Greg Poncin’s Type 1 Incident Management Team is using iPads as they manage the Sawtooth Fire near Hamilton, Montana. A member of the team developed an app that can assist in collecting and distributing information on a near real time basis wirelessly using a 3G cell phone system. The team is using them to share maps, documents, photos, and videos.
An article at KAJ18 about the system does not say, but I imagine they are putting the Incident Action Plan on the devices as well. iPads may not be very practical to carry on the fireline, but if it is compatible with an iPhone, firefighters in a spike camp may in the future be submitting their time to the finance section on a hand-held wireless device.
If the team does not have a wireless hot spot at the Incident Command Post, the system would be dependent on 3G cell phone service, which is not always easy to find at the scene of a large wildland fire.
A video at KAJ18 features Incident Commander Poncin describing the innovation.
The Sawtooth fire, according to the information on InciWeb, has burned 5,882 acres and is 45 percent contained.
UPDATE at 10:40 a.m. MT, September 28, 2012:
Kelly reports to us that a helicopter pilot friend told her that on the Sawtooth fire the Helicopter Managers were getting the Incident Action Plans (IAP) wirelessly. On the Halstead fire the pilot obtained copies of maps by using a smart phone or iPad to scan a QR code (similar to a bar code) on the front of the IAP.
The possibilities for this kind of technology are endless.
What new technologies have you seen recently on wildfires? Or, what new technologies have the potential to be implemented on fires which could enhance efficiency, reduce costs, or help to provide a safer working environment for firefighters?