'I'm on my way'
© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News
Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier dispatches police and fire from the police station above Four Fathers Memorial Library. She uses www.iamresponding.com to text firefighters.
AMHERST – Firefighters in Amherst have another reason to check their phones for text messages.
“They can indicate using they’re phone that they’re responding,” said Bill Crossman, chief of the Amherst Fire Department.
In addition to pagers, firefighters are now getting text messages, via www.iamresponding.com, telling them there’s a fire. The program has been used for three or four months, said the chief.
“We are going to get more firefighters on-scene when needed,” he said.
Crossman pointed out the limitations of pagers. Some firefighters work jobs where static interference hampers their ability to use pagers, or in loud environments where they won’t be heard. Sometimes even vibration mode won’t be noticed.
“It was a coordinated effort (from firefighters),” said Crossman, implementing the system in Amherst.
He said his people have asked for a while for the technology to compliment their dispatch protocol. The text message system has been used for a while at other departments in the county. Research was conducted and the response at other locales warranted moving ahead.
“So far it has (been a success),” said Crossman
One of the benefits is that notice of how many firefighters are responding can help streamline preparations at the station for a fire call.
Firefighters aren’t required to have a phone that receives texts, but Crossman said everyone these days has one.
“We don’t provide any phones,” said the chief.