Going Global

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the Emergency Communications Planning Committee and heard updates on some exciting advances being made in Ada County emergency services under the direction of new Emergency Communication Director Carl Rader.

First, some computer hardware connectivity issues have been worked out so now the folks in Ada County Emergency Communications are busy installing GPS (Global Positioning System) mapping equipment in all ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles in the county.

The on-board GPS tracking will enable dispatch to determine exact vehicle locations at any given point in time. It will also allow emergency vehicle drivers to see their location, route and destination on a computer-generated map, much like Google mapping allows us to do on our home computer. In this case, though, if the emergency vehicle encounters road construction or other hazard that blocks their most direct route, they can obtain an alternate route with the touch of a button.

Another goal of the Emergency Communications Department is to have the ability for dispatch to see, on a computer-generated map, which fire and EMS stations are “manned” at any given point in time. With a quick look, it will be possible to see gaps in the system and redeploy resources (other personnel and equipment) in order to fill the holes. By proactively redeploying emergency services resources, residents are guaranteed the shortest feasible response times for needed emergency services.

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