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After dispatching emergency responders, Communications Centers that receive citizen calls for a child locked in a vehicle should query the caller to determine if the vehicle is a GM product as it may be possible to have the doors unlocked remotely by OnStar prior to the arrival of emergency personnel. By calling 1-888-4ONSTAR, an OnStar Advisor can send a remote signal that can unlock the vehicle. With a child locked in a vehicle, a matter of seconds can mean the difference between life and death.
OnStar participates in the AMBER Alert notification system. This means that when an AMBER alert is issued by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) network, any one of the more than six million OnStar subscribers can push their red emergency button and report suspicious activity or information related to the missing child quickly to public safety authorities. OnStar Advisors can also provide users with traffic advisories for road closures and incidents, wildland fire situations, hazardous materials incidents requiring streets to be shut down as well as weather updates and advisories.
OnStar Command Center
When a natural disaster occurs, a special facility called the OnStar Command Center follows the events as they unfold. The Command Center is a secure facility located in downtown Detroit, MI, that is staffed 24 hours each day by highly trained communications and technology personnel. It is a modern, technologically advanced operations center that resembles NASA’s Mission Control center. The tiered facility is surrounded by computer consoles and has large screen displays showing everything from weather to data about OnStar call volumes to a fascinating map of North America. From this location, OnStar personnel monitor calls received and oversee the operation of the entire OnStar communication network. When a disaster hits, the OnStar Command Center personnel monitor the events in real time. They provide information to their OnStar Advisors so they can relay evacuation routes and locations of services such as shelters, food or gas stations to OnStar subscribers.
In the aftermath of the catastrophic tornado that struck in May 2011, Joplin, MO, lost much of its street signage. OnStar, by using its aerial imagery technology, was able to provide exact locations to responder personnel in GM vehicles who otherwise were unable to identify their locations due to the devastation. Called “Crisis Assist” OnStar provides open services to subscribers during these tough times. When interacting with an OnStar subscriber in a personally urgent situation, OnStar can direct how to travel evacuation routes and even provide lodging information for the displaced.
The world of vehicle telematics is here today as seen with our look at the OnStar system. From knowing where the vehicle is to being able to predict the likelihood of injury, telematics offers much to make the work of communications personnel and public safety responders safer and more efficient. Together with providers such as OnStar, the public safety community can better serve our customers in their time of need. n