Moun­tain Home fire­fight­ers get real-time map­ping sys­tem

El Dorado News-Times - - News -

MOUN­TAIN HOME (AP) — The days of Moun­tain Home fire­fight­ers po­ten­tially get­ting lost when re­spond­ing to an emer­gency are now num­bered. Thanks to a new sys­tem be­ing put into place, the fire­fight­ers will be given di­rec­tions and a host of other in­for­ma­tion in real time.

The sys­tem is called Ac­tive911 and in­volves soft­ware loaded on smart­phones and tablets. The fire depart­ment is in the process of mount­ing iPads in firetrucks to ac­com­mo­date the new soft­ware, the Baxter Bul­letin re­ported.

As an ex­am­ple, let’s say there is an ac­ci­dent on the Sheid-Hop­per By­pass. A wit­ness with a cell­phone calls 911 and says the ac­ci­dent is on the by­pass “near” Col­lege Street.

The 911 sys­tem pings the per­son’s cell­phone and gets the ad­dress of the near­est cell tower. When they dis­patch the Moun­tain Home Fire Depart­ment, the ad­dress of that cell tower will pop­u­late on the iPads in the trucks and on any fire­fighter’s smart­phone.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the map fire­fight­ers see will show the lo­ca­tion of fire hy­drants nearby.

Let’s say Engine 1 re­sponds to the ac­ci­dent scene with four fire­fight­ers aboard, all of whom have the Ac­tive911 ap­pli­ca­tion on their smart­phones. Any fire­fighter who opens the ap­pli­ca­tion on a phone or tablet will be able to see Engine 1 and the four fire­fight­ers trav­el­ing across the map in real time.

Now, let’s say Engine 2 re­sponds from a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion. Mean­while, Engine 1 dis­cov­ers the ac­ci­dent is not re­ally “near” Col­lege Street, but rather half a mile east of the street. And the ac­ci­dent is not in the west­bound lanes as re­ported by the caller but in the east­bound lanes.

Engine 1 stops at the ac­ci­dent and re­ports they are on scene. Now, Engine 2 knows ex­actly where the ac­ci­dent is be­cause they can see on their map where Engine 1 has stopped, thus sav­ing them time in lo­cat­ing the ac­ci­dent.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how long you’ve lived here, you’re al­ways go­ing to come across streets you’ve never heard of,” said Cpt. Kris Quick who’s head­ing up the ef­fort to bring the sys­tem on line.

“It’s also easy to for­get where a street is. It’s great to have the route just pop up on the screen,” Quick said.

The sys­tem pro­vides the quick­est route avail­able, but can­not take into ac­count given con­di­tions on any ran­dom day.

“Let’s say we’ve got mul­ti­ple trucks re­spond­ing to an in­ci­dent and the first truck in en­coun­ters con­struc­tion,” Quick said. “They can al­ter the route and other re­spond­ing units will go around the ob­struc­tion.”

Maps with real-time lo­ca­tions of peo­ple and trucks aren’t the only pieces of in­for­ma­tion the sys­tem con­veys.

Thanks to the Moun­tain Home Street Depart­ment, every fire hy­drant in the city is now mapped out. When the fire depart­ment got the new soft­ware, the wa­ter depart­ment gave them pre­cise GPS lo­ca­tions to all the fire hy­drants.

Other in­for­ma­tion is be­ing added to the sys­tem as time al­lows. Plans of build­ings can be en­tered, along with lo­ca­tions of haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als, draw­ings, pic­tures and other in­for­ma­tion about spe­cific ad­dresses.

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