Home » Remote Pre-planning in the Time of COVID-19

The very real problem of stopping the spread of COVID-19 is now something all North American departments are dealing with.


For many departments, this means reduced staff/work hours, and reduced numbers of non-essential services such as fire inspections and pre-planning.

But the current situation in which we find ourselves doesn’t diminish the value and importance of pre-plans. Departments still need to respond to emergency situations, and respond quickly. A pre-plan can be a critical source of information in these times.

Remote data collection is a strategy that many APX Customers have successfully used while limiting time spent in public space, to not only drive efficiency—a valuable thing with a reduced staff—but to create and update pre-plans when site visits are limited/not possible.

In reaching out to these departments in the recent days, APX has identified a number of different methods that departments can leverage remote data collection using our platform. In an effort to help all of the departments we serve, we’ve summarized these strategies below.


Remote Data Collection Methods


Size-up with Street View

Valuable imagery, including building exteriors, best entry points, closest hydrants, and more can be found and pulled out of street imagery like Google Street View. Using your iPad, you can add this imagery to your pre-plans using screenshots captured in Street View. You can then use the SmartCapture annotation tools to mark-up this imagery, further enhancing the information available.

Live Link to Google Earth 

Google Earth is a three-dimensional map of the world, allowing you to instantly do a digital walk-around of any building in your area, view exposures, and measure out distances to key points. Using the Google Earth iOS app and APX’s URL feature, quickly add a Google Earth link to your pre-plans. 

Import Existing Data

Many Department already have valuable building information stored in other systems or historical documents. This can include but is not limited to information within fire safety plans, floor plans and textual data within systems such as RMS.

We have been incorporating all of our manually gathered data during downtime.  It’s been wonderful.

As a side note, the pre-planning capabilities were the perfect tool for urgent pre-plans made for COVID-19 staging and resource locations. 

Dan Bruno

Fire Marshal, West County EMS & Fire Protection District

If you want to explore how your department can continue to collect valuable building information while adhering to the very important social distancing measures in place in your area, consider reaching out to us to request your demo, we can get you up and running within 24 hours. 

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