The Cajun Navy: How Tech and Boaters Joined Forces to Save Lives

By Nancy on October 10, 2016


You might not have heard, but last August 2016, the biggest flood to hit Louisiana in 500 years happened. More than 30,000 people were evacuated and over 146,000 homes damaged. Unlike well-known Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it didn’t have a name, and the rescue and recovery efforts were better orchestrated. So it just wasn’t deemed as newsworthy.

Consequently, little was publicized about the rescue efforts of a small ragtag band of boaters known as the “Cajun Navy.” But their story deserves to be told. It’s a story about regular folks doing extraordinary things, using a little tech and a lot of determination.

The original Cajun Navy was born out of necessity during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Plagued by government red tape and delayed rescue efforts during Katrina, a small group of locals with boats got together and pitched in to do whatever they could. They became local heroes known as The Cajun Navy, as they picked up residents trapped by flood waters, put them on their boats, and transported them to safety.

The namesake group was called into action again this past August 12th, when flooding began in Livingston Parish – the hardest hit area. The amount of water rose so quickly, that it caught many residents off guard. Unable to prepare and evacuate in time, many found themselves stranded in their homes or on their rooftops.

Initial frantic calls for help came across on Facebook posts. AT&T cell towers were knocked out, making phone calls impossible. Many people in neighboring unaffected parishes saw these pleas and wanted to do something to help. They didn’t want to sit idle or wait for the government to come and rescue these people. It was at this point that a new, stronger, and more organized Cajun Navy really sprang into action.

Realizing there needed to be a central point of command to coordinate rescue efforts, stay-at-home mom and local Good Samaritan, Alaina Hebert, took it upon herself to head rescue efforts. A brand-new Facebook group for rescue efforts was created, asking for volunteers to join, especially those with boats and other equipment. The group eventually grew to over 23,000 members from all parts of the U.S. With a huge base of volunteers ready and able to help out, the Cajun Navy was now ready to take on the daunting task of coordinating water rescues.

As the flooding progressed, Parish Sheriff offices quickly became inundated with calls for help. With a backlog of over over 150 unanswered calls, Parish officials welcomed the offer of help from the Cajun Navy to handle some of the overflow. Cajun Navy volunteers immediately stepped in to help, going where needed with Sheriff Deputies onboard using their flotilla of fishing boats, canoes, and kayaks.

In the end, the Cajun Navy, with their band of 100-200 amateur and professional boaters, managed to save thousands of stranded residents and pets. The entire rescue effort was coordinated using two free apps: Zello as a live walkie-talkie dispatch and Glympse as a GPS locator. It was the first time apps had been used in this way – the technology did not exist during Hurricane Katrina.

Shawn Boudreaux, VP of the Cajun Navy and self-described “closet nerd” introduced the technology to the group. An avid player of Ingress (a location-based mobile app game), he used Zello to communicate with fellow team members during Ingress events. Shawn knew Zello could be a great tool for dispatchers to coordinate the hundreds of boats scattered throughout flooded areas. With the support of now Cajun Navy President, Alaina Hebert, he put the apps in motion by asking for volunteers on Facebook to come and install Zello and Glympse on their devices before going out on water rescues.

Shawn created a private Zello channel called “CajunNavy” for the volunteer dispatchers and boaters to communicate with each other. At the peak of the crisis, the channel had over 800 members or subscribers. All 800 could be online and active at the same time (the limit is 2000). As calls for help came in, they were transmitted live on the channel. By using Glympse and Google Maps for GPS coordinates, the closest boats could then be dispatched to help. The process resulted in more efficient and timely rescues.

A sister group named the “Cajun Army” also used Zello to coordinate post-flood efforts, providing food and shelter and dispatching volunteers to help clean-up damaged homes.


Though flood waters have since receded, the Cajun Navy and Cajun Army continues to help their neighbors rebuild their homes and lives. This is all done without monetary donations or government aid. If you would like to help out or just thank them, please join their Facebook groups and Zello channel by using the links below.

Cajun Navy Facebook Page
Cajun Army Facebook Page
Cajun Navy Zello Channel

If you have a similar story of how you used Zello to help your community, please contact us at We’d love to hear about it!

Zello presents at Russian Transport Safety Forum

By Nancy on April 29, 2016


Zello has a large following in Russia, especially within the transportation sector, which includes taxi and delivery services. Recently, Zello’s COO in Russia, Veronika Zaslavskaya, was invited to speak about transportation safety issues and how Zello could be used to avoid dangerous driver actions such as texting or handling devices while driving.

The panel also discussed the adoption of safety laws similar to the 2012 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for commercial truck drivers which bans texting and phone handling while driving. As each violation can cost up to $2750 for the driver and $11,000 for the employer, trucking companies are eager to adopt technologies such as Zello for Work to ensure their drivers are compliant.

By using Zello with hands-free accessories or as part of an integrated in-cab solution, drivers can easily communicate with dispatchers and other drivers while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

The findings from the transport safety forum will be used to prepare recommendations for the Russian legislature, to be presented later this year.

Zello Works Where Traditional Radios Fail

By Nancy on April 22, 2016

Last week, we got a very nice note from a member of the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Cave and Technical Rescue Team (, He explained how Zello was used in a recent search and rescue (SAR) mission. They were looking for possible human remains located in a mine shaft about 400 feet deep. When they lowered a person with a VHF radio down the shaft to investigate, the team on top realized they could not communicate with the person down in the shaft. The opening was too small relative to the wavelength of the radios, and their VHF radios were useless in that environment.

Since the team knew Zello worked with WiFi, and they had already established a WiFi hotspot on top, the team decided to try a little experiment. They decided to try Zello instead. They were surprised to find that it worked flawlessly! By lowering the person with a smartphone and Zello installed, he was able to maintain communication with the entire team.

“Amazingly we were able to maintain contact to about the 350 foot level. I was astonished! This is not an RF-friendly environment.”

We love hearing stories like this from our users. If you’ve had a similar experience where Zello saved the day when radios failed, drop us a line! Here are a couple pictures of that SAR mission:


Team at top of mine shaft


Going down with Zello onboard

Zello Attends IWCE Convention in Las Vegas

By Nancy on April 8, 2016


We showcased Zello for Work at the International Wireless Communications Expo held March 21-25, 2016 in Las Vegas. The IWCE is the premier event for communications technology professionals. Over 7,000 individuals attend from a diverse group of government, public safety, utility, transportation and business enterprise markets. Our booth drew in many visitors, and it was a great success! For the first time, mobile apps were featured as a separate category at the IWCE, and Zello for Work was selected for the short video feature below:

Zello at the IWCE 2016

BigRoad: Another App making Truckers’ Lives Better While on the Road

By Nancy on September 10, 2015


We have many truckers who use Zello instead of CB radios to talk to fellow truckers – it makes life on the road a little easier. To further help ease the stress of long-haul trucking, we’ve found a fantastic little app that is a perfect complement to Zello. It’s called BigRoad, and it is a mobile logging app available from Google Play and iTunes app stores. BigRoad offers a simple, affordable solution for truckers who want to create electronic driver logs easily at the touch of a screen, eliminating the need for paper logbooks..

Since its launch in 2012, BigRoad has became the most downloaded trucker app on Android, iPhone, and iPad devices. BigRoad, based in Canada, regularly works with their customers to develop features which truckers want and are simple to use. With its easy-to-use UI and cost effective solutions, BigRoad lessens the burden of creating accurate logbooks, passing vehicle inspections, and optimizing fleet operations. There are 3 levels of service available, depending on features needed: Free, Fleet, and Fleet with DashLink

The Free app provides a basic logging solution allowing truckers to create their logs, vehicle inspections reports (DVIR), send documents, share location, and view maps with real-time traffic information. Upgrading to the Fleet version provides additional features for instant messaging, route history, mileage reporting, hours of service (HOS) summary, and data is archived per DOT regulations.

For the ultimate in engine-connected logging, truckers can use BigRoad’s Fleet service with DashLink. DashLink is an accessory which uses Bluetooth to connect the app directly to the vehicle’s engine. DashLink senses when the vehicle is moving or stopped so that drive start and stop times are instantly recorded. This ensures an accurate record and history of duty status changes. Engine diagnostics are also available for maintenance purposes.

All BigRoad driver logs are automatically checked for errors and verified against current regulatory guidelines for both the US and Canada, ensuring that no violations occur which can result in penalty fees. At any time, the driver can produce a driver log which is error free and ready for a DOT inspection. With DashLink installed, truckers will be ready for the upcoming Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate which is currently underway.

Safety is another big benefit of using BigRoad. By mounting the device on the dashboard, drivers can easily view their log history and total drive hours without having to fumble with paper logbooks. Additionally, the app stores up to 14 days of logs for inspection purposes, and a full history is also available for audit purposes.

Finally, BigRoad can save you big bucks. According to the BigRoad website, a 10-truck fleet can save over $30,000 per year by:
– reducing HOS log audits and fines
– eliminating expensive roadside faxing
– offering real-time fleet tracking
– allowing faster, compliant vehicle inspections
– offering truck route planning
– eliminating GPS hardware
– preventing form and manner errors.

So, give BigRoad a try and see how it can help make your trucking life easier… and tell all your Zello buddies too! For more information, go to

Zello and Trimble Team Up to Improve Construction Materials Communications

By Nancy on July 20, 2015

TrimFleet Communicator - ALLZello is proud to announce our alliance with Trimble Construction Logistics, a major provider of fleet management solutions including real-time vehicle telematics and voice and text communications solutions for the construction materials industry. Trimble® (NASDAQ: TRMB) has today announced an updated version of their Trimble TrimFleet™ Suite 6.5  which includes the new TrimFleet Communicator with Zello. TrimFleet Communicator for TrimView and TrimFleet Mobile integrates Zello for Work functionality for improved communication, team collaboration, and productivity. TrimFleet Communicator with Zello resolves the many limitations of existing radio solutions for the industry, including poor connectivity, service, chatter, and safety.

With the integration of Zello into TrimFleet’s TrimView and TrimFleet Mobile products, drivers have will increased connectivity. Drivers will be able to connect directly to dispatchers or other contacts one-on-one, or participate in channels with other TrimFleet users. Zello also provides TrimFleet users with a centralized history which records and archives all audio, text, and images for up to 2 years. Additionally, with Zello’s ability to run on any device and any network, TrimFleet users can now connect to company personnel other than drivers and dispatchers.

For more information about TrimFleet 6.5 with Zello integration, please see

Toyota Texas Bass Classic Chooses Zello for Work PTT as Tournament’s Communications Solution

By Nancy on May 26, 2015

We are proud that Zello for Work Walkie-Talkie app was chosen as the communications solution for the 2015 Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC). The world-famous fishing tournament was held at Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas during the Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25, 2015. Along with the tournament, a music festival featuring country music stars was scheduled to be held later in the afternoon, providing fun and exciting activities for both anglers and non-anglers alike. Unfortunately, Sunday and Monday festival events were cancelled due to rain, but the fishing went on, and Zello continued to work even as storm and tornado warnings were in force.

The TTBC staff evaluated many push-to-talk (PTT) communication options, but only Zello for Work offered all the features they needed for this important event:

  • Superior coverage not possible with 2-way radios

  • Ability to define groups and separate judges by assigned flights

  • Ability to talk one-to-one or one-to-many in groups of unlimited size

  • PC-based admin console allowing admins to monitor all 35 judges on the lake

  • Bluetooth headset compatibility for improved audio in a noisy environment

  • History feature with date and timestamp to replay messages when needed

  • Centralized recording archive to store all voice, text, and images shared during the event.

During the competition, judges used Zello to expedite the weigh-in process. Each angler on the lake was accompanied by a judge connected to the Zello network using an Android smartphone. Whenever anglers caught a fish, judges used Zello’s live voice transmissions to instantly relay weights back to the Scoring Control Center on shore. This allowed staff and spectators to know who was in the lead within seconds of a catch. The instant weigh-ins also allowed the anglers to quickly release their catch, reducing trauma to the fish.

Staff at the TTBC event was impressed by Zello’s inaugural performance at this year’s event, and it made for a very exciting and fast-paced event for all attending. Event organizer, Tim Cook, exclaimed, “Coverage on the lake with Zello is far greater than with two-way radios!”.

Bob Baumann, Zello Director of Sales, is shown below with Tim Cook, TTBC organizer. Bob provided hands-on training to the judges and staff prior to the event.


About the Toyota Texas Bass Classic

With great concerts, world class fishing and awesome activities, TTBC is the place to go for a full weekend of family fun on Memorial Day Weekend. This is the 9th year for the TTBC sponsored by Toyota. Attendance for this annual event averages in the tens of thousands. Proceeds benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. For more information about the TTBC, see these social media sites:

·         Twitter:

·         Facebook:



Interview with Zello’s CEO and CTO

By Nancy on April 18, 2015

Bill Moore CEO and Alex Gavrilov CTO were recently interviewed about Zello on the VOIP Users Conference Show, April 17, 2015. Find out about the origins of Zello and how Zello affects people from around the world.

Zello Joins Forces with Pathfinders for Autism

By nayeli on October 20, 2014

Recently, we had the privilege of working with the non-profit group, Pathfinders for Autism, and found it truly inspiring. Based in Maryland, Pathfinders for Autism, provides resources for autistic individuals and parents of autistic kids who need critical service providers. The organization conducts awareness campaigns throughout the year advocating for individuals with autism.

One of their biggest events is the annual “Run Wild For Autism” event held at the Maryland Zoo in September. The event has grown 30% from last year and over 1200 participants were expected this year. Since the event is held over a vast area, coordinators require reliable communications. In the past, 2-way radios were used for communications, but they were very expensive and bulky to carry. Since the non-profit could only afford four 2-way radios for staff members, none of the volunteers could communicate with the staff or each other.

With the increased staffing needed for this year’s event, the group realized they could not afford to add more 2-way radios and looked for a more affordable option. Luckily, a member of the group was using Zello in his work for a security company, and suggested Zello as an alternative. Instead of investing more money on costly radios, they decided to give Zello a try.

Two weeks before the event, the staff downloaded Zello and created a “Pathfinders for Autism” channel. They purchased low cost Bluetooth headsets so they could hear better during the event. After a successful trial, they decided to abandon their radios and just use Zello on their smartphones. For the first time ever, they were able to connect all the staff and many volunteers on one network. Plus, they didn’t have to lug 2 devices around anymore.

“Zello was a huge improvement…It was super accessible, very easy, affordable… I highly recommend it!” exclaimed Jennifer Hobbs, fund development associate. The event was very successful and raised over $52,000!

Couldn’t make this event? You can still help by donating through their website.

Their next event is “An Evening of Celebrity Fashion and Fun 2014”. You can register here.

Do you have a non-profit group? Then, contact us at! Let’s discuss how we can help your next fundraiser.

Reduce Distracted Driving with Zello Walkie-Talkie

By Nancy on October 9, 2014

Most people will agree that distracted driving is dangerous and people should not engage in it. But the fact remains that many people, especially teens and young adults, continue to ignore the dangers because they think “it will never happen to me.”

Without doubt, the single biggest cause of distracted driving is texting while driving (TWD). Here are 4 sobering facts about the dangers of TWD taken from a 2012 study done by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  1. Texting while driving is 6 times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated
  2. TWD is the leading cause of  teenage auto fatalities. On average, 11 teens die each day
  3. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash than non-texting drivers
  4. TWD was responsible for 1.3 million crashes in 2011, or 23% of all automobile collisions.

By using Zello with a hands-free device such as the CodaWheel wireless button, you can greatly reduce distractions while driving. The process is simple. Install Zello and get your family and friends to install Zello. Pair the CodaWheel to Zello and mount the CodaWheel on your steering wheel. Connect to the person or group (channel) you want to talk to and then press and hold the CodaWheel to talk. There’s no need to take your eyes off the road, handle the smartphone, or dial a number. Additionally, your conversations are real-time, recorded, and the sound quality is clear.

With Zello, unlike voice-activated systems like Siri, you don’t have to deal with misunderstood commands, training the system, or the frustration of repeating commands. Zello uses your voice, the best communicator available. When used with the CodaWheel, Zello allows you to easily chat with friends and family without endangering yourself or other drivers.

If you are a parent and want to ensure your kids aren’t tempted to text while driving, insist they use Zello with a CodaWheel or other hands-free device. It will give you peace of mind and, who knows, they may even prefer Zello over texting because it’s faster and fun to use. Because Zello is free and doesn’t use any plan minutes, it’s also cheaper than texting or phone calls.

So give Zello with CodaWheel a try and see how it can make your commute a safer and more pleasant experience. For more information about the CodaWheel and other Zello certified hands-free options, see


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