LA Fire Department to get upgrades to iPads, mobile devices

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A Los Angeles City Council committee is scheduled to get an update today on a plan to equip city firefighters with iPads or other types of mobile tablets.

Fire department officials will join representative of the Los Angeles tech industry to provide the Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee with a progress report on FIRST-IN, a plan to phase out paper maps, unwieldy computers and other existing tools in favor of the latest tablet technology already in use among the general public.

The report comes in response to a motion introduced last summer by Councilman Mike Bonin to look into giving tablets to firefighters, some of whom have already developed their own iPad apps to help them navigate city streets and handle other department tasks.

The motion describes the fire department’s “in-house” technology as failing to keep “pace with evolving technology.”

If Bonin’s motion is approved by the full council, it would require the fire department and the city’s Information Technology Agency to work with local tech companies to put together a “technology integration” master plan.

Representatives of Los Angeles-based tech companies Launchpad LA, Susa Ventures and TenOneTen, as well as former Google and Amazon product manager Nelson Chang and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce innovation vice president Sean Arian are expected to appear before the committee to discuss the beginnings of their collaboration with city firefighters.

“The enthusiasm expressed by both rank-and-file first responders and the tech community in LA has been amazing, and I am excited to see the progress that has been accomplished already to upgrade technology at the fire department,” Bonin said.

The partnership is “the beginning of a new era” for the department,  he said. “We’re going to work together and we’re going to make sure this department is as smart and as efficient and as tech savvy as our population.”

The fire department is planning to make multimillion-dollar upgrades to its dispatch, alerting and navigation systems, according to Bonin, and a contract for the laptops it’s now using will soon be up for renewal.

 

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