Tornado Season Illustrates Advantages of Incident Management Tool
Responders at Texas tornado manage mile-long disaster from laptop and tablet
Denver, Co. – The recent outbreak of disastrous tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, and the logistical challenges of dealing with mass casualties and mass destruction, prompted emergency responders to turn to a robust digital management system to coordinate maximum efficient use of resources.
The new technology allows emergency responders to conduct and coordinate incident management in real-time from both tablets and PCs. The system provides incident managers with immediate, GPS-pinpointed monitoring of response efforts. A product of Denver-based Incident Response Technologies, Inc. (IRT), the Rhodium™ Incident Management Suite was recently deployed on-scene after an EF2/EF3 tornado ripped through Cleburne, TX on May 15.
The tornado that swept through Cleburne carved a mile-long, one-hundred yard-wide path of destruction. Fifty homes were destroyed and more than 150 other structures were damaged. Chief Rodney Smith of the Johnson County Emergency Services District arrived at the scene to manage the incident response. An adjunct instructor at the Tarrant County Fire Service Training Center, Smith brought both his tablet and laptop, each with the Rhodium™ software. Within minutes the system interface was connected to the mobile command center’s projector, providing crews with real-time maps of the tornado’s path, locations of emergency units, and full disaster management capabilities.
“When I arrived, responders were using what’s previously been the most effective tool for incident management – hand-drawn maps and a white board,” said Chief Smith. “Getting accurate maps, staging crews as they arrive, and sharing all that information with multiple agencies are some of the main challenges of large-scale disaster response. Rhodium™ allowed us to do all of that nearly effortlessly.”
The Rhodium™ Incident Management Suite was created for responders working all types of incidents from natural disasters, to structure fires, active shooters, and special event management.
“We are pleased to hear of the recent success of Chief Smith and his team in implementing our Rhodium™ Incident Management Suite,” said Jarret Winkelman, IRT Director of Sales. “Their use serves as an excellent example of the product’s ease of use, flexibility, and all hazards capability.”
The cloud-based tool provides complete situational awareness for incident staff, both on and off the scene. Video/photo streams, time-stamped report, weather data, mapping data, GPS tracking, and conference calling are among the features included in the suite. The intuitive system allows for minimal training time. Users with basic computer skills typically require less than four hours of training before they are able to fully utilize the software.
To further augment their software capabilities, IRT is partnering with a third party company, Primal Innovation Technologies, LLC of Lakeland, Florida, to incorporate a damage assessment tool into the Rhodium™ Suite. “The addition of a damage assessment tool would provide tremendous value,” said Chief Smith. “The sooner you can get an assessment, the sooner you get resources.”
Primal Innovation Technologies’ PrimalSTAR solution allows assessors to maximize their efficiency when time matters most. PrimalSTAR eliminates hours of manual entry of paper-based assessments by allowing assessors to use smartphones or tablets to electronically document damage and send field reports to incident command posts in near real time. PrimalSTAR provides dynamic calculation of damage based on current property tax records and provides a real-time view of the situation. Unlike paper-based assessments, PrimalSTAR data can be quickly shared with other resources electronically.
Complete and accurate damage assessments are required for emergency declarations, which provide necessary support and resources, following a disaster “Our mission is to provide the tools for emergency managers that will enhance, automate and simplify the damage assessment process,” said Teresa Richardson, Marketing Director for Primal Innovation Technologies.
The Cleburne tornado is one of several notable incidents where the Rhodium™ Suite has been used. Emergency services used the system in response to Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, during the 2012 tornado season, and in planning and staging for a major special event, the 2012 Denver Presidential Debate. The system is also currently used by a variety of other incident response agencies including Orlando International Airport, the Alcoa Fire Department in Tennessee, Lake Ozark Fire Department in Missouri, and the Georgia State University Police Department. Currently, the Rhodium™ Suite is in use by agencies in more than 22 states.
About Incident Response Technologies, Inc.
Incident Response Technologies, Inc., has been providing cloud-based solutions for public safety organizations since 2005. IRT’s flagship product, the Rhodium Incident Management Suite, is currently in use throughout the United States and Canada by Police, Fire, EMS, Emergency Management, Campus Security, Aviation Authorities and other organizations. For more information on the Rhodium Incident Management Suite, visit IRT’s website at www.irtsoftware.com or call (866) 260-7333.