In every emergency situation, time is a first responder’s greatest asset. Having access to the right information at the right moment is critical to act quickly and effectively. Putting more complete and accurate data in the hands of scene commanders and first responders allows them to make better split-second decisions to ensure the safety of personnel and civilians. With a comprehensive view of the equipment, personnel and victims on site, all resources can be used as effectively as possible throughout the response effort.
Empowering responders with mobile computers, management software and wireless connectivity in the field provides them the basic tools to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency. With a real-time management solution in place you avoid the bottlenecks found in paper based systems and provide visibility into available resources across multiple organizations. Efficient communication and information access during an incident is critical to the safety of civilians and first responders.
What are the Key Benefits of a First Responder System?
A first responder system is critical in saving time and aiding on-the-spot decision making.
- Efficiency – Have access to needed information and resources at the right time.
- Visibility – Maintain a clear and open channel for inter-agency communication and coordination.
- Accountability – Ensure resources are used as effectively as possible.
- Compliance – Meet NIMS compliance effectively.
What is a First Responder System?
Whenever there is an accident or emergency situation firefighters, police, emergency medical services (EMS) and other first responders flood the scene. Each of these responders has a variety of assets and resources they bring to the scene which need to be managed efficiently to deal with the emergency. First response accountability has received considerable attention as government agencies look to strengthen overall disaster response and preparedness in the wake of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. In the United States, federal, state and local agencies must now comply with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which mandates visibility into available resources to best respond to and manage an incident.
In the past, paper and pen systems were very inaccurate and not conducive to sharing critical information across agencies and locations. Site managers who had to rely on a manual data collection system struggled for efficiency and accuracy in resource management and record keeping. Serious limitations quickly build up as managers work to check-in arriving first responders and teams scramble to locate critical equipment for the emergency. When every second counts, the paperwork burden and its loss in productivity translate into a less effective response and even lost lives. Furthermore, with manual systems, critical information often resides on paper at the scene and is inaccessible to offsite command centers, evacuation sites, hospitals and other agencies.
Enabling your first responders with a dynamic and open management solution can easily remove all the limitations that come with a manual system to provide an even faster and more capable response to any incident. With the right mobile computing device and wireless access in the hands of your responders, you bring real-time mobile voice and data to the point of action. Through a single device a responder can receive instructions, record field statuses and even directly communicate with other agents in the field. No matter what type of information is being used, it can be accessed instantly through a centralized system, providing offsite command centers with the real-time visibility needed to improve responses to changing conditions as well as strengthen inter-agency coordination. Providing real-time information to the incident site ensures the right efforts are made in the right place at the right time.
Having the means to locate critical assets, validate rescue workers and communicate all essential information across your rescue teams can be the difference between a successful emergency response and lost lives. Utilizing the power of rugged mobile computers, wireless connectivity and robust management software is key to making your emergency response workers the most effective and efficient as possible. A first responder that has the tools and information they need, in the palm of their hand, can make the best decisions on site for a safe and positive outcome.
What Should You Address When Making a First Responder System?
When putting together an effective and suitable first responder system there are a few key questions to answer:
- How many concurrent users will you have?
- How many organizations need to share information from the site?
- Will a WAN or WLAN network be utilized? What WAN provider will you use?
- Do you need to access photo or video resources?
- Will you need printing capabilities onsite?
- Do you need voice and data capabilities on the mobile device?
- Will you need to integrate with other tracking or management systems?
- How rugged will your mobile device need to be?
What are the Components of a First Responder System?
All first responder systems consist of 3 core components:
- Field Management Software – Software is the glue that brings together all the resources and provides visibility to all users. The application will determine how your rescue workers act in the field and their effectiveness.
- Mobile Computer/Tablet PC – The mobile device is the main tool and information source your responders will have on site. Making sure you have a device that has the connectivity you need, capture features and is rugged enough to handle the stresses of the field, is essential to a successful system.
- Portable Printer – Whether you are tagging assets or issuing ID access badges, a portable printer provides a quick, efficient solution for in the field identification.