The satellite tracking technology that’s available in hand-held devices and offered as an option in some cars, is now part of the Des Moines Fire Department’s dispatch system. Public Information Officer Brian O’Keefe says equipment been added to fire trucks and ambulances that uses a satellite G-P-S, or global positioning system to help dispatchers keep track of everything. He says as soon as a call comes in, a dispatcher selects the type of response they want and then they use a computer to select the closest fire truck or ambulance to send on a call. O’Keefe says dispatchers used to call a unit first to get their exact location before deciding which unit to send on a call. He says the G-P-S now gives them a continuously updated map that allows them to cut precious seconds off response time.He says it take about 10 seconds off the front end of a call. He says every second counts as they want to get there within three to five minutes of a call, especially medical calls. O’Keefe says this system is the first of its kind. He says Des Moines is the first in the state to use the system and he believes there are two departments in Arizona using the system. O’Keefe says if multiple vehicles are dispatched to a scene, each unit can track the others location through the displays in their vehicles.
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