Merced Co. Fire uses new technology that could save your life

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This new AVL program not only helps keep first responders safe but helps them better protect homes and lives. (KFSN)

The division fire chief says this is bringing the Merced County Fire Department to the 21st century. This new AVL program not only helps keep first responders safe but helps them better protect homes and lives.

For firefighters, saving seconds means saving lives and in the engines of the Merced County Fire Department a new tool is helping crews do just that -- simply with the click of a button.

"I believe it's going to not only save one life but several lives,"Chief Lawson said.

Division Chief Mark Lawson says they have equipped all their cars, trucks and engines with a new Automated Vehicle Location system.

That way, dispatch can find the closest engine and sends them to a 911 call. Calls come in directly to the tablet, and fire officials can simply click on the entry, and get a direct route to where they need to go.

Lawson said, "We're able to decrease our response times and increase the level of service we're responding to citizens of the county."

The program is funded by the department's operating budget. They have about 40 tablets, and each cost about 40 to 50 dollars a month.

From figuring out how much hose line is needed to finding the nearest fire hydrant. The program helps fire crews pre-plan.

Merced County Battalion Chief, John Slate said, "You can see what equipment is at scene and what equipment is on the way to the scene so that's going to help you create a plan of action. Who's gonna do interior attack, who's going to get the water supply."

Lawson says the system will also help firefighters determine state jurisdiction lines. Which he says will help save time when responding to wildfires.

"We're able to get in there early on, and draw out where the incident is and send that info out to who needs to see it and start talking about resources, the cost," Lawson said.

Fire officials are constantly looking at ways to improve this program. All the tablets are linked to a WiFi system. That way crews can be in constant communication with each other and with other agencies if needed.

It is just one more tool they say will help with upcoming fire seasons.
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technologyfire departmentstechnologyMerced County
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