Edmonton Fire Rescue Services speeds emergency routing with municipal GIS data

Needing to reduce response times and operating costs, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services worked with Hexagon to upgrade its computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and municipal map data, enabling faster dispatch, simplifying data sharing and saving money.

The challenge

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) provides fire suppression and rescue, as well as hazardous material cleanup, to the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

Since immediate response is critical to protecting lives and property, the demand for accurate, reliable and faster routing and dispatch is high. EFRS determined that using a one-city approach – where municipal public safety and health organizations share spatial data and a common map – would help meet its needs.

As EFRS prepared for a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system upgrade, it needed to integrate municipal spatial data sets into its dispatch system to optimize workflows and ensure rescue crews were viewing the same map information as other public safety organizations. EFRS also wanted to reduce costs without compromising dispatch performance.

To achieve this, the agency would have to integrate the response system with secure IT infrastructure at the municipal level and develop processes to access and accept new mapping data.

The solution

EFRS upgraded to a new CAD system from Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division, which included new dispatching features, web capabilities and an improved mobile experience for first responders. The upgrade also included tools to integrate with the City of Edmonton’s Spatial Land Inventory Management (SLIM) system, allowing EFRS to configure reliable municipal GIS data sets for use within its CAD system to improve dispatch and routing.

Using this common map base, responders can quickly and reliably share information about emergency events. Possessing accurate map data and improved emergency routing ensures the continued success of EFRS’ Quick Accept system, which speeds arrival on-site by dispatching units while the call-taker is still on the phone taking information. As well as enabling clearer positioning of incidents, it also saves time and cost by removing redundant data maintenance tasks.

Removing a potential source of confusion when describing incident locations, the EFRS system also links to Alberta Health Services’ CAD solution, which saves vital time when EFRS incidents require emergency medical support, or vice-versa.

With Hexagon’s mobile software, dispatch teams can share pre-incident planning information, such as road closures and out-of-service hydrants. The information is placed on the CAD common map, so EFRS response teams arrive on the scene faster and can receive and update emergency events wherever they are.

The upgraded CAD and mobile systems, with current municipal GIS data, are bringing EFRS closer to its goal of being on-scene within four minutes of a fire truck leaving the station.

“[Hexagon’s] solution improves our processes so we can get people the help they need, fast.”
Deputy Fire Chief

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