THE EASTMAN ALERT SYSTEM ALLOWED US TO QUICKLY AND BROADLY COMMUNICATE CRITICAL INFORMATION TO ENSURE THAT ALL PERSONNEL COULD GET OUT OF HARM ’ S WAY .
A warehouse operator has a heart attack while on-site at a chemical plant , collapsing without warning as his colleagues rush to call an ambulance . A process creates a hazardous vapor release that has the potential to put a chemical plant and its surrounding area at risk . A severe thunderstorm threatens the safety of workers who are outside and on elevated equipment . In all three scenarios , communication is critical . The faster one can get the word out about a developing situation , the better . It ’ s not just a matter of efficiency – it ’ s about keeping people safe .
That ’ s what Eastman Chemical Company has always sought to do . A global specialty materials manufacturer headquartered in Kingsport , Tennessee , Eastman was originally established in 1920 to manufacture photographic chemicals for Eastman Kodak . Today , over a century later , it has become a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of advanced materials , chemicals , and fibers for everyday purposes . The company now has more than 50 manufacturing sites worldwide and employs approximately 14,500 people . In 2012 , as part of a strategic safety improvement initiative to eliminate workplace injuries , the company re-evaluated its emergency notification infrastructure . After finding it lacking , the company opted for an upgrade .
Overcoming the complexity of crisis communication
Kingsport hosts more than just Eastman Chemical Company ’ s headquarters . It ’ s also the location of a major manufacturing site . With over 7,000 employees and contractors on-site at any given time , the Kingsport plant is not only Eastman ’ s largest manufacturing facility , but also one of the largest in the United States .
“ Our site hosts five operating divisions and multiple manufacturing operations , both batch and continuous ,” said Keith Bennett , Emergency Services Manager at Eastman . “ This is in addition to our corporate campus , which requires completely different messaging from the rest of the facility . Eastman employs its own firefighters , EMTs and fire maintenance teams at this site , as well .”
Eastman ’ s original emergency notification system used only three device platforms , was antiquated and illsuited to handle this large site and level of complexity .
“ We lacked both standardization and modern technology ,” said Bennett . “ Using three different platforms , including ringdown phones , two-way radios and pagers , we had the potential for inconsistencies . Sometimes you wouldn ’ t communicate the same message on each device , or sometimes you ’ d forget to use one of the devices or only terminate the message on one of them . The device technology was also outdated and not reliable .”
After evaluating the market , Eastman chose BlackBerry AtHoc . Trusted by organizations around the world for collaboration in times of critical events and emergencies , AtHoc offers invaluable situational awareness , visibility and control . In Eastman ’ s case , it eventually would act as the foundation for a customized , on-premises alerting system known as Eastman Alert .
The birth of Eastman Alert
“ When we deployed BlackBerry AtHoc , we intended to replace our ringdown phone system ,” said Bennett . “ But we wanted to retain both our local pager system and our two-way radios as important communication devices . BlackBerry AtHoc had the ability to interface with these legacy devices while at the same time
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