Firefighters reduce response times by using technology

POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- When there's a fire, you count on your local firefighters to be there. But for most fire companies, pulling volunteers away from their daily routines and jobs has become a challenge.

"The way manpower is nowadays, volunteer departments are having a lot of trouble," said Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March. 

 To speed up response times, the pottsville fire department is turning to technology. 

Firefighters are now using an app called "I Am Responding."

The app uses google maps to zoom into streets and houses, show fire hydrants, water sources, fire connections and unsafe buildings. 

The Schuylkill County Communications Center will continue dispatching fire departments; the app is just another tool for the tool kit; aiding in communiation and organization during the chaos of a fire call.

"It's going to save time," said March. 

The app works on computers, tablets and phones. When there's a fire call, a notification will pop up. Firefighters can respond to the call with the touch of a button. The app will show them who is and isn't responding to an incident. 

"They now know within 30 seconds if they're going to get a full crew out on that call or not," said Seidberg, President of "I am Responding" website. 

"If you can save two, three minutes, that's a lot," said March. 

The Pottsville Fire Department is made up of seven companies. Together, they respond to more than 500 calls a year. They'll also assist neighboring departments, like Schuylkill Haven, which is also using the application. 

"The end result being getting more complete, more effective crews out faster, which is better both for the responders and the people they're responding to in the community," said Seidberg.

The fire department is still using the app through a free trial. Fire trustees plan to purchase the program.

   


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