In an era when almost everyone seems to own a smartphone, these laptops are expected to help streamline first responders' jobs by arming them with real-time incident and location data when they are on the move. Within months, the county will begin installing 172 laptops, called mobile data terminals, loaded with software called Mobile for Public Safety, in its major fleet apparatus, including ambulances, fire engines and trucks.
"There's house numbers," Hahn said, gesturing to the screen, "so every house number is in line, every hydrant is on the map. So when you're going to an event, it will put you right on the house that you're going to, and then you can zoom in, zoom out and look at houses that are close."
That information will also help arriving units determine where to set up, Hahn said. "They can see it, where it is, in relation to the incident they're going to."
The goal is safety and efficiency, county fire and rescue services Chief
The terminals and the software will help further centralize a large department under one system by linking all major apparatus directly to the county's computer-aided dispatch system. Since taking over the department a year ago, Pouget has focused on upgrading systems to better track records management, training of volunteer and career personnel, and equipment inspections that she has said will increase accountability.
"When you come under one system and you can evaluate everything, everybody's equipment, where everybody is at," Pouget said. "It's about bringing them up to speed."
In addition to displaying maps, the software shows first responders who has been dispatched to a scene and which tasks have been assigned to whom. The software,
County fire marshals, safety officers and battalion chiefs have used a similar version of Mobile for Public Safety, called iMobile, in their vehicles previously, Hahn said. That product, also developed by
County information technology and geographic information systems employees have helped configure the software to the department's needs. The software will continue to be updated with information including new roads and neighborhoods, and the operational status of hydrants, "pretty regularly depending on the need," said
Other area jurisdictions are already using similar software, Pouget said. The rollout is expected to cost about
Some county staff began training on the software this week and will work with the contractor on any additional updates, Hahn and Stockman said.
Pouget said use of the terminals could reduce radio traffic, which can cut down on confusion among crews.
"When it comes to those terminals, it's going to be a great asset to the fire department," Neary said.
Such real-time information might have been helpful during the county's response to a
"Something like this strengthens the system," Pouget said.
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