“Burning the box” at the BC Fire Conference and Expo

Photo of Chief Bob Fulton and Captain Shaun Sweeney (Squamish Fire Rescue) with E-Comm Fire Technology & GIS Manager Rob Darts.
Chief Bob Fulton and Captain Shaun Sweeney (Squamish Fire Rescue) with E-Comm Fire Technology & GIS Manager Rob Darts.

Fire experts and public safety organizations from across the province gathered in Penticton in June for the annual Fire Chiefs Association of BC Conference and Expo, to discuss new and innovative ways of improving firefighter safety and protecting communities. The theme for the event was aptly named “Burning the Box,” a way of challenging participants to go beyond just thinking “outside the box.”

The expo was the largest exhibition of fire service equipment and technologies in the Pacific Northwest and provided an opportunity for attendees to network, share information and showcase new and future technology related to fire safety and response. Representatives from E-Comm were on hand to demonstrate the organization’s fire dispatch and management technologies, including E-Comm’s emergency management event viewer, known as E2MV. It allows agencies to share information in real time for both routine events and in major situations such as wildfires, floods or earthquakes.

The timing of the expo also coincided with a number of technology enhancements related to E-Comm’s Fire Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that are in development. In June, the CAD and fire information records management system (Project FIRES) used at E-Comm will be able to share information between the two systems and generate digital location data. It will also allow for the implementation of GPS-based dispatching.

“GPS dispatching will further enhance response times as the CAD system will know the location of a fire apparatus in real-time,” commented E-Comm’s Director of Fire Services Dave Mitchell. “This means if an engine and its crew are out at a drill or another event, the system will ensure the next closest available unit(s) are available to respond. This will be particularly useful for our agency partners who are looking to share resources over geographical boundaries in response to various incidents,” Mitchell added.

A pilot project will begin shortly to test GPS dispatching before it is offered to E-Comm’s fire partners. A number of other Fire CAD project initiatives are estimated to be completed before the end of this year.

Additional information about the Fire Chiefs Association of BC is available at fcabc.ca.