once we heard the forecast and realized what to expect from the weather heading our way, it was all hands-on deck.

(1 million feet of power lines replaced. 1,700 lineworkers (DTE and out-of-state workers). 5,350 people working on restoration efforts. 12,000 power lines down (compared to 600 in a typical catastrophic storm). 1,285 utility poles replaced. 1,600 cross arms replaced. 800,000 customers restored. Courtesy of DTE Energy and YouTube)

Knowing it was going to be a busy day, the first thing we did was contact local media to see if they wanted to come to the dispatch center to watch the event unfold and do live segments with accurate details on all the power outage calls.

We knew real-time information would be available due to the adoption of a new technology from critical communication and data platform company, Rave Mobile Safety, (a competitor in the 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program.)

(Find out how Rave’s revolutionary safety technology can help keep your people safe. Courtesy of Rave Mobile Safety and YouTube)

A few months’ prior, the center implemented solutions to help us prepare and respond quicker during emergencies and they were certainly ready to be put to the test.

Rave Command View allowed us to see hotspots during the storm, providing map-based views of critical information including 9-1-1 call patterns and facility data.

With the Rave Panic Button app, emergency details are communicated with the necessary personnel clearly and in seconds, shortening our response times and improving responder safety.

Rave Prepare: Engage and Empower Your Community

Emergency Preparedness Registry

An emergency preparedness registry designed to help emergency managers understand the individual needs in their community with faster communication during a crisis.


Thousands of businesses, state and local agencies, hospitals, and universities rely on Rave Alert as their mass notification system

Accurate, Citizen-Provided Data on Interactive Maps

Showing data on interactive maps lets emergency managers easily identify residents with medical, access or functional needs, and quickly assess potential impact and allocate resources as needed.

With Rave Prepare’s maps and queries, emergency managers can rapidly identify and alert any group or segment of a community.

Fastest Emergency Notification

  • EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION that sends from anywhere to anywhere
  • FAST, easy internal and external mass notifications
  • PROVEN, reliable mass alert delivery by voice, text, email, social media, and more
  • UNLIMITED segmentation allows for granular internal and external emergency and non-emergency notifications

When heading into a storm of this magnitude or any storm for that matter, it is important to be prepared.

During every crisis, there are always things to learn and luckily, this storm showed us just how valuable the tools we had in place were in mitigating all the problems we encountered that day.

Saginaw firefighters cordon off the area where a tree nearly fell on a school bus on Hermansau near Ash in Saginaw on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. The high winds caused damage and power outages around Saginaw County. (Image Credit: Mac Snyder, MLive .com)
Saginaw firefighters cordon off the area where a tree nearly fell on a school bus on Hermansau near Ash in Saginaw on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. The high winds caused damage and power outages around Saginaw County. (Image Credit: Mac Snyder, MLive .com)

Looking back, having technology that gave us access to live data was a major win.

This live data allowed us to evaluate what we needed and where, so we could respond as quickly as possible.

The array of data that we were able to gather from new technology not only showed us where we needed to be, but also helped us make projections on future needs so we were ready to act before we were even needed.

Overall, one of the most important tips that I would want to pass on to other states and communities is ensuring that you have the proper planning and procedures in place coupled with the ability to respond effectively in real-time.

There are many ways to make sure you are prepared and the right technology for your needs can be a huge component.

Cities and states should feel confident that when an emergency hits, they have the necessary information, a response plan, the appropriate personnel, and an immediate method of notification so they can act quickly and cohesively.

In an emergency, seconds can be the matter of life or death, so being prepared as an agency is always our top priority.

Rave Mobile Security at a Glance

Rave Panic Button Certified by DHS ‘Approved List’ of Anti-Terrorism Technologies

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has formally recognized Rave Alert, Smart911 (the Rave 911 Suite) and the Rave Panic Button as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies through the award of both SAFETY Act Designation and SAFETY Act Certification.

SAFETY Act Certification and Designation

Through this award, key components of the Rave Platform are now on the DHS SAFETY Act’s “Approved Technologies” list.

The SAFETY (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology) Act enhances national security by providing additional liability protection to manufacturers of anti-terrorism technologies meeting the stringent requirements of SAFETY Act Designation and SAFETY Act Certification.

This recognition is further evidence of the effectiveness of the Rave platform, and the high-performing organization committed to the development and support of Rave’s lifesaving critical communications and data management platform.

“Evaluation for the SAFETY Act Certification and Designation required rigorous analysis and evaluation, which makes us honored and proud to be designated with such an important accreditation,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety.

Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety
Tom Axbey, president and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety

“We see this as another step forward for our customers as they can feel even more secure and trusted by community partners knowing that they can utilize our solutions without fearing legal liability if the technology is ever compromised following a terrorist act.”

The combination of Rave Alert, Rave 911 Suite and Rave Panic Button offers a comprehensive suite of solutions which provides a best-in-class, mass notification and emergency communications system.

Customized for military, government, healthcare, higher education and commercial organizations, last year the organization delivered more than 400 million emergency notifications and processed more than 25 million 9-1-1 calls.

The Rave Mobile Safety in 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program

The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program, is organized to recognize the most distinguished vendors of Physical, IT, Port Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, (Fire, EMT, Military, Support Services Vets, SBA, Medical Tech) as well as the Federal, State, County and Municipal Government Agencies – to acknowledge their outstanding efforts to ‘Keep our Nation Secure, One City at a Time.’

As an ‘ASTORS’ competitor, the Rave Panic Button will be competing against the industries leading providers of innovative mass notification systems.

ASTORS HSA 2017Good luck to the Rave Mobile Safety on becoming a Winner of the 2017 American Security Today’s Homeland Security Awards Program!

To learn more about Rave Mobile Security’s wide range of offerings, please visit the companies website at

Learn More…

Rave Panic Button in ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards (Video)