Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has begun using mobile computing to improve the collection of fire risk information from households, following a successful pilot.
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To meet the government's Home Fire Risk Assessment initiative, households in the region were until recently filling in a two-page questionnaire on fire risks, the contents of which were then re-keyed into a SQL database by the firefighters themselves.
Firefighters are now collecting information from householders on personal digital assistants running Windows Mobile 5.0, enabling the data collected to be uploaded from fire stations onto the SQL database.
The system has been built using mForms from Integral Mobile Data and is being rolled out across Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland to meet the government's fire risk targets.
"The modern fire service is as much about prevention as firefighting," said Andy Robinson, GIS development officer for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
Integral's mForms allows programmers and non-programmers to develop forms-based applications for a wide variety of mobile platforms. The forms are designed to update almost any database.
"The application had to be easy for our firefighters to use with a minimum of technical training," said Robinson.
Which mobile operating system fits?
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