Saturday, Dec 7, 2013
New Technology for Williamson County Fire Protection
WILLIAMSON COUNTY-- They won a world-wide contest, capturing a grant for new emergency response technology.
Williamson County Fire Protection District is one of the largest fire districts in the state, covering 265 square miles in southern Illinois. Their job's about to get a little easier, using app technology on devices to respond to emergencies faster and safer.
"You know here in southern Illinois we generally wouldn't have the budget to do something like this," said Lieutenant Mike Leuchtenberg.
They beat out 20 other departments for a grant and the NowForce App.
"It's just amazing, the two way communication you can do, just gonna
help our department out immensely in getting people there safer and
hopefully saving lives," Leuchtenberg enthused.
The response process starts when a 911 call is received: an alert immediately appears on every firefighter's smart phone and station iPad.
Firefighters can map exactly where the incident is which is essential since most of the force is not at the station full-time.
Now they can follow turn-by-turn directions from their gadgets.
"This doesn't replace our voice pagers, paper maps, actually works in conjunction with so you always have a backup no matter what," added Leuchtenberg.
It also eliminates their struggles with recent narrow banding in the area, which left some firefighters unable to hear or understand calls.
Training on the new technology will start in the next week or so. Their goal is to have the system up and running for the whole district in about a month.
The grant funds the monthly subscription for the service, and lasts for a year. WCFPD hopes to integrate it into their operations permanently.
This grant was made through the National Firefighters Endowment.
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