Thursday, May 22, 2014
Editor's note: Today, guest blogger Uzi Bashan, Fire Officer with Israel’s Fire and Rescue Commission, tells us how his organization relies on Google Maps for Business to quickly identify and put out tens of thousands of fires per year. Discover why forward-thinking organizations are investing in tools to help them prepare for situations in advance, including mapping technology. Read more about the six ways Maps are Going Google.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Commission runs the nationwide emergency fire response system, dispatching a team of 1,850 firefighters to blazes large and small within minutes of fires starting. We operate 24 call centers that field 87,000 emergency calls per year, 44,000 of which are fire-related.
After the devastating Mt. Carmel fire in December 2010, which killed 44 people, injured dozens, and wiped out nearly 40,000 acres of forest, senior officers at the Fire and Rescue Commission realized we needed a more advanced fire alert system. This prompted our decision to deploy mapping technology from Google.
Now, using Google Earth Enterprise as our main GIS mapping platform, each call center operator has two screens - one displaying information from the national system, and the other displaying maps with Google Earth. Google Earth maps, with customized data layers, are automatically updated in real-time to show exactly where fires are and which firefighters are the closest to them. What used to take minutes now takes seconds.
Call center operators and firefighters alike are simply stunned at how Google mapping technologies have helped them do their jobs. With 99.9% up time, an easy-to-use interface, and automatic, real-time incident updates, Google Earth Enterprise provides the reliable tools we need to respond to fires quickly and safely. Now, our emergency responder can reach fires in seconds instead of minutes. And in a profession where every one of those second matters, gaining that time back helps us save lives and property across Israel.