GIS in Public Safety

Fire/Rescue and EMS

How GIS is Used in Fire/Rescue and EMS

The following core capabilities can be enhanced using GIS technology enabling staff to more effectively carry out all types of tasks for supporting every kind of public safety emergency.

Planning
and Analysis
Data
Management
Field
Operations
Situational
Awareness

Planning and Analysis

Good planning and analysis are the foundation to managing a modern, effective, performance driven fire/EMS agency. GIS analysis is an important building block which helps planners draw important trends and conclusions out of the data to better understand dynamics such as where emergencies are likely to occur, what the likely concentration of events might be, and develop strategies for reducing the impact of unavoidable events. On the operational side, collecting good GIS data about hazards, structures, and populations improves decision-making during an event. GIS used effectively to support the planning process can improve service delivery by increasing deployment efficiencies, reducing risk, and improving outcomes by operationalizing plans for more effective decision-making during emergency events.

Data Management

To manage the fire/rescue mission effectively, information must be gathered and maintained from multiple data sources. Incident records, water system capacity, building pre-plans are just three examples of many sets of data which come from different systems and departments. All of these must be available to fire department personnel responsible for emergency planning and response. GIS is a flexible information platform that enables full integration with other information systems. GIS is standards-based and provides an extendable architecture for true interoperability. Accurate cataloging of GIS data and services, combined with your organization's existing investments, gives you an edge for turning raw data into useful information. You can easily link to different information systems-such as computer aided dispatch or planning-to take advantage of data built and maintained by other agencies.

Field Operations

Accurate communications between field responders and command staff can be a difficult challenge. Mobile GIS gives you the advantage. Responding crews can easily access data and send digital updates back to command for incorporation in the common operating picture. Commanders get a more accurate and dynamic understanding of conditions on the ground. New data can be sent to field teams so they have the best information possible for staying safe and protecting lives. Whether for response or recovery, mobile GIS gives you the capability you need for getting the right information, wherever it may be.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is the corner stone to effective decision making during and after an emergency event. Responding officers and incident commanders rely on the best available information to make rapid decisions and monitor the event as it unfolds. You need to know what's happening and where, and you have to be able to see it in real-time. GIS aids in quickly establishing full situational awareness by linking people, processes and information together using geography. It provides the map interface viewing incident and other data to understand exactly what is happening and to nimbly adjust to changing conditions.


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