Emergency response mobile apps and software designed to reduce incident response times and improve situational awareness
HERRIN, IL and WASHINGTON, DC – October 24, 2013 – The Williamson County Fire Protection District (WCFPD) of southern Illinois has been awarded a grant of a mobile emergency dispatch system by the National Firefighters Endowment, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the lives of our firefighters, and NowForce, a developer of comprehensive mobile emergency response solutions.Covering 265 square miles, WCFPD is one of the largest fire districts in Illinois, and responds to several hundred calls a year. The grant will provide WCFPD with NowForce’s emergency response mobile apps and a web-based dispatching portal, which locates and dispatches the closest available firefighters to nearby incidents. The company’s solutions are used by public safety organizations around the world to reduce response times and maximize situational awareness.
When a call comes in to 911, the fire department has the option of either executing a general call-out or automatically dispatching the nearest responders to an incident. For volunteer departments, the system features enhanced privacy settings, through which the command center can “see” all potential responders on a map, however each is shown as “anonymous” until he/she has accepted an incident, explained Assaf Shafran, NowForce CEO.
“I saw the National Firefighters Endowment post about the contest and I looked at the technology and I thought this was something that can really help us in our response times,” said WCFPD Lieutenant Mike Leuchtenberg, a career firefighter who also runs the department’s social media presence.
The contest ran for three weeks through the NFE and NowForce Facebook pages. Entrants were asked to fill out a brief application form, and then solicited votes from their communities. Over 20 departments, mostly from the United States but a few from around the world, applied for the grant. Voting ended yesterday, with Williamson County receiving the most.
Leuchtenberg used the WCFPD’s Facebook and Twitter feeds to engage his community and garner its support for the contest, in addition to calling on local media outlets. WSIL-TV, an ABC affiliate in southern Illinois, ran a news piece on the contest, in which Leuchtenberg explained to viewers how the technology can help the community.
“Since narrow banding, we have struggled with radio coverage from our single repeater, which means some firefighters miss tone-outs or they cannot understand them due to poor audio quality,” explained Leuchtenberg. “The grant for this system will help to ensure a safe and rapid response to all calls in this large rural area.”
“Williamson County Fire is a great example to the fire service on effectively using new media to engage the support of their local community,” said National Firefighters Endowment’s president, Shane Parkins. “They are not only committed to providing their neighbors with the highest caliber of service and protection, but they are adept at connecting with the people they serve. Ultimately, it was the vote of their community that earned them this grant. The people of Williamson County truly understand the importance of supporting their local fire department.”
“We’re thrilled so many departments took part in this program,” said Shafran. “It was great to see their efforts in ‘getting out the vote’ to their communities, and Williamson County, in particular, did an outstanding job in this regard. We are excited to help them roll out the system in southern Illinois.”
The company’s customers include law enforcement and campus and private security organizations, as well as volunteer EMS and fire departments who boast response times of 2-3 minutes, far below the national averages. The system has been used for public safety resource management at several other large events, including the 2013 AT&T National Golf Tournament, the Euro2012 soccer games and other smaller events around the world, Shafran added.
About NowForce Ltd.
Day in, day out, lives are being saved around the world by first responders using NowForce. NowForce offers comprehensive mobile solutions for emergency response and security organizations, enabling reduced response times, full situational awareness, and enhanced communications. NowForce keeps first responders connected to their organizations, even when off-duty or away from their vehicles, while fully respecting their privacy. The company’s solutions make it simple for agencies to locate, communicate with, and dispatch the closest available responder to the scene. NowForce is an affordable, user-friendly solution for agencies of any size, available either as Software-as-a-Service (secured cloud) or as an on-site installation. Founded in 2008 with headquarters in Israel, NowForce’s expanding global presence includes a US office and representatives in EMEA, APAC and South America. Join fire, medical, law enforcement, and security agencies around the globe already using NowForce to redefine response. Learn more at: http://www.nowforce.com or https://www.facebook.com/nowforce.emergency.response
About Williamson County Fire Protection District
The Williamson County Fire Protection District (W.C.F.P.D.), in southern Illinois, consists of seven fire stations with the headquarters located in Herrin, Illinois. With a coverage area of 265 square miles, this makes us one of the largest fire districts in Illinois. The district is managed by a full time paid Chief, three career firefighters, three part-time battalion chiefs and a secretary. The district has a wide variety of specialized equipment and well equipped trained paid-on-call members. The district is equipped for most emergencies that may arise with eight engines, seven tenders with 2,500 gallons of water each, seven brush trucks, and 60 paid on-call firefighters. Learn more at: http://www.wcfpd.net/ or https://www.facebook.com/WCFPD
About National Firefighters Endowment
National Firefighters Endowment is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, public charity with a driving passion to protect the lives of our firefighters. We believe that small actions can have life altering results and that the right equipment in the hands of our heroes can literally be the difference between life and death. Learn more at: http://www.thethinredline.org/ or www.facebook.com/NationalFirefightersEndowment/