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Collaborative Project Changes How Firefighters Find A Fire

“Project Innovation” is allowing the fire department headquarters station in Bloomington to use more information and reduce risk.

Photo: Steve Burns

“Project Innovation” is allowing the fire department headquarters station in Bloomington to use more information and reduce risk.

An annual fire department instructors conference is in Indianapolis this week. It’s called FDIC International, and it brings together members of the firefighting industry.

Among the attendees is the CEO of Netage, a company that is collaborating with Indiana University researchers and the Bloomington Fire Department to bring new technology to firefighters.

Jayme Washel is the Deputy Fire Chief for the Bloomington Fire Department. He says the collaborative Project Innovation is allowing the fire department headquarters station in Bloomington to use more information and reduce risk.

He says the fire station used to use a paper map to find the location of a fire, but because of Project Innovation, they can use a large television at the base of a stairwell that leads to the garage.

“We have a 60 inch screen. They’ll see the information pop up on the run. They’ll have live Google mapping, so they’ll have current mapping for traffic,” Washel says. “It also will help them to respond in a much more efficient manner by giving them directions and showing where the actual emergency is taking place.”

Washel says the technology was installed last summer, and it’s been successful. He says it has become more reliable in the past 4 or 5 months, and the efficiency it provides is important.

“If someone is not getting oxygen to their heart or their brain, these seconds really matter in emergency settings,” Washel says.

At a meeting this week, the collaborators discussed how the system is working, how it could expand, and potential future developments for Project Innovation.

The technology is also installed in the Indiana University fire station. Washel says there’s a possibility another station will be added within the next year.

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