Bloomington Fire, IU project hailed as possible future of emergency response

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new collaboration between Bloomington firefighters, Indiana University, and a European company could change the way emergency responders do their jobs.

Dubbed "Project Innovation," the two year pilot will bring in high-tech systems to Bloomington's fire stations.

The stations just started using large monitors, which immediately display a map of a 911 call as it comes into the station, with real-time traffic information and the nature of that call.

"The information pushes in very quickly," Deputy Chief Jayme Washel said.

Eventually, the fire trucks will be equipped with tablets and laptops that will also display real time data, including notes from dispatchers about information they're receiving on the scene, and pre-loaded information about the building, such as layout, hazmat concerns, and possible obstacles.

"We’re really excited about what this could be," Washel said.

Indiana University and the company Netage are providing the technology and innovation on the project. According to IU, data will also be collected that could help emergency responders better analyze situations.

For Washel and his firefighters, there's a lot to do in the coming months to get the system fully online, but he already sees how it can make a huge difference.

"I think that in the emergency settings that we’re starting to see across the United States, it’s very, very important. We can only make decisions based on the information that we have at that present time," Washel said. "I think the implications in the future are going to reach much further than Bloomington, Indiana."

For more information about the project from IU, go to the link here.

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