Fixing a fire department’s technology gap
In today’s fast-paced world, everything from our work lives to our personal lives, and the grey area in between appears to be linked to an overarching technological device.
The term Smart City, defined as an urban area that leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect data and then use these data to manage assets and resources efficiently, isn’t that hard to comprehend, given that in many ways we all live it.
For example, in any major metropolitan center, anyone can pay for parking merely by using a smartphone application that connects drivers to the city’s parking infrastructure. Gone are the days of rooting through one’s pockets and under car seats to find enough money to toss into a meter. Cities are now using smart technology to measure air quality, temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure, and to manage bicycle rentals, smart cars, waste disposal, and street lighting, and so on. And all this to make our lives better, easier, safer, and more enjoyable.
In this modern age of technological wonder, where all aspects of life are connected to a myriad of devices and systems, why is it that fire departments and emergency services are so far behind the curve? If the purpose of a city is to be “smart” and “safe,” why are so many cities lacking the technological resources needed to better protect their first responders and citizens?
The processes related to emergency pre-plans and information sharing, for example, have been mostly ignored by the world of technology. Imagine if all firefighters could map a building with comprehensive details including notations, images, building specifications, locations of fire hydrants and exits, numbers of occupants, hazardous materials on the premises, and more―a complete building record―in the span of 30 minutes rather than a week.
It’s this type of technology that could make firefighters’ jobs easier, adding relevant and mission-critical information to their arsenal, and saving millions of dollars’ worth of hours spent creating pre-plans for archaic, desktop-based record management practices. Instead, that money could be invested in training, better equipment, and, ultimately, increased public safety.
Firefighters deserve better than just the status quo of pen and paper. They deserve mobile-first technology that enables them not only to do their jobs, but to do them better, more safely, and, ultimately, faster—creating a Smart City environment where building and onsite data is collected and disseminated with ease and accuracy.
That better way exists now. Cities simply have to do better.