There are approximately 30,000 fire departments in the United States, and about 86% of them are staffed fully or partly with volunteers. Typically these volunteers are notified of a fire via pager or one-way radio. They then get themselves to the fire station, suit up, and leave for the fire. Often, there is little information about the other responders that may arrive on the scene or about the need for certain kinds of equipment, most notably a tanker truck to supply water.
Spotted Dog Technologies is a cloud-based first-responder automation system that provides firefighters with a lot more information about emergencies. The system is a product of Trumbull Software Associates.
The company's Real-time Volunteer Emergency Response System, or ROVER, "closes the communication loop on traditional call-out systems" by enabling first responders to instantly communicate their availability, qualifications, location and estimated travel time using the phone or Internet. Information from all responders is immediately accessible via the Web so it can be used to allocate resources and deploy equipment and emergency personnel.
ROVER allows first responders to see a Google Map image of the fire location, as well as any nearby water sources (both "wet" and "dry" hydrants). It also allows responders to see who is on the way to the station and the estimated time until their arrival. And it offers a CAD map integration that provides information about the site of the emergency, including building layout, characteristics of a building's occupants (such as elderly or disabled, for example), or the location of hazardous materials.
"This system gives us the ability to make the right decisions at the right time," said Chief Robert Galbraith of the Stevenson Volunteer Fire Department in Monroe, CT. "Our volunteers press a button on their phone and we instantly know who is responding. We know when to leave the station and if we need mutual aid. It's helping us to better serve and protect our community and ensure the safety of our first responders."
In addition to being one of Spotted Dog Technologies' co- founders, Geoffrey Giordano has been a firefighter for over 26 years, "Our solution is built of real-world experience, with tools than can make a significant difference in those first few minutes of an emergency," says Giordano.
The service requires no additional software or hardware, other than Internet access. While the cost savings of adopting cloud-based services is often touted in terms of easing hardware requirements, for the firefighters and communities adopting Spotted Dog Technologies' ROVER, the savings go beyond communications hardware and call centers, and include not only saving fuel for firetrucks but saving lives as well.