Firefighters and EMS professionals in Hamilton County now have access to a tool designed to make it easier to get information as they're headed to a scene.
The county Communications Center's upgraded fire and EMS dispatch systems are up and running. They include a lot things the old system didn't, like preplan information; maps and turn by turn driving directions; vehicle dispatching based on the closest unit; and messaging between units and the dispatch center.
It could also include information on file about a particular location like where to find emergency key boxes so firefighters don't have to knock down expensive doors, says Director Andrew Knapp. "All the way to if there's some type of information we need about a resident that's on file with our system, they get the alert right then and there on this app that's on their phone."
Knapp says it works on computers and mobile devices and tablets, both Android and iOS, allowing users to see all the information the dispatcher has without delay.
"There are 38 different fire departments, there are 65 different fire houses, hundreds of different apparatus configurations, so we are providing the infrastructure - like we do with the radio system - the users then are supplying the devices that access that infrastructure."
Some agencies may need to upgrade their equipment to take full advantage of everything the new systems offer. (One is for PCs; the other is for the mobile support.) It is compatible with all the local mobile providers.
Knapp describes it as a fully featured, internet-based system with way more capabilities than the old CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system.
The upgrade cost $476,200 and the annual expenses are approximately $45,000.
Agencies currently installing new "MDC" devices include: Green Township Fire & EMS, Forest Park Fire & EMS, Colerain Township Fire Department, Anderson Township Fire Department, Sharonville Fire Department, Madeira/Indian Hill Fire Department, Springfield Township Fire Department, and Glendale Fire Department.