By DANIEL SEIDBERG
When the tones go off, do you know immediately if enough members are responding? When necessary, are you requesting second activations or mutual aid without any delay after the initial dispatch? Are you assigning duties before your members even arrive? Do you know what your in-town, available personnel resources are? More than 28,000 emergency responders now answer “yes” to all of these questions because they use IamResponding.com.
IamResponding.com enables emergency responders to immediately inform their chiefs, other department members, and dispatchers if, when, and where they are responding to emergency incidents. With this system, response entities and their dispatchers know immediately if there is an adequate response en route.
Fire departments, EMS agencies, specialty teams, and any emergency response entities that rely on out-of-station personnel for any portion of their emergency response use IamResponding.com. After a department or team is dispatched (through existing dispatch systems), responding members press one button on any of their phones and then respond to the emergency. An unlimited number of Internet-connected devices in their station, dispatch center, chief’s vehicles, and any other location immediately display a list of every responding member, where they are responding (e.g., station, scene, staging area), and when they will arrive.
Emergency response entities know immediately if enough members will turn out simply by watching a computer monitor. If enough members are not on the screen within seconds, members can immediately issue reactivations. Emergency responders also use this information to decide whether to wait for additional members who are en route, and they stop losing time waiting for members who are not responding. You can make duty assignments before members even arrive. Unstaffed departments have access to all of this information as soon as the first member reaches the station or even sooner if they have Internet access on a mobile device.
Even in combination and other staffed departments, those on duty know whether to hold back and wait, because they know if others are on their way and when they will be there. With this information, departments can make more complete and safer crews and can get more apparatus out. If others are not on their way, members can issue second activations and mutual-aid requests much sooner.
Subscribers across the country have reported reduced response times when using IamResponding.com. With this system, emergency responders know if they need to request a second activation in as little as 30 seconds and can therefore reduce response times by as much as 85 percent on every second activation. If a dispatch center is monitoring the IamResponding.com system for the agencies it dispatches (this is not necessary, but it can be beneficial), dispatchers know to issue second and third activations without needing any direct communication with the dispatched entities or their members.
With IamResponding.com’s Web-based scheduling system, departments, chiefs, members, and dispatchers can immediately view who is on duty and where. Even in volunteer departments and agencies that do not schedule duty crews, members use the scheduling system to advise their department of their in-town availability or out-of-town unavailability. For example, a volunteer member who knows that he will be available to respond to calls for an entire night can simply log into the system from home and place himself “on duty” for the rest of that night. His name and availability will then appear on his agency’s screen for however long he is scheduled as available. This enables chiefs and officers to assess their in-town, available personnel resources at any given moment. Knowing this information greatly enhances the ability to plan around personnel shortages.
Radio traffic is also decreased by IamResponding.com’s mass-messaging system. Every emergency response entity can instantly send messages through this system to messaging groups and/or members by text message, e-mail, and alpha-pages. Members can communicate meeting reminders, drill reminders, situation updates, and any other intradepartment messages departmentwide within seconds, with no need for dispatchers to broadcast such information over the airwaves. IamResponding.com’s messaging system also provides dispatch centers with a fully redundant method of instantly communicating with every member of the emergency response entities in their dispatch territory.
Other time-saving features of IamResponding.com include Web-based apparatus status tracking and an expiration date tracking system. The apparatus status feature can track which apparatus are in or out of service, with automated text and e-mail notifications being sent out each time an apparatus’ status has changed. The expiration date tracker simplifies keeping track of any personnel or equipment expiration dates, from CPR and training certifications to narcotic licenses, vehicle registrations, and turnout gear replacement dates. Weekly expiration reports are automatically generated and e-mailed to appropriate personnel, providing constant reminders of any upcoming expiration dates.
With its Web-based simplicity, IamResponding.com does not require any special software for use; individual departments can be fully operational within less than 48 hours. Behind the scenes, IamResponding.com is deployed on a fully redundant network and is supported by a full-time team of network specialists.
DANIEL SEIDBERG is the president of IamResponding.com.