Florida abuse hotline ready for disaster

The Florida Family Abuse Hotline is incorporating a new mobile communications system that can be used in a natural disaster or other event that requires closing the office.

The hotline ' which fields calls from citizens, caseworkers and law enforcement officers reporting the suspected abuse and neglect of children and elderly adults ' is located in the hurricane-prone Florida Panhandle city of Tallahassee and, therefore, needs a reliable backup system.

On a typical day, hotline agents handle between 1,000 and 1,500 calls.

Before installing the new system, the 24-hour hotline used backup phone lines installed in a remote office building. But the backup lines did not include the hotline's call-routing and management software so service levels suffered.

The new system is called the Avaya Mobile Communications System, and it offers full-featured voice and data capabilities that can be quickly deployed to a temporary office, remote location or disaster site. MCS can be delivered in a rugged, mobile case on wheels or installed in a vehicle.

MCS supports analog, digital and IP communication devices and can provide connectivity using phone lines, data networks, cellular systems, satellites, radio or WiFi networks and the Internet.

The MCS selected by the Florida Family Abuse Hotline mirrors the capabilities of the hotline's primary contact center. It features computer-telephony integration and the same statistical reports, announcements, user names and logins.

Avaya's Call Center Express software allows the hotline staff to use one contact center software application to route and track abuse reports submitted by phone, fax or the Web, and Avaya's Interactive Response platform makes general information available around the clock without an operator's intervention.

What's more, the hotline contact center also supports a crime intelligence unit hotline that did not have a backup system before MCS was implemented. This hotline handles calls from investigators and caseworkers pursuing abuse reports and child placements who need criminal background check on the parties involved.

The abuse hotline is required by state law to record and report all incoming calls, so it uses an Avaya-compatible call-recording application from Verint Systems. This application has been added to the new MCS so the hotline can comply with the mandate even if agents need to relocate.

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