How Raising Situational Awareness Protects First Responders

How Raising Situational Awareness Protects First Responders

Friday, 29 January 2021 15:20

In a crisis, every second is vital. Each moment matters for the safety of those firefighters, and paramedics are racing to save. There is little room for error when it comes to fires, vehicle accidents, and other emergencies. Departments must use every available tool to ensure they can respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. 


First responders are saving lives, but it is not just the victims whose safety is paramount. We think of emergency responders as superheroes who are wholly committed to rushing into any situation with abandon to save anyone. While they are indeed heroes who are willing to make significant sacrifices, firefighters and paramedics are not invincible. Departments do not expect their people to rush into anything. Most people do not realize that before an engine or ambulance is ever dispatched, hours of pre-planning went into raising responders' situational awareness.

Responding to emergencies is inherently dangerous for everyone involved. Improved situational awareness saves lives and promotes responder safety. In this article, we are discussing how to use technology to elevate situational awareness and save lives. 

How Technology is Raising Situational Awareness

At StreetWise®, we have developed an entire suite of full-featured products to help raise situational awareness for Fire and EMS. These products take you from incident pre-planning to the firehouse and dispatch, to the scene of the emergency, and back again. 

Incident Pre-Planning

Knowledge of every situation begins long before there is an emergency. Our preplan management system, modeled after the NFPA 1620 standard, allows you to conduct field surveys with maximum efficiency using a step-by-step wizard to gather all the important information you need from each building. 

CADLink Tablet MDT/MDC

Rather than a clunky and expensive laptop, our software runs on inexpensive and ultra-mobile tablets. And unlike software designed for police use, StreetWise is designed specifically for firefighters and paramedics. By combining preplanning and response software together, StreetWise CADlink software makes your pre-incident survey information available in real-time during a call. This takes the guesswork out of what hazards you might face in a building, where hydrants are located, and what route is best for your engine. Departments using this software attest to how effective it is in raising situational awareness

Station SmartBoards

Smartboards are monitors installed within the station to keep track of each engine and unit dispatched, locations, weather, hazards, and much more. That means that engines and ambulances on call are not the only ones keeping track of their situations. 

How Raising Situational Awareness Makes Responders Safer

There are several ways in which raising situational awareness makes first responders safer:

Improved Response Time

Decreasing response time is not just important for victims; it can save the lives of first responders as well. Danger will most likely increase as in an emergency situation. A structural fire, for example, can become exponentially more life-threatening by the second. Technology-assisted pre-planning and smartboard aided dispatching are tools that help first responders respond more rapidly at times when every tick of the clock reduces risks for firefighters and paramedics. 

Reducing Human Error

For first responders, every person must work as a team at all times. One error can lead to fatal consequences. No one wants to make the mistake that leads to an injury or fatality. Lack of situational awareness leads to human error that can take a life. With the right technology in place, however, knowledge will limit those mistakes. 

Increased Support

Your training will help you notice details that others cannot. You are using all your senses to minimize surprises when you respond to a call. However, one person can only see and hear so much. First responders need all the support they can find. Smartboards and dispatch technological tools provide eyes and ears for firefighters and paramedics on the ground. Increased outside support raises the situational awareness for first responders in a manner that can save lives. 

Decreased Stress

Stress is one of the most common contributing factors to accidents on a call. First responders under stress are far more prone to human error than those who have a heightened situational awareness. The right technological tools will reduce stress on every call, providing a safer environment for firefighters and EMS. 

If you want to improve situational awareness within your department, we would be happy to answer any questions you have about our products. StreetWise products can help save lives and make first responders safer. If you would like to know more information about our suite of products, contact us today