Cincinnati Fire has started using new AVL technology to get units to emergencies faster

Automatic Vehicle Location is first for county
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 18:55:24-05

CINCINNATI - Saving seconds to save lives. There's a new technology in place to get firefighters to emergencies faster!

For the past several years Cincinnati Fire and EMS have met national standards when it came to their emergency response times. But their old system that based dfispatch on the location of the fire station is now getting an upgrade.

A walk through the Cincinnati Fire Museum tells it all. Over more than 40 years the emergency response technology has certainly changed.

"I dispatched for six months and it was even before computers period and we had to do everything by hand," Chief Richard Braun said.

Starting with old-school run cards to computers and now Automatic Vehicle Location -- also known as AVL. Now Dispatch can use a GPS-like system to quickly direct the closest unit to the scene.

"What it means for the citizen is that we will get there faster," said  Anson Turley, Assistant Chief of Cincinnati Fire Emergency Management Division.

AVL technology - a first for Hamilton County – allows Cincinnati to track its 60 different response units in real time.

Here's how it works:

A modem talks to the closest cell phone tower to send information between emergency units and Dispatch.

This transition not only helps to save lives, the upgrade is also cost effective.

"We've replaced that $5,000 radio with a $1,000 cellular modem," Turley said. "It sends information faster. It allows us the ability to expand and scale up."

And it also helps to keep the first responders safer as well.

The new system has only officially been in use for the past two days. So far no major issues have been reported. Braun credits working with fire stations in  Toledo and Columbus where AVL has proven a success.