North Vancouver, BC - On October 1st, 2009, Surrey Fire Services went live with FDM Software's eLink, software that links BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) to FDM Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), used by the majority of Fire Dispatch Communication Centers in British Columbia. FDM eLink allows Fire Departments and the BCAS to work together seamlessly resulting in a higher standard of public safety.
When someone calls 911 in BC, the call gets routed to an emergency communications centre for that area. That centre determines whether the call should be routed to the ambulance, fire or police service. In the event of an emergency response, every second counts and each of these agencies must be able to effectively communicate with each other.
Prior to FDM's eLink release, Surrey Fire Service dispatchers had a BCAS terminal (in addition to their FDM CAD workstation) alerting them of medical incidents. When alerted, dispatchers turned their attention to the secondary terminal and decided whether or not the Fire Services would respond. Dispatchers would then re-enter the incident location and details into the FDM CAD system manually. This process not only took time but led to the possibility of errors due to retyping information, not ideal when dealing with emergency situations.
FDM eLink simplifies the process significantly and has a direct affect on response times by integrating the BC Ambulance incident information with the Fire Department's FDM Dispatch System. Now the dispatchers at Surrey Fire Services see medical incidents on the same screen as standard 911 calls received, eliminating the need for a secondary BCAS terminal. In addition, the system informs BCAS dispatchers whether the Fire Services will be responding or not, resulting in effective collaboration.
FDM CAD is used by the majority of Fire Communication Centers across the province including Surrey Fire Services, all of whom now have the benefit of FDM eLink. The software is now installed at centers across the Lower Mainland with Vancouver Island and the remainder of BC to follow as BCAS completes their CAD rollout.
"This new link to BCAS is a huge factor in our ability to effectively collaborate with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and reduce response times," says Karen Fry, Deputy Fire Chief and Manager of Communications for the Surrey Fire Services. "The end result is that the public gets the help that they need in times of emergency, promptly."
"Our goal is to provide dependable software solutions to Public Safety Agencies so they can do their job effectively" says FDM Software Founder and President Ed Colin. "Our BCAS eLink will play a big part in improving emergency medical response to BC citizens."
About Surrey Fire Services Communications Division
Surrey manages a multi-jurisdictional fire dispatch centre dispatching over 57,000 incidents in 2008 to Surrey and eleven other municipalities in the Lower Mainland. Surrey will also provide fire dispatch services for the communities in Squamish Lillooet Regional District Northern area in November 2009 and to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District beginning in May 2010.
This Division is the "Heart" of the Fire Service emergency operations. All calls are received and disseminated through the Dispatch Centre. All emergencies are handled via the communications center which operated the FDM Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. Sixteen full-time and six part-time communication operators handle all routine and emergency 9-1-1 calls 24/7. Their job is to interrogate callers, dispatch fire apparatus and coordinate communications between the fire ground and various other agencies, including BC Ambulance, RCMP, BC Hydro, Terasen Gas, Coastal Fire, Coast Guard, Ministry of Environment and many others.