Getting Philadelphia’s fire department off paper maps

    Fire engines to get mobile computers like police cruisers have

    The Philadelphia Fire Department is in line for a high tech makeover.

    Currently fire department vehicles don’t have mobile data terminals or portable computers as do their police counterparts. Philadelphia’s Chief Technology Officer Alan Frank found out how outdated technology is at the fire department when he stopped at his neighborhood firehouse.

    “I live several blocks from the 63rd and Lancaster fire station, which I believe was built in 1907. One of the questions I walked in to get a tour, was a simple question like how do you know where my fire hydrant is, I live three blocks away. I saw an antiquated map that looks like it was created sometime near the American Revolution.”

    Frank says his goal is to mount a small computer in a fire truck that will give the quickest directions to a house, and where the nearest hydrant is. He thinks that will help save vital seconds.

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