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App Helps Fire Departments Reduce Response Times, Save Money

More fire departments across the state are using technology to help them fight fires.

An app called Rover Mobile is something departments are using to reduce response times and increase manpower.

For volunteer departments, these things can be a challenge. And the first few minutes of a response are crucial.

Captain Geoffrey Giordano with the Stevenson Volunteer Fire Department, who created the app, saw that first hand during a call.

“The first person got here, waited a little bit of time, and then left and as he was going out, two additional people came in and they saw tail lights,” Giordano, president of Spotted Dog Technology, explained.

The app, designed by firefighters for firefighters, is a communication system that helps crews respond quicker. 

Dozens of fire departments now use it.

"If we see a fourth guy is coming he's only 30 seconds out we wait for him so now we're going to have more guys to the scene,” explained Chief Mike Maccalous of the Drakeville Volunteer Fire Department.

When a call comes in, the app sends an alert to firefighters, letting them know how much manpower they need and when that need is met.

It also lets users know how long it will take for firefighters to reach the station, as well as if there are hydrants or hazards at the fire.

Career departments say they’re finding a use for it too. Torrington started using it back in December to alert off-duty firefighters when they needed them to come back in.

“We can get crews to the scene faster, we can get protection to the city faster, fill one engine first, get the protection of the rest of the community,” said Deputy Chief David Tripp of the Torrington Fire Department.

Tripp said the app saves them about $4,000 a year compared to other systems. It’s technology departments say is making a difference with how they fight fires.

“We're staffing our trucks better. It's really a safety issue,” Giordano said.

Other agencies, like EMS, police search and rescue, and animal rescue groups can use it too. Around 25,000 fire responders use the app.

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