New communication app for Bay Area first responders released

Dubbed in the iPhone's app store as Responder Incident Report, a new iPhone app was released by the Bay Area Incident Management Task Force (IMTF), a multi-agency organization comprised of representatives from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, the Federal Highway Administration, local law enforcement and fire departments, county coroners, the American Automobile Association, tow truck companies and others.

The goal of the app is to provide a smoother exchange of emergency information and details between emergency responders and other agencies. The app was developed specifically for for first responders in the Bay Area.

MTC developed the app with cooperation from Monsoon Company representatives and staff from Caltrans District 4’s Maintenance section, which uses its Transportation Management Center to harness technology that is already in place to make real-time data sharing from responders at an incident scene possible.

“The system empowers responders with an easy-to-use tool to improve interagency coordination and motorist and responder safety,” James Province, chief of emergency toll bridge services for Caltrans District 4, said. “The app is designed to streamline the communications process by providing responders with accurate, real-time descriptions of an incident scene.”

An initial field test of the system, which carries a $25,000 price tag, was done in March.

It is hoped that the new app will minimize any miscommunication between responders as well as decrease the time responders and victims have to spend on the scene of an incident. It allows responders to snap a photo of the scene on their phone and add important details while at the same time capturing the GPS location from which the photo was sent.

“A picture really is worth a thousand words,” Radiah Victor, transportation management and coordination principal for MTC, said. “This is a simple and inexpensive way to use existing cell phone camera and map technology to ensure responders have a common operating picture to support quick response and safe clearance of incidents.”

For more information about the Responder Incident Report app, view the project fact sheet at http://timbayarea.org/page/projects.

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