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Cool Technology -- But is it Helpful?

The IAFF uses very sophisticated GIS modeling and analysis to help our affiliates determine response capabilities.  It has proven to be an incredible tool that empowers our locals when working to establish -- and in this economy defend -- realtime staffing and response needs.


Now there’s this story in Government Technology about the use of 3-D technology to assist emergency responders with “critical” information on the scene of a call. This tool is marketed to emgergency preparedness folks in jurisdictions.   In many cases the purchasers of these tools spend the money (in this case federal grant money) without asking the opinion of the men and women who do the work every day, responding to the calls. 


So we're asking:  Will this 3-D extension be helpful to you on the ground?  Or is it just a waste of funds?  What do you think?


Comments (3) -

  • Ronald Rompala L0001

    4/29/2010 12:58:26 AM |

    If I were a city manager, I would emphasize the importance of pre-incident planning and street familiarization training that currently and successfully is being done by IAFF departments across the country.  The article failed to mention if one life was saved as a direct result of their system, nor that any incident was mitigated any safer or faster.  For if there was, I'm sure that the author would have mentioned it.  Nothing beats the initial report given TO the dispatcher BY the first arriving company, and I don't feel this system helps anyone in that rig. For 300K, I'd spend my money on something more important.

  • Lawrence Efferson L0557

    5/2/2010 2:50:59 PM |

    I was asked to be a guest participant in a peer review of GIS ideas presented by ESRI at the IAFC conference in Atlanta several years ago.
    The question asked of the participants was
    “What information is needed at the Command Post?”
    I listened as ESRI conducted an hour of presentation about the importance of GIS and “Demographics” and “Storm drain flow patterns” all interesting stuff but not required or wanted at the CP.
    The group was made up of Fire Chiefs, and as I am a life long IAFF member and moved THROUGH the ranks from FF to Chief Safety Officer, I felt obliged to give my opinion,
    M y thoughts were that the most important information was information moving from the emergency to the CP.  Strategies and tactics are built on Intel and observations from the fire!  I and NIST promote the concept that Smart or Intelligent buildings move vital information to Firefighters.  Using real time intelligence Incident Commanders can analyze and protect structure, occupants and most important our fire fighting crews.
    Thank God the vast majority of the Fire Chiefs present were adamantly in support of this concept.  “We have a right to Know!”  As I sat down Skip Coleman turned in his seat and asked for an explanation of “Virtual Command” after a brief discussion his comment was “We’ve been trying to do that for 30 years”  Check out Youtube “Virtual Command” and see what this does for the fire service.  Needless to say ESRI has not asked for my opinion lately.

  • David Reno L1826

    5/2/2010 4:20:09 PM |

    If my perception of the technology is correct in that it can pinpoint a callers location, than I would have to support its use on the medical side of our jobs. Having been a member for over 24 years with a Fire Dept. that does its own transports, there have been times when this technology could have possibly saved lives. I am referring to those 911 medical calls where the location is in the vicinity or the caller has given the wrong address or doesn’t know the exact address, and we’re pretty much left with stumbling around looking for a patient. Probably most of us have been in those situations before. I’m not too sure if it would be useful on the fire side unless it was real time.

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