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Lehigh Fire District utilizes revolutionary software to cut-back on response times

By MELISSA BILL - | Feb 10, 2021


In an effort to save more lives and quicken response times, the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District has begun using what is described as revolutionary new software to respond to and manage emergency incidents.

Tablet Command is an incident management and response software that’s now being used by hundreds of fire departments and tens of thousands of first responders in the United States and Canada.

“Over 170 different fire departments in the US and North America now use our Tablet Command. This software is very unique at managing incidents in comparison to the way many Fire Departments in Florida currently operate under white boards — a firefighter status board used by incident commanders to record team assignments,” Van Riviere, CEO of Tablet Command said in a statement.

According to a press release, Tablet Command was founded by firefighters Andy Bozzo and Will Pigeon after two line-of-duty deaths in their own department. The tragedy highlighted a problem emergency services around the globe experience on a daily basis: during the chaos and confusion of the first moments of an emergency, it is very difficult to track the tasks and whereabouts of arriving responders — much of this is still being done by pencil and paper.

“The two fire captains founded the software in 2013 on the heels of a multi-fatality fire. Tablet Command’s system was created and based around the National Incident Management System,” Riviere said. “The key to our solution is that we are notified the moment an incident occurs. Everyone in a particular department carries a tablet and is notified about the incident quickly, plus the solutions mapping software has the ability to create a route directly from the initial call. This guides first responders directly to the scene of that incident, which cuts back on response times.”

The Lehigh Acres Fire District was the first agency in the region to utilize the Tablet Command software, officials said. Now other local agencies including Fort Myers Shores are onboarding with the system.

According to LAFCRD’s Assistant Chief of Administration Ralph Ketron, it’s a game-changer that’s helping reduce the severity of emergency incidents in Lehigh Acres.

“I just can’t say enough good things about Tablet Command. Tablet Command has helped our organization tremendously, when it comes to better serving our Lehigh community. It’s assisted us in saving life and property on several occasions,” Ketron said. “It helps us the most on larger incidents including the two recent brush fires in just the past several weeks. It’s a great tool when we are on the scene trying to mitigate and respond to the incident. We are able to see our units in real-time on a geographical map. Then we can strategically place units where we need them.”

Tablet Command is a tool to assist incident commanders to mitigate damages incurred during these brush fires.

“So far, it’s saved a total of four structures this year. We are able to see where these homes were located in relation to the fire; then strategically place our units. The system also gives us guidance on what type of call it is, which allows the first responders to be better prepared when they arrive. All of the dispatcher information, caller notes are available to us prior to arriving on the scene,” Ketron said.

The district utilizes Tablet Command on more than just brush fires, Ketron added.

“During a commercial fire, Tablet Command allows us to view information about the building in question. It shows us where everything is located in that building. We know where the hydrants are located, fire alarm panel, and if there are any chemicals in the building. I can move all resources around on the map for everyone to view,” Ketron said. “Tablet Command also helps to reduce radio communication’s, provides a checklist, helps with accountability, par countdown, work time indicator, and allows everyone to be on the same page to safely and effectively combat the incident”

“Tablet Command has allowed our organization to advance in mitigation. The days of dry erase boards are in the past.” Ketron said.