Web Tracks Emergencies in Real Time

City's home page links to fire, ambulance log.


 
 

Joe Meyer | | Monday, September 15, 2008


COLUMBIA, Mo. -- People wondering why an ambulance or fire truck is racing down their street can now go online to get the scoop.

The city of Columbia has unveiled a new feature on its Web site that displays fire and emergency medical dispatches in real time.

Officials said yesterday the service has been available for about a week.

James McNabb, director of Boone County/Columbia Public Safety Joint Communications, said city officials have had the idea of the Web site feature about two years.

Setup was hassle-free because all of the information was already being gathered by emergency dispatchers and causes no delays.

The site displays basic information, including dispatch time, location and type of response for calls throughout Boone County. It automatically updates every minute.

So what's the reasoning behind it?

"Just because I think the general public's interested," McNabb said, adding that the site might benefit news reporters.

And, he added, "because it's cool."

Battalion Chief Steve Sapp of the Columbia Fire Department said he has seen similar sites online for other cities. Because the majority of dispatches are medical, there was a concern about not releasing any information that might compromise patient privacy, Sapp said.

"It's kind of a scanner on the Web, is what it is," Sapp said, referring to radios that allow people to listen to radio frequencies used by emergency responders.

Law enforcement dispatches are not displayed on the site, but interim Police Chief Tom Dresner said that possibility is being discussed.

Dresner said security reasons might cause information about police responses to be delayed for 24 hours or so. Police particularly do not want to alert suspects when drug or sexual assault investigations are under way, Dresner said.

"It's coming. It just probably won't be in real time," Dresner said. "We have to consider that bad guys might be looking at us and seeing what we're doing, and if it's in real time, that wouldn't be good."

Sapp said another future improvement could include a way to plot the data on a map.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch, Leadership and Professionalism

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee County EMS Shows Off CPR Tool

Lucas 2 in service in Bradley County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >