“In the Google system, everything can be templatized,” he says. “We shared our situation report template, and now it’s available to hundreds of cities and states to download and customize. We start to build on each other. It’s a connector, not just to Googlers but to a larger public sector family.”
Firefighters Exchange Info via Cloud-Based Solutions to Save Time
In 2019, as part of the city’s ongoing pursuit of a smart cities technology strategy, the Henderson Fire Department in Nevada adopted a Cisco Webex cloud-based solution to boost efficiency and communications across its 11 fire stations, says Deputy Fire Chief Scott Vivier. Henderson, located 16 miles southeast of Las Vegas, has a population of more than 320,000.
“We needed a way to get complicated information quickly to all our stations, which are spread over 106 square miles,” Vivier says. “The Webex system does that for us and provides new capabilities as well.”
Each HFD employee has a Webex account, which can be used on a personal device. Fire vehicles are equipped with tablets running the cloud software. Cisco desktop hardware and a Webex board — a 70-inch flat-screen monitor that integrates applications and information from various sources — are installed at each fire station.
Before the Webex deployment, the hotwash review immediately after an incident often kept firefighters on the scene to gather information hours after the emergency was resolved, Vivier says. Supervising officers then drove to all the stations involved in the incident for meetings to discuss lessons learned, a process that could take days. Using Webex, information is gathered in real time during and immediately after the incident, then shared electronically with the responding stations. The system has provided similar savings in travel time for training sessions and regular meetings.
“We’re seeing a return on investment just on the time saved by people having to not travel from station to station,” he says. “The system also gives us access to more information than we had before.”
With Cisco Webex, the view from a camera-enabled drone hovering over the scene of an emergency can now be shared from the operator’s tablet with the incident command and the EOC. Firefighters in the field can instantly pull up critical information from the EOC as well, Vivier says.
“We’re more efficient with this system but, more important, because of this technology we’re finding tremendous benefits in emergencies and saving lives,” he says.
MORE FROM STATETECH: Discover how the Internet of Things helps to fight fires.
Cloud Solutions Cover Agencies with Compliant Procedures
For Iowa’s Cedar Rapids Fire Department, the launch to the cloud was driven by state and federal reporting regulations and the need for a records management system that supported better information sharing, says District Chief Curtis Walser. In 2019, the CRFD replaced its existing on-premises records management system with a service from Emergency Reporting, which provides emergency response applications from the Microsoft Azure cloud. Cedar Rapids, located in eastern Iowa, has a population of approximately 133,000 served by nine fire stations.
“We have to be able to report both fire and medical emergencies to appropriate government agencies using their standards,” Walser says.
The CRFD’s previous in-house system was not compliant with the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, which the state of Iowa requires for reporting emergency medical response data. The cloud solution complies with both National Fire Incident Reporting System 5.0 and NEMSIS 3 Data Standard, Walser says.
The Emergency Reporting RMS is accessible from anywhere on various devices, and because it’s delivered in the cloud it provides easy scalability and new capabilities such as report generation, real-time analytics and apparatus and equipment tracking.
“With a cloud service, we don’t have to maintain extra hardware — we can use any device with an internet connection — and we don’t have to have the personnel to maintain the hardware,” Walser says. “If our footprint changes out in the field during an incident, it’s no problem because of our connection to the cloud and the flexibility that gives us.”