Public safety professionals rely on quality computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems to help protect their communities. Without knowing it, members of the general public also rely on dispatching software as they expect their first responders to provide the best possible service. Regardless of their level of experience, law enforcement, firefighters, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel agree that the rapid exchange of information through the use of dispatch software plays a key role in their job performance.
This article will highlight ways in which dispatching software positively impacts both the first responder and the public they serve. At first, it may seem the interests of these two groups are aligned. That is largely true, but their reliance on the technology used in public safety also bears different types of importance for each group. Even when the advantages appear the same, the reasons for the benefit can be diverse.
Why Dispatching Software is Important to Public Safety Professionals
When a 911 call is placed, the dispatch software is already putting the proverbial wheels in motion to get help where it is needed. By instantly providing addresses, caller information, unit assignment, and more, dispatching software aids first responders in getting to the scene with the necessary information.
In the EMS world, for instance, medics know the importance of the Golden Hour. This concept, often equated to the victim of a stroke, purports that after a traumatic injury, the patient’s chances of survival significantly increase if they are in a treatment facility within 60 minutes. State of the art dispatch software can be a vital tool when this clock is running. Through mobile technology, medics can be provided directions, informed of any hazards, notified about previous incidents with the patient, and coordinate advanced rescue techniques, all through integrated dispatching software.
Similarly, law enforcement officers responding to an active shooting incident will undoubtedly rely on mobile technology when accessing maps, researching suspect and address histories, and coordinating a tactical approach to the scene. Additional benefits of dispatching software technology will unfold with the establishment of command posts, equipment/personnel staging locations, media areas, and reunification sites.
Finally, firefighters’ use of laptops, tablets, and cell phones linked to computer-aided dispatching (CAD) software can aid in both their response to the scene and actions taken once there. While en route, fire hydrant and standpipe locations can be accessed, and entry plans coordinated. Additional responding units, such as ladder trucks, heavy rescue vehicles, and tankers can be managed from a mobile command post linked to a shared software system in the dispatch center. Ultimately, a concept as easy as putting water on fire can be greatly aided through the use of technology.
How the Public Benefits from Dispatching Software
The public justifiably desires a high level of service from their local law enforcement agency. Dispatching software can aid in that service. For example, if one reports a prowler around their house, the technology used to gather and disseminate information provides a benefit to the public they will likely never realize. Computer-aided dispatching software allows 911 dispatchers to immediately determine the appropriate units to respond to the call for service.
What the victim is not seeing, is the vast amounts of information the officers have at their fingertips as they arrive. From their in-car laptop computers, or any enabled mobile device, responding units can access mapping technology to not only display the best route to the scene, but also to evaluate possible avenues the suspect may take to flee the area. Officers and dispatchers can also share information about crime trends related to similar calls for service in the same neighborhood. Detectives, crime analysts, or other patrol units may have developed information about a suspect’s vehicle or clothing description, or perhaps even identified the probable suspect. Dispatching software and mobile technology allow officers to access and share information instantly, from anywhere and deliver the quality service the public expects.
That service is expected from the onset of a victim’s needs and usually begins with a 911 call. While the use of this three-digit number is not new and is well known to most, the technology behind the scenes has vastly improved since the 911 system came into widespread use in the 1970s. Modern dispatching software can help pinpoint a caller’s location, even if they are unable to communicate. Simply calling 911 will let emergency dispatchers know where a caller is and get help on the way.
Additionally, computer-aided dispatching software can aid 911 call takers in determining any prior responses to a particular location. This can include any notations of special hazards or simply provide information that allows first responders to better help someone in need. For instance, when the Golden Hour clock is running, being able to get to the patient is paramount. Dispatching software can give responding medics valuable information to expedite providing care. For example, having the gate code to a subdivision or knowing that a neighbor has a key and can open the patient’s door means more time devoted to patient care.
Public safety professionals and the communities they serve, continue to benefit from the advances in dispatching software. The improvements in the ability of first responders to access vital information, exchange critical data, and maintain records of calls for service is a direct result of mobile technology being integrated with modern dispatching software systems. The result is better, faster, and higher quality service. In the realm of public safety, that service equates to lives being saved.