Recently, I did a product review online of NowForce – Emergency Response Solutions. Keep reading to find out what they are all about and how to enter to win a complete system for your department.
Given that I am not the technical guru when it comes to Fire/EMS Software, I had the company representative answer a series of questions I thought would help you all understand what they are all about.
Let me just say this:
Contact the company for a demo of this product. It was amazing at how in depth they have created the interface to best serve Fire and EMS Departments. The user-ability of this product is unreal.
NowForce was created to keep emergency response and security organizations connected, thereby minimizing response times and maximizing situational awareness. Running on users’ existing phones, NowForce’s emergency response solutions enable organizations to:
Keep their first responders connected via their smartphones – even when off-duty or away from their vehicles – while fully respecting privacy.
Dispatch the optimal responder – based on proximity, availability and experience – to the scene.
Sync all users in an emergency network via their cell phones.
Automate routine tasks so the response team can focus on what really matters.
Give the people they protect a direct lifeline to a specific dispatch center, ensuring an immediate response to any emergency.
Enhance accountability with comprehensive post-incident analyses.
Whenever a new incident is entered into CAD or the NowForce Dispatcher at a communications center/PSAP, operational personnel are notified and/or dispatched through the NowForce Mobile Responder™ app. The app is publicly available in the iOS, Android and Blackberry app markets. New incidents are only pushed out to firefighters relevant to the incident, based on their current location, availability, apparatus assignment, equipment carried, qualifications or a combination of everything. Firefighters can acknowledge incidents, respond that they are en route, on-scene, or indicate a customizable status. Additionally, firefighters can respond to non-urgent messages generated by an authorized user with free text or pre-defined answers within the app.
How does it help reduce response times?
Utilizing a patented dispatching engine, the system is capable of dispatching the closest most relevant resources, based upon a customer defined protocol for an incident. Once a call is accepted, the firefighter is given turn-by-turn directions using the latest navigation apps, which include traffic and weather updates. The solution is also capable of automatically statusing a firefighter on-scene when approaching the dispatched location.
How can it help an incident commander?
NowForce helps generate a comprehensive operational picture by expanding situational awareness capabilities. Utilizing the NowForce supervisor module, the incident commander can see everyone from the agency on a map, from his or her cell phone or any other mobile device. During an incident, the IC can see which firefighters are on scene, who’s still en route – as well as their ETAs based on current traffic conditions, and who’s cleared an incident. In addition, the IC has all geographical information, hydrants, points of interest (i.e. HAZMAT areas), apparatus location and responder statuses available via the app.
How does it help individual firefighters?
NowForce helps individual firefighters in a number of ways, including:
- Speeding up response times: The app works through any available data network (i.e. mobile carrier or wifi) and instantly displays location and other relevant incident information if the user qualified for a response. With one click, firefighters indicate they are available to respond and then they receive turn-by-turn navigation to the scene.
- Transforming their smartphones into Mobile Data Terminals: Firefighters can upload images and other critical information once they’re on scene, providing full visibility of the incident to the command center and fellow firefighters. The app also allows the individual firefighter to request additional resources via a user-friendly, intuitive mobile interface.
- Enabling firefighters to maintain their privacy while off-duty while remaining available for emergencies. The communications center sees an off-duty firefighter as an “anonymous” responder, but if an incident relevant to that user is tapped out and they are dispatched, that is the only time they can be seen on a map. Only once the firefighter indicates he/she is accepting the assignment does dispatch see the full profile.
- Improves situational awareness: Firefighters can stay abreast of other responders en-route or nearby.
- Alerts communications center to a firefighter in distress: The app has an integrated distress button, which when pressed will automatically generate a priority incident at the communications center while simultaneously alerting nearby resources. Additionally the app will dial a pre-defined emergency number and enable a dispatcher to track the user in near real time. The solution is also capable of automatically e-mailing and SMSing emergency contacts during an emergency.
How does the system help “sync” everyone on the network?
All firefighters in a particular department or emergency network receive digital communications through their cell phones (or other mobile devices such as tablets); fellow firefighters immediately see images and critical updates about an incident, whether uploaded by responders on-scene, the IC, or dispatch. Response units en route to an incident receive the critical information as well.
Can the solution tie into a CAD system?
NowForce was designed to interface with or integrate into CAD. Additionally, NowForce offers a browser based alternative to CAD for agencies that do not have that type of software.
Does the solution generate reports?
NowForce provides an extensive business intelligence (BI) platform which captures and analyzes all data within a customer account. Incident, unit, personnel and location reporting are standard off the shelf features. With NowForce BI an agency can view real-time trends (i.e. average response times per type of incident on a daily, weekly or monthly basis) and generate operational member scores based upon qualifications, availability and total number of responses. Additionally, firefighters can fill out incident or unit reports directly into the app on their smartphones, reducing paperwork. NowForce BI was designed to interface with existing RMS systems.
Is there a built-in panic button?
Yes – the integrated distress button immediately signals an alert (including a siren) at the communications center if a firefighter is in danger.
Can your application work in an area with no cell phone service?
As long as your cell phone is connected to a data network which includes a wifi or wimax network.
Can it interface with Motorola UNS server or other AVL systems?
Yes, we already have an integration with Motorola UNS and we have interfaced with many AVL systems.
Can you identify which firefighters are responding the most?
Yes – our dashboard feature enables the administrator or supervisor, depending on the department’s defined protocols, to see who is responding (or not). With NowForce, you know who your most active operational members are, and who doesn’t respond to any runs. You can see the average response times on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, plus the type of incidents, over any period, showing trends and giving basic analytics.
Can it be interfaced with a Records Management System?
Yes, everything can be integrated into a records management system.
How is it hosted?
Fire departments have the option of hosting the server on the NowForce secured cloud, or via an on-site installation.
What GIS capabilities do you have?
We have a number of GIS capabilities. For example, we allow both the IC and the firefighters to see hydrant locations, points of interest such as Hazmat sites, and station/box areas, whether they are on a tablet, PC or smartphone. We also offer advanced mapping capabilities, including geo-fencing and advanced polygon support.
Is there potential migration from a different reporting system to NowForce? How easy is the migration?
Yes, this is definitely possible. We have a built in API engine, and assuming the other reporting system has 3rd party integration capabilities via WebServices, etc. this is very simple.
Was the system built with all types of fire/EMS departments in mind? For instance, can it easily be configured to operate for a volunteer, paid, combination, paid on call, or brigade type department?
Yes, absolutely. The system allows for responders to be assigned to one or more groups (as defined by the organization).
Who should departments contact for a demo of your product?
Jason Goldberg, Sales Director, +1-240-949-2443, Jason@nowforce.com