The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an American motor-sport event held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, is one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. Because it rakes in nearly a billion dollars in annual revenue, the event draws considerable crowds. Noisy engines and big crowds usually means at least a few incidents, so emergency responders have to be on alert.
Held during the first full week of August, the rally began in the ’30s as an event for stunts and races. Over the decades, it has evolved to become a nearly-sacred meeting for motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world. According to Rapid City Journal, emergency responders were much better equipped at this year’s rally, all thanks to a new tool.
The unnamed tool is a Unified Communications solution, which enabled firefighters, ambulance crews, law enforcement, and other emergency officials to join forces and deal with emergencies much more efficiently throughout the entire Black Hills region.
At 4PSA, we develop Unified Communications & Collaboration apps that serve such scenarios, and many others as well. VoipNow sports an Intercom function that broadcasts a caller’s message to multiple extensions at once no matter if callees pick up the call or not, thus increasing chances to get help. Additionally, any respondent can patch in and offer assistance. Call Forwarding is especially helpful as well, as it can be set to transfer an emergency call to the next-in-line crew capable of dealing with a situation (even out in the field on their mobile devices).
This year’s gathering has reportedly claimed 13 lives in crashes alone, something that state officials can do little about, with or without efficient communication solutions on their hands. However, emergencies not related to crashes were dealt with much more effectively using such features.
Jeff Pierce, an engineering manager for the state Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, said in a Thursday briefing for the state Public Safety Communications Council that the effort was a success. “It was a lot of planning and a lot of time spent,” Pierce said. “We were a lot better prepared for this rally than ever before.” He stressed that UC has been so efficient, it would be worthwhile to expand the effort to the entire state of South Dakota.