Information is powerful. But the actual power of information is sharing it.
I’ve been a firefighter for 30 years and a fire technology innovator for the past several. And whether my mission was working on the fire ground, in the air as the Air Attack ‘eye-in-the-sky', or as the former California State Fire Marshal and Chief Deputy for Cal Fire, the lesson that I learned was always to know what's going on around you AND communicating it effectively to others. That lesson continues to be all-important today as the firefighting/public safety community focuses on the use of digital data to improve our outcomes.
Share data with everybody, anywhere, anytime, on any fire.
Similar to the technology hurdle that was the frequency capability of radios, today’s biggest challenges with data are the fusion of information into a coordinated system and the ability to send and receive data on demand. In our wildfire mission that might be the integration of real-time fire perimeters with personnel/vehicle tracking and fire behavior alerts that are sent directly to at-risk division supervisors. This past week, firefighters in the Western United States took a big leap forward. Western states and the Federal resources coming to battle wildfires started sharing data across the entire response community.
Together with our client partners, Intterra helped to ensure that firefighters today can share data with everybody, anywhere, anytime, on any fire. From firefighters on the line, to the ICP, to the State EOC - they can see, share, and interact across geographic and agency lines in real time. With the National Interagency Fire Center's Enterprise Geospatial Portal as a hub, the fire community now seamlessly combines multiple data technologies such as the ESRI’s Collector, the SA Field Tool, and offline PDF maps to capture and share data acrosst the landscape.
Intelligence data from aircraft to satellites is now routinely collected, processed, and distributed directly to operations personnel – without requiring increased mobilization of analysts. In addition, critical data from lightning strikes to weather models and wildland fuel loading is now combined into automated alerts or a single picture for decision makers to rapidly assess how these compelx factors can be combined to impact a decision.
Free flowing data: Feds - Montana - Colorado - Oregon - Incident Management Teams - Local Firefighters
Just one example – over the past week, teams across the Western Unites States updated fire information in real-time from field devices. That information was immediately shared with Montana in-state officials as well as Federal and out-of-state resource managers working to prioritize and mobilize resources to assist in the response. This data sharing initiative was the culmination of a one-year project to develop and implement a dynamic incident mapping program for all wildland fire agencies to consolidate and modernize how fires are mapped and how information is shared.
Whether I'm talking to a firefighter, sitting at the table as the Chair of the Board for a geospatial tech company, or with my colleagues on the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Board, the conversation is the same…Sharing information helps everyone. It is one of the newest and best innovations in public safety, and we must all work together to provide these tools to every front-line responder and the support team behind them.