The Register-Guard June 2017 Continued
...new incidents through their cell phone, tablet or laptop.
On the way to the incident, responders can pull up information, such as building drawings and water sources, Speiser said.
The software’s on-scene management tool shows the location of an incident overlaid on a digital map.
During a recent demonstration at Lane Fire Authority’s station off Prairie Road, Speiser showed how an incident commander could use the software to manage various trucks and people responding to an emergency.
“Common operating picture software” allows all emergency responders with the software on their mobile devices to see the incident commander’s overview, what tasks he or she has assigned to each unit, such as “fire attack” or “medical,” and where he or she wants each unit positioned.
“It’s a great benefit being able to communicate exactly where I want an engine to locate,” Ney said.
Responding units appear on the commander’s overview screen, whether or not they’re using EnRoutePro. Location technology on the responders’ mobile device makes that possible, Speiser said. The software gives a countdown of each unit’s distance to the scene.
“I can see who’s the next-in engine,” Ney said. “I can give assignments.”
Responding to a car wreck, for example, Ney might assign one truck to getting the accident victims out of their car and another truck to control traffic.
“It’s a huge step forward from the way we used to do it, especially from a safety point of view,” Ney said.
All the available units appear on the overview, whether they’re using EnRoutePro or not, which is especially useful for “mutual aid” calls, in which trucks from a neighboring fire agency come to the scene to help.
Before, a vehicle might have been parked out-of-the way, close by, “but to be honest, (it was) out of sight, out of mind,” Ney said. “I could use them, but I forgot that they’re there.”
With the software, “no one goes missing,” he said. “It’s all visually apparent.”
About 60 fire agencies in Oregon are using the first version of EnRoutePro, plus a few agencies in Washington, Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa and California, Speiser said.
EnRoutePro has begun marketing version 2.0 by taking it to several industry trade shows, including Oregon Fire Chiefs, Northwest Fire & Rescue and Washington Fire Chiefs.
Speiser said he also plans to do some magazine and online advertising.
Other software on the market will notify responders of new incidents, but Speiser said he believes EnRoutePro is the only software that provides notification, maps and site information and the on-scene management tool.
“You could buy three different software programs and try to patch them together,” Ney said. “That’s the beauty of (EnRoutePro), it’s one program.”
He said EnRoutePro quickly is becoming a vital tool. “Historically, I would get out of the rig with a radio in my hand,” he said. “I think there will come a time when the tablet is in my hand and the radio will go in my pocket.”
Even in areas with poor cell service, responders can access maps and site information previously downloaded onto a mobile device, Speiser said.
About 15 vehicles — about a quarter of Lane Fire Authority’s total fleet— are equipped with mobile devices and EnRoutePro, Ney said.
Lane Fire Authority uses EnRoutePro’s maps on every call and the software’s management tool when multiple trucks are on scene, Ney said.
He said he plans to outfit Lane Fire Authority’s entire fleet with mobile devices with EnRoutePro in 2018.
Lane Fire Authority has 14 stations and 140 people — 110 of them are volunteers, Ney said.
The software is sold as a monthly subscription, starting at $49 a month, and rising from there based on an agency’s volume of incidents.
EnRoutePro 2.0 is available now for Apple products, such as iPhones and iPads. Speiser plans later this year to introduce versions for mobile Android and Windows devices.
EnRoutePro is in the final stages of signing a contract with the Lane County Fire Defense Board, a consortium of more than two dozen fire agencies in Lane County, including Eugene Springfield Fire.
The agreement will deploy EnRoutePro to all of the consortium’s fire agencies that want to use it in the next five years, as part of a pilot group, Speiser said.
EnRoutePro offered the software to the group at one third to one fifth the regular charge, he said.
Lane Fire Authority Chief Ney said the more agencies using EnRoutePro, the easier it will be for the agencies to help each other with mutual aid calls.
“I’d love to see this become a statewide system,” Ney said.
Speiser said he’s working to sync the state’s central fire incident reporting system with EnRoutePro by September 2018.
Integrating the software with the state incident reporting system would save time and increase accuracy of the reports, Speiser said.
To file an incident report with the state, Ney said he has to open one computer program and print out benchmarks, such as arrival and departure times, for each truck that responded.
Then he has to log into the state reporting system and manually enter that information.
“That’s a time-wasting process,” Ney said.
If the data for the reports could come directly from EnRoutePro, the information would be much more accurate than using information that had been relayed through dispatch, Ney said.
“We’re trying to move from being a seat-of-the-pants industry to a data-driven industry,” he said. “So at the end of the year, I could look at response times and I’ll have data I can hang my hat on.”
Speiser, 54, is uniquely positioned, as a volunteer firefighter and computer programmer, to create software to improve fire fighting and emergency response.
“The way fire agencies operate is really it’s own world,” he said.
“The language used and the methodology is so immersive, so specific. Without ... knowledge of how fire is fought or how people go on incidents, it would be very difficult for someone who doesn’t have the language.”
When asked about his programming experience, Speiser responded: “I’ve been a nerd for a very long time.”
He worked on the Hubble space telescope at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
In the late 1980s he built a Mac-based software firm called Glen Canyon Software.
Speiser moved to Eugene in 1986 when his wife was attending graduate school at the University of Oregon. The couple has since divorced.
A firm called Aveo Inc. bought Glen Canyon Software in 1994, then Speiser said he ran a division of Aveo in Eugene until 2001.
In 2005 Speiser founded Perpetua Technologies, which developed EnRoutePro. He and a couple of investors own 6-employee Perpetua.
Speiser trained to become a volunteer firefighter 12 years ago when he learned that no one was working out of the Fox Hollow fire station near his home.
Speiser said he and several programmers continue to brainstorm and work on enhancements to EnRoutePro, such as adding the ability to attach photos or videos of an incident.