Fire and Rescue Vehicles to Get Computer Data Systems

- FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - All fire and rescue vehicles in Frederick County will be getting mobile data computers to help emergency responders on the job.

Frederick County Commissioners approved nearly $450,000 for the project that has become a top priority.

“One of the critical incidences with the fatal fire and the tragic event in Myersville changed a lot of the priorities,” said Battalion Chief Rusty Hahn of Frederick County Fire and Rescue.

Three-year-old Madigan Lillard and six-year-old Sophie Lillard died in that fire.

A couple of units responding to the scene got lost on the way. One engine responded to the wrong address and got stuck in a ditch, taking 65 minutes to arrive. Another arrived to the area of the fire, but turned on to Highland Court instead of Highland Avenue. The post incident analysis report also shows water supply wasn’t established early.

Officials say they don’t think anything could have changed the outcome of that fire, but Chief Hahn says the new computer systems will be helpful for responders dealing with high stress situations.

“Going to the scene they'll be able to map their way there, it will be able to enhance their abilities to spot water supply, such as hydrants,” said Hahn.

Some county residents say they’re thankful to hear about the funding approval for the project.

“With the high technology we have these days I'm surprised they don't have them,” said Victoria Dubitsky of Frederick.
“As you can see right here in this address, there is no address listed, there aren’t any numbers here, this is just one example, it's unmarked,” said Frederick resident David Cook.

Fire officials say they hope to have the computer systems installed in all vehicles by September 2014. 

Fire and rescue crews use radio to communicate with dispatch to receive important information and updates while heading to a scene. Fire officials say the radio frequencies can be very busy, making it difficult to hear. They are hoping the computer data systems will change that.

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