The fire service has always struggled with maintaining accurate accountability of personnel who are responding or operating in emergencies. Lack of firefighter accountability is often cited as a contributing factor in Line of Duty Deaths (LODD).
Compounding the accountability challenge are volunteer responders who can be coming from anywhere, with some going to the station and others going direct. The existing accountability tools and processes were unreliable and failed when needed the most.
Need for reliable and accurate system
As a firefighter and Incident Commander, Justin Brundage witnessed firsthand the data gaps of the tools and processes commonly used. A reliable and accurate system was needed in the fire service to avoid unnecessary risk to responses and responders.
The intuitive process fits within an existing response workflow and provides an end-to-end solution
Seeking to address the problem, Brundage co-founded Incident Management Technology, whose Personnel Accountability Management System (PAMS) software is a solution for maintaining accurate and reliable firefighter accountability.
The intuitive process fits within an existing response workflow and provides an end-to-end solution for firefighter accountability. The software was developed to solve operational gaps in emergency response and to help departments operate more effectively and safely.
With the PAMS system, all personnel can see the available, deployed, and responding staff and resources in real-time on a mobile app or web browser. Responding apparatus are also viewable in real-time, including all the personnel on the apparatus.
At an incident, the software tools simplify the accurate tracking and management of all personnel on the scene and enable a shared common picture of the who, what, and where of all responders at all times.
PAMS gives department members and officers the information they need in real-time to optimize their responses. “We do this by sharing availability and response information throughout the department on a smartphone app,” says Brundage.
In addition to the improvement in operational safety that agencies get from PAMS, the software also improves response. “When all responders can see the other responders’ destinations and estimated times of arrival (ETAs) they can adapt and optimize the response efficiency by responding where they are needed most and not duplicating unnecessarily,” says Brundage.
PAMS software functions as an electronic equivalent to tag-based systems, which are ineffective, cumbersome, and error-prone. The key difference is that, by being electronic, the “accountability” information is viewable to anyone connected to the agency in real-time, regardless of location.
Computer-aided dispatch (CAD)
The software manages the responder throughout the lifecycle of the emergency response
New incidents are sent to the responder mobile app automatically from computer-aided dispatch (CAD). Responders mark up if they are responding, and the system calculates and shares each responder's destination and ETA. The software manages the responder throughout the lifecycle of the emergency response.
The entire department can see who is responding, who is assigned to each responding apparatus, who is operating at the incident, and where they are operating. Because this is an electronic process managing the personnel, is much easier with timers on task activities, and a simple and quick participatory action research (PAR) process.
Fits in emergency workflow
PAMS software is designed to fit into the existing workflow of an emergency response. “As responders ourselves we understand the burden of adding more operational requirements to the already chaotic moments of response and incident mitigation,” says Brundage.
PAMS was built to work effectively on the equipment that is in many cases already deployed and installed in the response apparatus. The mobile app is available for iOS and Android and is used by the personnel responders, and then the web app is browser-based and can run on a browser window on tablets, mobile computing devices (MDCs), and laptops.
Affordable, But has a lack of awareness
In rolling out the product, awareness has proven to be a challenge for Incident Management Technology. “As a startup company most agencies that would benefit from the system aren’t aware that a solution like this even exists,” says Brundage.
The system is expanding features and functionality to maximize incident response effectiveness
The system is expanding features, functionality, and integrations rapidly intending to build an affordable solution for all fire departments to minimize their operational risks and to maximize their incident response effectiveness.
Benefits of the software
“We are currently having success with organic growth and the network effect,” says Brundage. “Our current customers are showing the system and validating the benefits to other agencies local to them, and we are increasing our awareness that way every day.”
He adds, “We love doing web demos and talking to fire and EMS departments. Most fire departments have the same operational challenges, and the feedback we receive from customers and prospects is what we use to drive our next phase of software development.”