Local Albertan Mitch Farmer has developed an app that improves response time for First Responders by automating the alerting, acknowledgement and response to emergency calls. The app is changing the way rural Firefighters dispatch calls, and sales have started taking off.
Farmer had started volunteering for the Drumheller Fire Department when he was 21, and quickly realized the method used to call in firemen was out dated and inefficient. "I've always loved technology", said Farmer, "and used to spend hours every day learning code." He thought that an app that texted the call out might be a cost effective solution for his local firehouse to use. "I also integrated a mapping solution so that no time was wasted with wrong turns, which is especially important on rural roads." After months of trial and error he brought a beta version to his local crew and it was an instant success.
The app has evolved into the Fire Hall Utility's application suite that links to the 911-dispatch centers CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system. Each time a call is received, the details and location are electronically passed to the Fire Hall Utility servers. There, the information is inserted into a database, and the response maps are instantly created. All first responders in the area are notified by text message, and the first responders who are available simply click a link in the message, which registers them as responding to the call while simultaneously displaying a map of the call location. In the fire hall, the app displays the call details, map, and a list of responders on a large screen. In the fire trucks, iPads or smart phones display turn-by-turn directions, locations of the closest fire hydrants, and live weather information.
Fire departments are a very close-knit community and word has quickly spread, with sales across Canada and into the United States. "We're perfect for the smaller centres that don't have the budget or the man power for the more expensive technology," said Farmer. "We manage the day-to-day development, security, tech support, hosting, monitoring, and sales. We're expanding our services, and I'm excited to see where the next year takes us."
Canadian based Fire Hall Utilities is a leading supplier of Fire Call out software. They provide services to many Fire Halls worldwide.