Gateway Gazette

High River Fire Department Installs Computer-Aided Dispatch

New equipment helps with emergency preparedness

Computer-Aided Dispatch, Fire

Newly installed equipment is set to decrease overall response times to incidents and help fire crews make critical decisions when dealing with emergencies.

Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) consists of a computer, software and modem mounted in the fire apparatus which transmits details on the incident and real time updates to responding fire crews from the 9-1-1 dispatch center. Along with incident details, the software has mapping capabilities which are displayed to fire crews. The location of the emergency as well as routing to the emergency are displayed with details of the incident.

In the past, all information for fire crews was provided over the radio system and the use of other mapping software and paper maps with no direct tie to the 9-1-1 dispatch center.

“Computer-Aided Dispatch allows our team to respond to emergency calls more quickly and effectively,” said Fire Chief Cody Zebedee. “We have always placed a high priority on fast response times during emergencies. With this new system we will be able to respond even more quickly.”

The system also allows for regional collaboration when High River requests mutual aid assistance from surrounding departments to assist with emergencies in and outside of Town. CAD also allows fire crews to start compiling information on high-occupant load or high-fire hazard buildings for the purpose of pre-incident planning. This means fire crews will have floor plans, emergency response plans, critical building information and fire protection equipment information before arriving at the scene of an incident.

Town of High River Council approved the purchase of CAD equipment for the fire department in the 2019 budget. High River Fire Department staff worked alongside fire departments from Foothills County, Town of Tuner Valley and the Town of Black Diamond to complete a bulk purchase of the equipment, which created an overall savings on the project. The installation of the CAD into the fire apparatus and the roll out was completed in early January 2020.

“The equipment is a very welcome addition to the Fire Department, and we feel it will greatly enhance the service provided to the Town,” said Mayor Craig Snodgrass. “It is our goal to make the best use of new technology and equipment and continue to ensure the safety of our residents.”

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