Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is using mobile computing to help save time and money in collecting fire-risk information from households.
Previously, households had to fill in a two-page questionnaire, the contents of which was then re-keyed into a SQL database by the firefighters themselves.
A successful pilot allowed firefighters to take a Windows Mobile 5 based PDA into a household, carry out a survey of the home, and then return to their fire station. Back at the station the handset was placed onto a cradle and the information automatically uploaded to the Microsoft SQL database.
The system has been built using mForms from Integral Mobile Data (IMD) and is now being rolled out across the service’s area of Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland to help firefighters in working with the government’s Home Fire Risk Assessment initiative.
“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. “Firefighters visit residents to help them reduce the risk of having a fire in their homes.”
Integral’s mForms allows programmers and non-programmers to develop forms-based applications for a wide variety of mobile platforms and are designed to update almost any database, regardless of physical location. “The application had to be easy for our firefighters to use with a minimum of technical training,” said Robinson. “We also had a short window for development.”
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