Creating Incidents

Creating new incidents in Beacon can be as straightforward as adding the incident location and description and clicking “Create”. It can also involve more advanced functions. This page describes in depth the full range of features available to dispatchers when creating new incidents, including:

  1. Create an Incident through the New Incident Panel
  2. 3rd-Party Mapping Integrations
  3. Editing Incorrect Addresses
  4. Updating Incident Locations

New Incident Panel

To create a new incident to alert responders:

  1. Click Create New Incident
  2. Add the Address (required)
    1. Click on the map to place the Red Map Marker where the incident is located. The address will automatically populate.
    2. Use the Search Bar to find a physical address, nearby landmarks or the latitude/longitude*
    3. Edit the Address, if necessary (this will not change the location of the Incident Marker)
  3. Add a Description (required)
    • It’s important to describe the incident location accurately, especially for SMS Responders who cannot use the map to locate the incident.
  4. Enter the Caller Name and Number (in case you need to call them back; this information is only available to web dispatchers and not shared with responders)
  5. Enter the Incident’s Class, Category and Type (these can be customized by clicking the “Edit” link)
  6. Select the Incident Priority
    • Beacon provides the feature of choosing how and when to Dispatch responders to an incident. Learn everything about Incident Priority here.
  7. Select the Dispatch Type
    • Important! Please read: Dispatch Types for more explanation on the difference between the Broadcast and Assign options — it will save you a lot of trouble if you are not familiar with basic dispatching principles
    • Practice: After you’ve read about the different Dispatch Types, download this PDF with practice exercises so you can see exactly how they work
  8. Choose the Maximum Number of Responders Assigned to this incident. Default quantity will be used if not edited. Default quantity can be changed in the settings page.
  9. Select responder Tags as desired. Learn more about responders tags here.
  10. Click Create at the bottom of the New Incident Panel to create the incident and send the alert

*Note: Latitude / Longitude should be entered using Signed Degrees format: e.g., 42.55782, -120.98657

To learn more about the Broadcast Alert and Assign Responder functions, read the Dispatch Types page.

3rd-Party Mapping Integrations

Beacon has additional integrations to assist in transmitting accurate locations for SMS users, including:

When either or both of these boxes are checked, the displayed coordinates will be included in SMS messages sent to Responders. The What3Words coordinates of the Incident Location are not sent to Responders using the mobile app because the location is already displayed on the map in the Beacon mobile app. The GPS coordinates of the Incident Location can be viewed by clicking on the Incident Location field included in the Incident Summary Card.

Editing Incorrect Addresses

Beacon uses mapping libraries to find addresses using a process called “Reverse Geo-Coding”. In short, this means that when you click on a map location, Beacon looks up the GPS coordinates to see what address is tied to those coordinates. While this works well in most cases, it’s not perfect — some places don’t have physical address that have been added to the libraries or they don’t have addresses at all. Fortunately, Beacon allows you to edit these addresses to make sure you are giving the most accurate description possible.

Here are three common scenarios that result in incorrect addresses and how to correct them:

1. Locations that have no Addresses

Sometimes, the location you’ve selected simply doesn’t have a physical address — for example, a river bank, a mountain trail, a field etc. When the map library has no address to give you, it usually defaults to “Unnamed Road“. The easiest way to resolve this problem is to:

  1. Place the Map Marker exactly where you want it
  2. Confirm that the Address isn’t acccurate and then
  3. Edit the Address to make it say what you want

In the image at right, you can see that the dispatcher was told by a witness that the incident was at the mouth of the Summerville Creek, but that isn’t an address that the library would store, so the dispatcher simply updates the address manually.

2. Locations within Parks

Parks cause different problems than locations with no addresses, but are essentially handled the same way — just edit the address to make it say what you want.

It’s important to keep an eye on parks though because placing your map marker on the correct location will often return an address. The problem is that the address is often the nearest building, typically the one right across the street. This is problematic because if Responders see an address in their alert, they’ll likely assume the incident is at a physical address — and not at the park across the street, especially if the incident is in the middle of the park.

In the image at right you can see how this can be corrected:

  1. The dispatcher places the map marker at the southeast corner of the park, as described by the witness
  2. However, the address that the library displays is a physical address: 4616 Cortelyou Ave.
  3. 4616 Cortelyou Ave. is actually a house across the street from the park
  4. The dispatcher edits the address to display the correct location
  5. Then the dispatcher adds additional instructions to make sure the Responders have an accurate location as possible

3. Locations within Intersections

Intersections are essentially handled the same way as the others — just edit the address to make it say what you need it to say. Sometimes we’ve seen that placing the incident marker can bring up an intersection by default, but it’s not consistent.

In the image at right you can see an example:

  1. The dispatcher places the map marker at the intersection of W. 12th St. and 6th Ave., as described by the witness
  2. However, the address that the library displays is a physical address: 485 6th Ave, which is actually a building
  3. The dispatcher edits the address to display the correct location
  4. Then the dispatcher adds additional instructions to make sure the Responders have as accurate a location as possible

Update Incident Location

Sometimes, the incident location will have to be updated after the incident has been created. Follow these steps to update the incident location:

  1. Display the Incident Summary Card by clicking the carat
  2. Click Update

There are different ways dispatchers can update the location:

  1. Moving the Incident Marker to the updated location
  2. Using the search bar to look up the address or coordinates (and then move the Incident Marker to the updated location)
  3. Typing in a custom location
  4. Click Confirm when you are satisfied; the updated information and coordinates will be sent to responders
  1. The updated location info will be displayed here

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