Firefighter's app maps info from text dispatches

When dispatch sends a text, CADpage retrieves the address and FirefighterLog maps it to help firefighters

If anyone knows the issues firefighters sometimes have getting to the emergency scene both safely and quickly, it's firefighters themselves.

So it seems appropriate the latest tool to hit the growing fire service smartphone app market has been unveiled by a firefighter in Rocky Mount in N.C.

Enter FirefighterLog, an Android app that maps information from text dispatches to give firefighters directions to a call.

FirefighterLog users first need to download CADpage, creator Patrick Jackson said. When dispatch sends a text, CADpage retrieves the address, and FirefighterLog maps it to help firefighters navigate to the scene with GPS. It also keeps a log of past calls.

When Firefighter Jackson saw the maps and GPS functions on his first Android smartphone a year ago, he also noticed many firefighters receiving text messages from their dispatchers.

"I thought something that combining the two would be useful for firefighters," he said, adding that the app is especially useful for volunteer firefighters.

"Volunteers have a large area and might not know every street in their territory," Jackson said. "The app saves time so firefighters aren't going around asking for directions."

The fire engineer is working on integrating the app with his district's CAD system as well as trying the app tablet computers using WiFi.

"I hope to try to help other departments do this in the future," he said.

The newest version of FirefighterLog, which will be released soon, according to Jackson, offers a few upgrades to existing functionality. Firefighters will be able to see locations of hydrants and other water supplies, Jackson said, and the location information in the current version will be improved.

The app currently costs $1.99, while the next version will be free, according to Firefighter Jackson.

FirefighterLog is an app for android phones and is available on the Android Market here.

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