Frankly I was mind blown by a twitter link sent by @adrielhampton – an iPhone (full iOS) app from the San Ramon Valley Fire Department in California which links 911 dispatch calls to potential citizen 1st responders in the immediate local.
The potential for mobile applications of this kind to connect people to emergency response in their community is just now being explored, but a few details are catching. The San Ramon Valley Fire Department has an incredible website, with informative links and offers of 1st aid courses, plus the iPhone app. Compare that to the Victoria BC Fire Department (which serves a similar population – 62,000 in San Ramon, 80,000 in Victoria BC – and tax base). The differences are startling. It is so obvious that Victoria is far behind.
While the San Ramon Fire Department website is impressive (though the main city website needs work), what is striking is the outreach effort – using mobile application technology to assist in emergency calls. The concept is simple, the results powerful on many levels. The iPhone app uses GEO location to notify users when a 911 medical emergency call is nearby – if they are able, the response can save lives.
The secondary use of the app covers civic governance. By opening medical 911 calls directly to the public by default it opens a wealth of information on response times and outcome. Gov. 2.0 in action. I am really impressed with this. While California is going through a state wide budget crunch, there are people seeking to use technology to connect with the community in truly positive and proactive ways. Something for us in Victoria BC to learn.