Squamish firefighters will know a lot more about what they're getting into on their next fire call thanks to some new high-tech equipment.
On May 9 Squamish Fire Rescue (SFR) implemented a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, and both firefighters and residents can now breathe a little easier as a result, say firefighters.
"We'll know automatically where the call is and what type of incident it is," said SFR Deputy Chief Steve Virgint.Local 911 calls reach the Squamish RCMP detachment's dispatch centre. The moment a resident calls 911 to report a fire, a red dot now pops up onto a computer imaged map of the area showing exactly where the call comes from. CAD not only gives dispatchers incident locations, it provides unit recommendations, hazardous materials alerts, and the ability to easily raise alarm levels.
"As Squamish grows, we are well positioned to provide superior service to our community and the Sea to Sky corridor in the run-up to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games," said Fire Chief Ray Saurette.
Provided by FDM Software, a North Vancouver company that for more than 15 years has provided software for public safety agencies, CAD prepares Squamish for future growth and an increase in visitors during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to an FDM news release.
A retired Salt Lake City, Utah firefighter turned dispatch technology "guru" helped set up the $160,000 system in Squamish. Roger Straud said Salt Lake City had CAD up and running during their 2002 Olympics and although a high volume of 911 calls were anticipated, calls numbers went down during the three weeks.
"Everybody behaved in that three-week period," laughed Straud. "There were less incidents than ever before."
One of FDM's earliest clients, since 1992, SFR already utilizes the company's records management system for incident tracking, event analysis, and report submission. The addition of CAD enables SFR to provide future dispatch services to other areas for a coordinated multi-agency response, as well as implement CAD in a mobile environment.