While many around the U.S. are getting ready for fireworks, barbecues, and other red-white-and-blue-themed celebrations, the Fourth of July is often full of stress and anxiety for America’s first responders.
The Holiday Stats
While many major holidays go together with an increase in accidents, injuries, and casualties, research shows the Fourth of July is the worst offender. Nicknamed “the deadliest day on the roads”, firefighters and EMTs respond to an above average number of incidents each Independence Day.
Analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that from 2010 to 2014, an average of 118.4 people died each Fourth of July in motor vehicle crashes. That’s 28 more deaths per day than the average over the same period.
Unfortunately, it’s not just motor vehicle crashes. A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 2015 had the highest number of injuries related to fireworks compared to the previous 15 years.
What Does This Mean For Your Department?
With the high number of incidents happening around Independence Day, your department’s incident management strategy needs to be top-notch. Many departments are turning to incident management software as a tool to help them respond quickly to emergencies and minimize casualties.
Here we’ll discuss a few ways that incident management software can help your department maximize its effectiveness and improve public safety this Fourth of July.
One of the main benefits of incident management software is that it can provide specific situational awareness guidelines to help fire fighters, EMTs, and law enforcement collaborate and respond to many different types of incidents.
With alcohol, fireworks, and sometimes arson involved, you never know what to expect on the Fourth of July. Having the right situational awareness training and tools helps both commanders and responders on-the-ground map out their incident action plan for whatever issues they come across.
Incident management software gives departments information like checklists, bulletins, and local procedures. Some types of software also provide commanders with ESRI, Google, Bing, and NAVTEQ maps to help them plan for the situation at hand, chart out their strategy, and decide how to best respond.
With this important data at their fingertips, departments have more clear and accurate picture of the type of situation they’re dealing with, and this info can make a huge impact on response time and decision-making at the scene.
One of the most important things to keep in mind as you respond to incidents is the location of the incident and what resources you need to deploy.
During holidays, many incidents happen close to each other, like near major fireworks displays or downtown areas. It can be difficult for units to get where they need to go when roads are closed and pedestrians gather in the streets for informal block parties and similar events.
Incident management software that integrates with computer-aided dispatch (CAD), Global Positioning System (GPS), and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data lets commanders view real-time information about which resources are currently in the field.
As incidents occur, commanders can immediately re-route units to the new destination and direct them to avoid major obstacles or problem areas, allowing emergency vehicle drivers to reach their destinations faster and safer.
While celebrating the holiday, millions of people are traveling across district and state lines, congregating in major cities, and driving in areas they may be unfamiliar with.
Many of our staff based out of Baltimore, MD have seen the chaos that is Washington, D.C. on Independence Day firsthand. The location of our nation’s capital also makes it a prime target for incidents that occur on the edge of or between jurisdictions, namely on the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia borders.
Since individual departments have distinct rules and procedures in place, an incident management software with strong communication capabilities helps separate first responders communicate quickly across different jurisdictions and stations and coordinate their response to major incidents.
Incident management software that allows you to view incidents occurring in neighboring areas also helps departments better manage their own resource allocation.
Overall, the Fourth of July should be a time of celebration, but also one of caution. The better your department can prepare beforehand, the safer we can make this historic day.
As your department gets ready for Independence Day, consider if incident management software could help you plan and respond to incidents and collaborate across agencies.