First responders are the first to arrive on the scene of a crime, accident, medical emergency, natural disaster, fire, or terrorism. Ever since the formation of these services, first responders have relied on a wide array of technologies to help them do their jobs and serve the public better.
Thanks to the rapid development of technology, the challenges that first responders face are continuously being eradicated with each technological innovation. To illustrate how technology impacts this industry, here are the different types of tech solutions that help advance first responder services and ultimately, public safety.
1. LED lights
Lights for emergency vehicles are nothing new, but modern versions of LED light bars have shown to be more powerful, durable, and long-lasting than their older counterparts. These powerful lights make emergency vehicles more visible on the road, alerting other motorists to make way and thus helping first responders get to their destination faster and more safely.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones enhance the emergency response in a variety of ways. The main purpose of drones in emergencies is to provide visual information of a site of emergency without putting the lives of first responders at risk, especially over long distances and in unsafe environments or extreme conditions. They may even be used to deliver supplies to emergency sites, making it easier to provide relief and on-site support in emergency situations.
3. Emergency response data platform
Emergency response technology company RapidSOS offers a platform that provides a direct data link from more than 350 million connected devices to first responder services and hospital systems. This platform aims to deliver life-saving health information to emergency services seamlessly, allowing for a faster and better-informed response in the event of a medical emergency. According to the latest update, the company has raised over $85 million and will use the funds to enhance data sets and expand its operations across the country.
4. Vehicle-mounted computers
Vehicle-mounted computers are becoming more and more advanced as mobile technology develops. These devices allow police offers to access necessary information from their patrol cars efficiently, which makes it easier for them to do a variety of tasks, including watching for stolen vehicles, recording witness statements, and uploading digital photos of crime scenes, among many others.
The fire department also benefits from vehicle-mounted computers by using them to access building plans to find the best points of entry in burning buildings and other potential hazards. Emergency medical technicians or EMTs can also use this type of technology to send information to the emergency room, allowing hospital staff to anticipate the arrival of the patient and provide faster and smarter emergency care.
5. Triage software
A tech company called Corti uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve the speed and accuracy of the triage process. When patients make a call to their GP, the software analyzes patient interviews in real-time and provides live recommendations for diagnosis, helping medical professionals act faster and more accordingly. On top of that, the software provides an analysis of every call received to help facilities optimize their emergency protocols and reduce the risk of under triaging patients.
6. GPS and tracking technology
GPS technology is also nothing new, but it has grown far more advanced in most recent years. In emergency services, more modern GPS technology allows first responders to find the most approximate location of the call. Compared to outdated triangulation technology, newer GPS is more accurate and precise, which improves the overall emergency response.
On the other hand, the application of tracking technology in emergency services helps keep first responders safe, which is especially useful in hazardous situations. Tracking technology is also extremely useful in verifying the arrival of first responders and coordinating efforts across different emergency services. For example, if the first group of responders does not arrive on the scene, tracking technology will let dispatch know so that they can act accordingly and ensure the safety of everyone.
7. Mobile technology
LMRs or land mobile radios used to be the most effective communication tools in emergency situations, but they are extremely limited when compared to the type of mobile technology that we have now. Mobile devices with smart technology have helped first responders take strides when it comes to providing speedy responses and maintaining their own safety, thanks to capabilities like biological monitoring (smartwatches), instant communications, and access to detailed maps, among many others.
First responder technology has come a long way since 911 was established, but there is so much more potential to explore. With the types of tech solutions that we have now, it is safe to say that emergency services will only continue to advance as more and more companies design innovations aimed to improve the services of first responders.