The goal of public
safety agencies is to make every emergency response time as fast as possible. When an
emergency erupts, an extra second or two can mean the difference between a life saved and
a life lost. Vital decisions must be made by a dispatcher in even the best circumstances.
Imagine how complex the task becomes in a metropolis like Chicago, with a tangled web of
streets and fifteen million emergency calls each year. To help make a difference, Chicago
has developed an emergency response system built on Nova Stars Automatic Vehicle Location
(AVL) hardware and software.
Under the old system, Chicago's dispatchers had to make decisions based on data typed
on 3x5 cards. Under the new system they have all the vital information displayed on the
digital maps right in front of them. Dispatchers see the entire city on a digital map
allowing 911 calls to be pinpointed instantly. Emergency response vehicles are displayed
as icons so the most available unit can be determined. Dispatchers can even zoom in to see
building footprints, addresses, even building height, type, and access. This new GPS-based
dispatch system displays a wealth of other information, including location of fire
hydrants, street directions, and street width.
By taking advantage of GPS and by having the tools to immediately identify the best
unit to respond, dispatchers will be able to trim seconds-if not minutes-off of response
times. A year from now there will be Chicago citizens alive who simply would not be alive
without this new system.