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Canadian FD Moves On the High-Tech Frontier

Being in the Right Neighborhood Helps

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, IS THE HOME to high-tech high flyer Reasearch in Motion (RIM), the innovative developers and purveyors of the pioneering Blackberry personal communication device.  So it  was only natural that the Waterloo Fire Rescue Department would readily adapt the Blackberry technology and products into their operations.

Waterloo Region Fire website is an independent photo-oriented website covering the local fire department and the publisher Ian Haight has just posted an interesting article on this topic.  The firefighters figured out that Blackberry's newest tablet, the Playbook fits comfortably in their bunkergear pockets, so the next step was to buy a bunch of them and then develop their own apps to use with them.  WaterlooRegionFire continues:

Waterloo Fire Rescue relies on hundreds of pre-plans which, until now, had been kept in binders on all front line apparatus and command vehicles. Within the last year, these pre-plans were converted into digital format allowing them to be stored directly on the Playbook. Recognizing the limitations of the paper pre-plans, especially for the firefighters already in the building, combining them onto a wireless (handheld) device was an obvious solution. As Deputy Chief of Emergency operations Larry Brassard says, "we’re now able to put our pre-plans in the hands of our firefighters right inside a building." The app was originally designed as a mapping tool to replace the printed run-cards held in each truck; however, it did not take long to adapt the maps to include the tactical surveys of the buildings in the city.

And that was just the beginning of their custom apps for the device that has been issued to every officer.  He tells of other uses they have integrated with the Playbook.

WaterlooRegionFire.com

Also, if you keep scrolling through the article you will learn why their firetrucks have one of those QR Codes stuck on the sides.  In a city that is populated with literally thousands of geeks, it only makes sense that Waterloo is leading the way with this device, too.

Read the article and see what they are doing with it HERE and learn about their Playbook apps.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • EMS_Justin

    Fascinating post. One of the first tablets incorporated in EMS was the Apple Newton in the early 90′s. They used a stylus and were clunky, but they did ePCR fairly well. We have one lying around somewhere in the office.