Having a system that anonymously collects location information and then gives us the ability to connect with our responders both increases our situational awareness and more importantly, helps us get people on scene as quickly as possible.
Columbia, MO and Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 29, 2013
Closest available firefighters and EMTs are dispatched to incidents via their smartphones.
Boone County (MO) Fire Protection District (BCFPD) announced that it has recently begun utilizing new mobile technology that locates and dispatches its volunteer firefighters and EMTs to nearby incidents in order to reduce response times. The system, developed by NowForce, locates and dispatches nearby potential responders, thereby shortening the time between when a 9-1-1 call is placed and when a fire/rescue unit arrives.
The largest volunteer fire department in the State of Missouri, BCFPD operates 14 fire stations within a 500 square mile area in the Columbia, MO, vicinity. The volunteer force of over 250 firefighters and EMTs responds to over 4,000 calls annually, including fires, medical emergencies, wildfires, vehicle collisions and other emergencies. The Fire District has also been designated by FEMA as one of only 28 Federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces in the nation.
NowForce’s solutions, which include state-of-the art mobile applications for first responders and community users, as well as a web-based dispatching system, are used by public safety and security organizations around the world.
Since BCFPD launched the NowForce system, there have been numerous incidents in which its volunteer firefighters or EMTs have arrived on-scene in a matter of minutes. A few examples from the last month include a medical emergency in which fire/rescue volunteers arrived in 2 minutes and 56 seconds, and a vehicle collision in which the volunteers arrived in 4 minutes and 42 seconds.
“As a volunteer department that covers a large geographic area, we needed a solution to help us locate our first responders while protecting their privacy,” explained BCFPD Fire Chief Scott Olsen. “Having a system that anonymously collects location information and then gives us the ability to connect with our responders both increases our situational awareness and more importantly, helps us get people on scene as quickly as possible.”
The NowForce solution includes a mobile app that runs on firefighters’ and EMT’s smartphones and a web-based dispatching portal that interfaces with the Columbia Public Safety Joint Communications Center computer aided dispatch software. When a call comes in to 911, the system automatically detects if there are responders nearby, and then dispatches those who are closest to the incident. The system features enhanced privacy settings, through which the command center can “see” all potential responders on a map, however each is shown as “anonymous” until he/she has accepted an incident.
“Reducing response times to incidents can often mean the difference between life and death,” said Chief Olsen. Currently the NowForce mobile responder application is being used by a core group of BCFPD users, with a plan to expand the program to the entire 250-person force.
“At NowForce, many of us come from backgrounds in public safety, and our solutions are all designed with one purpose in mind: to save lives,” said Assaf Shafran, NowForce CEO. “We are gratified that Boone County has selected NowForce to assist it in its sacred mission of protecting its community.”
About Boone County Fire Protection District
Boone County Fire Protection District is the largest volunteer fire department in the State of Missouri. It encompasses approximately 500 square miles, and operates 14 fire station locations with some 50 pieces of fire apparatus. Two hundred and fifty volunteer men and women give of their time and talents to protect their community and have become recognized nationally as a premier organization, designated by FEMA as one of only 28 Federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces in the nation. The designation is the result of some 100,000 volunteer hours given by 210 personnel from within and outside the Fire District. As a federal resource, Missouri Task Force 1 is on call for federal disaster response and, upon activation, must be on military aircraft within six hours with 70 personnel, four search canines and 100,000 lbs. of equipment. Boone County’s volunteer firefighters come from all walks of life. They are farmers, professors, physicians, insurance agents, secretaries, law enforcement officers, university students, housewives, contractors, salesmen, business owners, mechanics, ministers and computer programmers. They share a common desire - to make a contribution to their community, often at great personal risk and sacrifice to ensure that our community is kept safe. Learn more at: http://www.bcfdmo.com.
Day in, day out, lives are being saved around the world by first responders using NowForce. NowForce offers comprehensive mobile solutions for emergency response and security organizations, enabling reduced response times, full situational awareness, and enhanced communications. NowForce keeps first responders connected to their organizations, even when off-duty or away from their vehicles, while fully respecting their privacy. The company’s solutions make it simple for agencies to locate, communicate with, and dispatch the closest available responder to the scene. NowForce is an affordable, user-friendly solution for agencies of any size, available either as Software-as-a-Service (secured cloud) or as an on-site installation. Founded in 2008 with headquarters in Israel, NowForce’s expanding global presence includes a US office and representatives in EMEA, APAC and South America. Join fire, medical, law enforcement, and security agencies around the globe already using NowForce to redefine response. Learn more at: http://www.nowforce.com.