Colo. FD Looks at iPads for Tracking & Prevention

Jarret Winkelman shares how the South Metro Fire Department is looking to utilize iPads at all operational levels, from fire prevention efforts to inspections and more. Plus, how fire departments can use the iPad right out of the box.


Maps - click on the Maps app and you are greeted with a full screen mapping interface. The location should look familiar. If not, a click on the arrow button in the lower left corner of the map will move the map to your current location (assuming you have an active network connection). Search the map by entering keywords or addresses into the search field in the upper right portion of the map. Need fuel for the truck? Typing "gas," "fuel," or "diesel" will find options nearby. Need directions to the call? Switch to direction mode and type the address you wish to go to. The "from" address will use your current location by default. Notice that multiple routes are created, giving you instant alternatives in the event of construction or other obstacles.

Unfortunately, the newly released Apple Maps app in iOS 6 has received less than kind reviews. Many users report that the Apple maps are now less accurate than the Google maps used in previous iOS versions. I have certainly noticed these issues myself, and have found myself a bit frustrated with the new Apple maps. As you read the most recent consumer reviews, it is important to remember that creating a mapping application is no small undertaking. Now that Apple has millions of users that can point out inaccuracies throughout the world, I am hopeful that they will be working diligently to rapidly improve this new app.

Notes & Reminders - this is an excellent tool for taking meeting minutes or jotting down key points from discussions you have throughout the day. A tap of the arrow button near the bottom of the notes page will display the option to email or print the document. When you stop at Station 2 you need to remember to pick up the new helmets to bring to Station 3, use the Reminders app. After creating the reminder to "pick up the helmets", click on the text to set a reminder alert.

Camera - the iPad has not one, but two cameras; one rear-facing for traditional photo and video capture, and one front-facing for video conferencing. Photos and videos are stored in the Photos and Videos apps for review and can be shared by email or text message. The Facetime app leverages the iPad's cameras to provide an out-of-the-box video calling solution, making it easy to video chat with other iPad or iPhone users.

Mail - setup all of your mail accounts and easily check and respond to messages throughout the day. Turning the iPad horizontally displays a list of messages along the left hand side, with the selected message displaying on the right side of the screen. Turning the device vertically focuses the entire screen on the selected message.

The new VIP feature in iOS 6 allows users to add important email addresses to their VIP list. VIP messages are filtered into a separate mailbox for easy viewing. VIP messages may also be displayed as notifications in the iPads notification center.

JARRET WINKELMAN is the sales director at Incident Response Technologies, Inc. (IRT), which provides cloud-based incident management systems for public safety organizations. Winkelman has extensive public safety experience including having held chief officer roles in EMS and search and rescue organizations as well serving as a federal hazmat responder. You can reach Jarret by e-mail at: jarret@irtsoftware.com.