By: Assistant Chief Michael Fronimos
Wytheville Fire & Rescue Department
Let’s ask a simple question: what good are pre-incident plans if firefighters can’t access them?
The answer is, not very useful at all.
Our company goal is to put a fire department’s preplan information into the hands of every single firefighter, regardless of where they were on the fireground, or in the world. If the information was currently useful to that firefighter, we want them to be able to access it.
And what better way to create preplans than with a device nearly every firefighter has, that comes equipped with an always-on data connection, GPS sensors and high resolution cameras?
The mobile device is the single biggest improvement to the pre-incident plan gathering, creation and access process since the digital camera.
We didn’t invent it. We just made it better.
In order to serve our customers in the best way possible, we’ve been quietly gathering tips, bug reports, suggestions, and ideas from all sources on the best way to improve the planning and access aspects of mobile fire preplans.
We took all that information, and began a redevelopment app project from the ground up.
The biggest benefit of mobile devices is the ease at which they can be used nearly anywhere.
With the capability of planning on the go, firefighters can create, or update, preplans at any point during their regular activities.
Returning from a run and notice new construction? Plan it right then.
Fire alarm investigation reveals the fire panel behind an unmarked door? Snap a picture and add it to the preplan.
A new disabled tenant moved into a lower level apartment and wants you to have her gate code? Add it to the plan right there.
FlowMSP is the single repository for all the information firefighters gather on a daily basis simply by doing their jobs. With the app, that information gets added in immediately, reducing the possibility it gets lost, overlooked, or forgotten.
Mobile devices equipped with FlowMSP can create an entire detailed NFPA 1620 preplan in 10 minutes, including uploading images of the actual structure and hazards.
What could be faster than using your phone to snap a photo of the FDC location, and instantly upload it directly into the preplan for that location?
If you can go on Google and look at the seating arrangement for a new restaurant in town, why can’t you do the same thing to find the fire alarm panel? Or the FDC? The nearest hydrant? Or the type of roof construction?
Our Mobile Preplan App makes that all possible.
Command officers have the enormous benefit of incident situational awareness before arriving on scene. First due company officers can see their hydrant locations, the location of the structure on the street, and possible access issues, while the firefighters in the back of the apparatus are quickly reviewing critical information like occupancy and roof construction.
Firefighters just don’t have time to be searching for preplans. They may not have time to navigate even a few menus, or click a few buttons.
So we made it as easy as possible.
When a CAD message is received, the app notifies you. Click the message and your preplans appear.
It is that simple.