Prior to the installation of NowForce, we were required to poll the units to determine location, relying on the accuracy of their response in order to properly dispatch resources. With NowForce, we are able to more accurately place EMS assets around the course depending on needs assessments, and when the number of incidents spiked during periods of high heat, the closest asset was identified and dispatched immediately, without delay! NowForce is definitely a “Hole in One” in our arsenal of emergency response tools.
Chief James P. Seavey, Sr., Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department
Emergency response software
The Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is a full-spectrum life safety organization protecting about 500 square miles and nearly 1 million people who live and work in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction. Under the direction of Interim Fire Chief Steve Lohr, the MCFRS is a combination system (career/volunteer) in the suburban Washington, D.C. area, operating with an annual budget of about $200 million dollars. The MCFRS annually handles about 105,000 emergency calls for service and is staffed by 1,200 career uniformed personnel and 1,100 volunteers.
AT&T National, one of the premier stops on the PGA TOUR, chose the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD, as its venue for 2013. The event, which raises funds and awareness for the Tiger Woods Foundation and pays tribute to the U.S. armed forces, featured over 125 top PGA TOUR professionals from around the world, competing for their share of a $6.5 million purse. Including practice rounds, 146,909 people attended the week-long tournament, peaking at 40,385 fans on Saturday, June 29, alone.
The MCFRS Special Operations Section sought emergency response software that could effectively and efficiently track resources throughout the country club, which consists of two championship 18-hole course arranged on a 580 acre site. Dozens of local fire and rescue, EMS and law enforcement personnel were utilized to ensure the safety and security of all spectators and participants. MCFRS sought a solution that would allow the event’s Public Safety Joint Operations Center to pinpoint the exact location of all of teams, so that in the event of a medical or security emergency, the closest available response unit could be dispatched. A number of temporary structures were erected throughout the course, creating an additional challenge for the operations staff to navigate its response teams to incident locations. The organization also wanted to maintain proper levels of emergency personnel for each area of the facility.
NowForce outfitted each fire and rescue and EMS team deployed throughout the golf course with a physical tracking device that transmitted the team’s location to the NowForce emergency response software suite in the Public Safety Joint Operations Center. All of the temporary structures built for the event were layered via GIS shapefiles onto the course, and geophysical maps within the NowForce solution enabled the Joint Operations Center to attain a complete operational picture throughout the event. Operations staff were able to determine the exact location of all resources and dispatch them in an efficient manner to every incident. The system provided increased situational awareness of resource locations and allow MCFRS to better allocate its response resources and adjust their locations as the crowd/spectators moved about the course.
During the tournament, MCFRS and other agency partners implemented a Unified Command Structure, a component of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a set of personnel, policies, procedures, and facilities and equipment integrated into a common organizational structure designed to improve emergency response operations of all types and complexities. Field components that fell within ICS were tracked using NowForce to deliver optimum response and situational awareness.
“When someone calling in an incident would describe nearby landmarks, even if these are temporary structures, we were able correlate the event location and nearby emergency teams using the NowForce system,” said MCFRS Special Operations Section Division Chief Scott Goldstein, who served as incident commander for the event “If, for some reason, we lost communication with one of our teams, NowForce was able to tell us their last known location.”
- Reduced response times to incidents
- Enhanced communications between Joint Operations Center and all response units
- Eliminated need for polling
- Greater situational awareness of resource and incidents
- Improved ability to allocate public safety response resources as crowd moved about the course
- Ability to track additional parameters, such as ICS