This week, wildfires forced thousands of California families to leave their homes. Fire is a serious danger, and fire crews need to be as prepared as possible to keep our local communities safe. R/M hosted a group of fire chiefs yesterday to hear about how GIS can help them do their job as efficiently as possible.
Thanks to GIS, some fire departments are able to more effectively track risks and hazards. GIS can help tell fire departments which areas are more fire-prone than others. For instance, areas that consist of wooden structures or are surrounded by flammable wildland can be entered and stored on GIS so that fire departments know where fires are likely to occur.
GIS can also be used to plan fire inspections. Crews can make sure that buildings are staying up-to-date with current fire codes and track all of their pre-emergency inspections. With all of this information stored easily on a GIS system, firefighters are able to determine if their current team is properly trained and ready to meet fires as they come. They know which areas are more likely to need them and which areas need to hold more fire drills.
But GIS is helpful during the actual emergency, too. It can provide information about the building’s structure before fire crews rush in, and any information about hazardous materials that may be inside. Another benefit of GIS to firefighters? Locating water. With an up-do-date GIS system, fire crews are able to locate water points (like fire hydrants) to help put fires out quickly.
Too bad GIS can’t make all our fire hydrants look like that, because that would be awesome.