Saturday, 12 July 2014


New Picture 398
5 Apps First Responders Use to Save Lives
By Kiona Smith-Strickland,
Popular Mechanics, 10 July 2014.

Many agencies are now saving lives with something you may take for granted: mobile apps. From crime scenes to five-alarm fires, this is how emergency responders use smartphone applications to share information, manage emergencies, and keep you safe.


New Picture 393

Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) helps users identify unknown chemicals, then provides information from the National Library of Medicine on how to respond to leaks or spills. The application walks users through a series of steps to identify a chemical, which is usually much quicker than flipping through an unwieldy manual at the scene of an emergency.

Another app called Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) works similarly for radiological emergencies. Both are also available to the public.

2. FireStop

New Picture 394

Fire-fighters regularly visit large buildings such as schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings to map out the location of exits, stairwells, hazardous materials, and nearby fire hydrants. Unfortunately, those plans are not always accessible in an emergency, says T. J. Kennedy, acting general manager of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). They "end up on paper in a file cabinet in a fire marshal's office," Kennedy says, "and when they get called out for a call, they didn't have that data at their fingertips, it was still in the file cabinet."

An app called FireStop lets fire departments put these pre-incident plans online so that fire-fighters can access them from their smartphones. "Let's say they have lists of where all the hazardous materials in the hospital are - the oxygen and other tanks and other things like that that they need to be aware of. Now they have it all at their fingertips," Kennedy says.

3. Badge Buddy

New Picture 395

A former 911 dispatcher developed Badge Buddy, a mobile app that gives police officers access to databases, news, legal information, and contacts with other law enforcement agencies from their smartphones. The application connects officers to vehicle and license-plate databases, lets them search court records and sex-offender registries, provides alerts about weather and power outages, and contains references for state and local laws. Officers can also use the app to contact other agencies.

Badge Buddy isn't the only information-sharing application on the market for law enforcement. An application called PocketCop gives officers access to FBI databases, state motor vehicle information, and records from certain other law enforcement agencies from officers' smartphones. Another application, NVLS Mobile Companion, can access National Vehicle Location Service records so officers can tell right away if a car has been reported stolen.

4. iCrimeFighter

New Picture 396

With a forensics application called iCrimeFighter, investigators can use their smartphones to record and store videos, photos, interview recordings, and notes - all organized by case number. The "LE" version of the application, which is available only to law enforcement officers, lets investigators upload case information to their police department's servers. The public can download a generic version for recording accident scenes.

An application called CrimePad offers a similar set of tools. Investigators can use CrimePad to store logs of who enters a crime scene, as well as photo and evidence logs. They can also record interviews and save notes about leads and persons of interest.

5. Sensimob

New Picture 397

Mobile apps can also keep track of responders during a disaster to keep them safe and ensure that they get to areas where help is needed most. An application called Sensimob lets field commanders keep track of police, fire, or EMS personnel using the GPS receivers in their smartphones. It can prompt responders to check in at certain locations or certain times, and responders can send emergency alerts if they run into trouble. Field commanders can also send messages to responders using the application, which can be useful in areas where radios might be out of range or hard to use due to topography.

Related Links:

Top image: WISER app. Credit: WISER.

[Source: Popular Mechanics. Edited. Top image added.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please adhere to proper blog etiquette when posting your comments. This blog owner will exercise his absolution discretion in allowing or rejecting any comments that are deemed seditious, defamatory, libelous, racist, vulgar, insulting, and other remarks that exhibit similar characteristics. If you insist on using anonymous comments, please write your name or other IDs at the end of your message.