St. Louis implements digital emergency response technology

The city of St. Louis recently announced it is putting new technologies in place to improve city-wide emergency response, including the digital CommandScope pre-plan technology.

The new technology will allow St. Louis firefighters and other first responders to have critical knowledge of more than 2,000 target hazard buildings throughout the municipality. This information will give the responders improved chances of saving lives and reducing property damage in case of a man-made or natural emergency, FireEngineering.com reports.

"The CommandScope installation is an investment to better serve firefighters for the collective safety of building occupants and the public," Michael Arras, the deputy fire chief in St. Louis, said, according to FireEngineering.com. "The technology is simple and easy to use so firefighters get quick access to critical building information. Now, information is all in paper notebooks that are hard to update and are not practical to use in an emergency. Trying to remember a building's information a year or two after a survey was completed isn't easy."

The technology installation is part of a collaborative effort in which the Massachusetts-based NewComm Wireless Services provided hardware and system integration. The city will first install the technology in high-occupancy and high cost buildings that impact the city's safety, health and economy.

CommandScope will give St. Louis first responders access to hazardous material details, floor plans, site plans, geographical maps, utility shut-off locations, lists of persons with special needs, fire hydrants locations and other critical information. The responders will be able to share the information across organizations, FireEngineering.com reports.

CommandScope was created by RealView LLC, a Chicago-based mobile software development company.

"A lot is asked of our nation's first responders and we understand they work with limited resources," David Howorka, the executive vice president of RealView, said, according to FireEngineering.com. "CommandScope provides easy to use, inexpensive technology that quickly educates responders and protects all stakeholders. First responders, then, are prepared to act with knowledge rather than trial and error, saving lives and reducing property damage."