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Just what the heck is Rapid Responder?

June 2, 2016

This is the official propaganda statement ;).

Rapid Responder is an All-Hazards Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management System that securely stores and shares emergency operating procedures and response plans used by facility staff and first responders to effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from any emergency.”

An emergency response plan.  All the important information you may need if your location has a security incident.  Like a shooter or a hostage taker.  Where police and other emergency responders would go when needing information about your school, site, buildings, etc.

Rapid responder is a private company capitalizing on the state of fear that we now live in.  RR is a service offered to organizations that would be *soft spots for terrorist.

RR is a service that collects and stores information with the goal of organizing it to assist law enforcement and emergency response personal.

RR brings organization and predictability to an otherwise very stressful situation.

Our administration likes it.  RR makes them feel prepared.  Prepared is a good feeling.  If something terrible did happen, at least we have all the important information in one place, secure behind passwords that the bad guys should not be able to penetrate.

RR works with people in our org, collecting data about things like

  • building locations
  • building diagrams/schematics
  • student information, # of students
  • access points into and out of buildings
  • rendezvous points
  • surrounding areas – woods, housing, water etc.
  • roads into and out of area
  • maps
  • safety equipment on site
  • egress locations – exits
  • utility locations, power, water, electrical
  • network infrastructure, phones
  • staging locations, for community members
  • emergency response team members

I attended one of the initial meetings with RR and the admin. at one of our tech centers.  We spend about an hr discussing the building, access points and other information about the location that was then added to our site.  Later, admins with permissions added more detailed diagrams and schematics, further enhancing the info. on the site.

The information is not publically available, of course not.  You don’t want the bad guys accessing this information.  I have credentials for our site as if I am an emergency responder, this is what police, ERs and such would use to look at the info.

I also have administrative credentials to the site – so I could update the information on the site.  Upload new pics, schematics, change existing info.  etc.

The URL to our site –

That is probably the URL to lots of different sites, since I do not see anything specific in the URL.

The URL to the admin. side of the site –

The only diff. is the admin after the prod and before the site.

A couple integration concepts that failed for us….

1 – Our admin.  folks wanted to place an icon on a schematic within RR and upon clicking would automatically show them that camera.  I think RR oversold that feature.  Our security camera server sites in our network, behind our firewall.  Since the RR site does NOT site behind our firewall, in our network, there was no easy clean way to allow access to a camera from outside the network.  Genetec, our camera security software, provides a web client for accessing cameras.  It requires authentication for access.  There are no backdoors into the system.  No way to simply enter the software and view a camera without using the front door (authenticating) and then entering a room – building to view its cameras.  We talked to the folks at RR about where our site could live, mainly asking them if it could live in our network, IE, could we host the site, there response was something like “uh, no – the sites live in our secure area”.

2 – Next then, was the request to automatically log into the security camera system from within RR.  Since the emergency responsers already had to authenticate, then could we simply pass those credentials along when we view the security cameras.  Seems like a reasonable request, EXCEPT.  We were not able to get that to work either . The camera software engineers from Genetec simply said “passing in login credentials on the URL and having it automatically log in was not a feature of the software“.  Users have to come in via the front door and show their ID.

That was 0 for 2 on security camera integration from RR to Genetec.

Instead, we simply have a link(s), on various building schematics in the RR space that load the Genetec web client.  My customer did add camera names to the schematics in the RR space and then updated those camera names in the Genetec space – but still not any real integration.   This is a slice of one of the schematics that was added, complete with a camera icon, that includes the name of the camera and a link to the web client to view it.  The link opens the security camera software in a popup – but not logged in.

Since then, another of our sister organizations are now flirting with the idea of using RR, great.  There network guy said this when thinking about the integration between RR and their existing security cameras.  They must not used Frontrunner systems to install their cameras on their network – it sounds more like they do not have the concept of a web client for viewing cameras.

Jeff, Camille
I spoke with Don and Terri  of bla blas on Friday.

Their Health Safety and Rish Management department is working with the surronding county 911 departments and several of our componets school districts. 
We brain-stormed around how first reponders in the region might be able to get access to district security cameras (both IP enabled and closed circuit).
They currently have serveral district in both of our regions that have signed up for the Rapid Respnder servive.  One solution that we came up with was to postion a wks.(terminalserver) on the network that 911 and first respnders could RDP into without having to use A VPN client.

We could then, with access-lists lock this workstation down to only allow the particpaiting counties to come into the box remotely.  Additionally we would use access-lists to limit the wks. to only the cameras that are requested by the district. In many cases the security camera network is a sepearte vlan which should make this fairly simple.

This seems a better solution than trying to manage multiple VPN accounts that can be shared beyond the original intended user. The wks.(terminal server) would be the check point for login credentials much like we have for our tech staff.  But it would have limited abiltiy
to see the entire network.

Actullly we could have GV be respnsible for the server on their network and when the proper requests are made we change the firewall rules to allow them.  Much like we do with the shared CBO now.

Any thoughts concerns etc?  Is this something that we could go ahead with?


Hmmm, first of all, there are lots of typos, Dave should use spellcheck.  His thinking is interesting, I do not understand alot of it, like terminal servers and a separate vlan, but I can deduce that they do not use Genetec, since there is no mention of a web client that is currently used to access their existing security cameras.

More to follow.


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