This Seattle, Washington-based company's Rapid Responder software is designed to provide first responders and other emergency personnel with site-specific information in the field during emergencies. Users can access this information via a Web version or a remote version that loads onto a laptop, says Marti Wagner, vice president of professional services for Prepared Response.
The company sends site crews out to whatever is being mapped and captures this information in about a day, depending on the site, explains Wagner. All the details, floor plans, fire suppression, exits, interior doors, door swings, are captured. The data comes back to the office where it's conditioned and then loaded into the program. Crews are dispatched anywhere in the country.
Rapid Responder is a very intuitive application and concept, allowing first responders to make crucial decisions very rapidly. The system is also highly secure, which is essential because of the sensitivity of the data it contains. According to Jim Finnell, president and chief executive officer of the company, Rapid Responder employs the same technology as major financial institutions. He inserts that this crisis management system is certified by the DHS as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology (QATT).
Another concern expressed by end-users is connectivity in the field, Finnell continues. But Rapid Responder's remote version enables field connectivity if the software is loaded onto a laptop or if the user has a USB drive.
The entire process starts with an orientation meeting with all the stakeholders, followed by a pre-planning tactical meeting with first responders and other involved parties. This is where the real value of the service they provide lies, says Wagner
"We facilitate all of these different groups working together as a team," she explains. "They check their egos at the door, and focus on building a site-specific plan, collaborating in a neutral environment."
After this comes a site visit, data collection and data entry. Prepared Response then returns to the site and conducts the necessary training. Their client roster includes schools, hospitals, bridges, stadiums, transportation centers and hotels.SmartDraw.com
This San Diego, California-based company has designed a software program specifically for law enforcement and the legal profession called SmartDraw Legal Edition. Essentially a drawing program, this system allows law enforcement end-users to create professional and accurate diagrams of accident and crime scenes as well as develop organizational charts, timelines and documenting processes for training and educational purposes. This is accomplished by customizing a variety of templates provided by the company, as well as through the use of symbols and other images.
Although most agencies are using this program for the above-mentioned purposes, it also can be used to create detailed floor plans by modifying the floor plan templates available through the program, says Ken Roberts, director of product marketing. End-users would input a facility's existing floor plan information into the program, and make whatever changes were necessary to update both the floor plan information and the templates, adding the appropriate symbols and images to indicate fire suppression and other information. This is extremely easy to do, says Roberts.
"We support tablet and pen-based PCs so you could just walk around the facility and take notes and make whatever changes you need," he explains. "This gives agencies a very high degree of accuracy and control. And because this program isn't embedded in a larger system that does other things, it makes the diagram very accessible and easy to modify, and simplifies keeping information up to date."
The information is held on the user's computer or server rather than being Web-based. Transmission of information would occur via Intranet, and the software is alerted to system updates.
Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance journalist based in Long Beach, California.