By: Assistant Chief Michael Fronimos
Wytheville Fire & Rescue Department
Let’s talk about a story we’re all familiar with.
6PM on a weekday. Report of smoke showing from a multi-family residence in your first-due.
You hop in the front seat of the engine and start shrugging on your air pack. The rest of the crew piles in the back and the driver fires up the engine before giving the initial throttle push to get the truck across the threshold and into the night air.
You call in service and dispatch acknowledges with “receiving multiple calls, flames showing”.
It’s a job.
Adrenaline begins creeping up. You can hear the crew in the back moving faster; the snap of regulators into masks, and the sound of air packs turning on. Your brain speeds up and you begin running considerations through your mind. The driver navigates the traffic while you herald your coming with air horns and federal Q.
You are the first-due engine boss. What is your primary job? Where is the nearest hydrant? How should the driver approach so as not to block the truck but still reach the structure? Front door? Back door? Are we going to make the fire room with a pre-connect?
You can answer all these questions immediately if you only knew what the house looked like.
What about looking on Google maps? Great idea! What was the address again?
Reality check: looking up, and typing an address isn’t the easiest thing while the driver is running full-tilt and you’re gripping the air horn chain for dear life. And what does that really get you? Sure, you can see where the structure is and what the nearest cross-streets are; maybe even set-backs and street view. But that’s it.
What if I told you there was an easier option? An option that remembered the dispatch address for you, and automatically displayed the location, address, structure and hydrants?
What if I told you that option also knew where you were, and could navigate you to the fire if needed? Oh, and that option can also tell you everything you need to know about that structure, including construction type, roof considerations, access issues, special hazards, the list goes on.
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