ARMONK, N.Y. -- Armonk Fire Department Lt. Phil Goulet has developed a GPS-Global Reponding Solution (GRS) that will allow fire departments and volunteers firefighters to know who is responding to a call in real time.
"Unlike other systems where you have to call in and you just see the responders estimated time of arrival, this system uses the phones GPS to show where the members are in real time as they're responding and when they arrived at the firehouse," Goulet said of his system. "No more calling in while driving."
Goulet's Fire GRS was born out of his educational background and firefighting career. An Armonk firefighter for seven years, he graduated from Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., with a bachelor of science degree In computer graphics technology and a minor in forensics.
"After school I ended up getting a job as a web developer and have worked in various digital ad agencies in New York City," Goulet said. "Being in the fire department is a true passion of mine, and I have always been involved with technology."
Goulet said he came up with the idea for Fire GRS over the winter when watching the news and heard New York City officials were talking about how they were tracking their plows during a snow storm.
"I have used similar responding systems for the fire service before and found that there were a few problems with them," he said. "You had to stop responding to dial a phone number and enter some phone options and they gave you a rough estimate of an ETA, but that's about it. I figured there had to be a better solution."
Goulet offered Fire GRS as a quick prototype for his department to try and he got great feedback. The system only requires you to swipe the push notification so it's much easier than other systems. Having a map is an important feature that is unique to Fire GRS.
Once the responder arrives at the station they get removed from the map and put into an "arrived" list.
"The feedback I've gotten is that people who didn't use the call in system are using this system because it's so much easier to say you're responding," he said. "People are also loving the map (which also gives you the call location)."
Goulet said he hopes other fire departments will incorporate what he believes it may help first responders get to events more quickly. Each department can be set up separately and each station is separated to ensure privacy and that departments may want to join is using the system.
"I'm enhancing the site almost daily with various improvements and features based on user feedback," he said. "Right now we only have an iOS app, mainly because I wanted to get a few departments on board using the system first. I've gotten a ton of feedback about the product and am very encouraged about its potential."
Goulet's Fire GRS is currently free and in beta. For more information, link to the Fire GRS site or email Goulet at firstname.lastname@example.org.