Wednesday, October 15, 2014   |   Public Safety

With SAF-T-Net, Baron Makes Public Usage Weather Products Commercially Available

The key to driving down the cost of worldwide personalized weather information delivery, optimized for mobile use, likely lies in an unassuming facility based in Huntsville, Alabama.

There, a 25-year-old weather technology company by the name of Baron Services has already proven the model scalable on a state level through its http://alabamasaftnet.com (Specific Alerting For Threats Network) service.

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Backed by patented technology, SAF-T-Net’s strength is in its geo-specific notification system. Users of the mobile service can add up to three frequently traveled locations (such as home, work, or child’s school, for example) to their mobile device and will only receive severe weather notifications when such is applicable to their specified locations. The fourth location is the GPS locator within the mobile device. SAF-T-Net delivers unparalleled precision, notifying its users when they are within 15 minutes and/or a 15-mile radius of an expected severe weather event. For non-mobile users, email, SMS text messaging and land line calls are also available.

Since its initial launch in February 2012 and the mobile version launch in 2013, the SAF-T-Net service has received rapid adoption, with an extremely low churn rate.

It was developed in response to a series of devastating EF4 tornadoes that ripped through north and central Alabama on April 27, 2011. These tornadoes claimed more than 230 lives and resulted in property damages in excess of 2.4 billion.

In the storm’s aftermath and the state’s efforts to recover, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley formed a 19-member Tornado Recovery Action Council, tasked with cultivating a state of readiness for the next inevitable weather disaster.

The Council’s recommendations included the need for “integrated and precise storm alerts.” Specifically, the report called for the implementation of “a statewide, integrated severe-weather alert system that provides more precise alerts for individuals and businesses than current countywide warnings, allows individuals to enroll phone numbers, and takes advantage of smartphone technologies.” Read the report here.

Within 9 months of the Council’s recommendation, Baron Services conducted a statewide launch of the SAF-T-Net service, developed and maintained using Baron’s proprietary, patented technologies.

“Taking critical weather intelligence and turning it into actionable information for those in the path of impact is a very personal mission for our family,” said Bob Baron, founder and CEO, Baron Services. In 1989, Baron was an on-air meteorologist when a deadly tornado ripped through Huntsville. After the experience, during which 21 lives were lost, Baron made it his personal mission to develop the most timely, site-specific weather tools for the prevention of weather-related loss of life and the protection of property.

“The adoption of mobile technology worldwide along with consumer mobile device usage habits, make the prospect of delivering in-country weather data more affordable than ever before,” said Bob Baron Jr, Executive Vice President, Baron Services. “These countries are now in a position to provide a cost-effective, easy to implement secure distribution solution for their citizens.”

In addition to the service’s highly personalized notification for end users, SAF-T-Net also includes a comprehensive two-way communication platform between the user and state officials and emergency officials during emergencies.

Once a pilot program developed to help Alabama better equip itself for natural disaster events, SAF-T-Net has evolved into a proven platform available for both U.S. and international installations. When public safety distribution networks are considered, SAF-T-Net is accurate, affordable, and easily replicated.