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Draper Journal

Draper first responders team up with data company to be better prepared for emergencies

May 21, 2020 10:33AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

In an emergency, seconds count, and so does pertinent information. That’s what led Draper Fire Chief Clint Smith to be the first in Utah to sign a contract with First Due, a company that helps first responders be more effective when responding to emergencies.

Smith was introduced to First Due representatives at a Fire Rescue International conference in Atlanta last August and the city signed a contract with the company in 2019.

“It’s a phenomenal tool in so many aspects to help us be more prepared and more efficient in our response, armed with as much knowledge as we can get going into any emergency, which allows us to be more efficient for the benefit of our residents,” Smith said.

According to Smith, First Due obtains information on all buildings in the city from the County Assessor’s office. That information is compiled along with GIS information including the locations of fire hydrants, utilities, and any hazards on the scene or in the area. For schools, the program can show emergency personnel every entrance or exit, the location of sprinklers, and every classroom throughout the building. In an emergency, that address-specific information is sent from First Due to computers in the vehicles of first responders, helping them to pre-plan before arriving at an emergency. “In an active shooter situation (in a school), heaven forbid, we know exactly what classroom they’re in and the best access points for getting people out,” Smith said.

First Due created a survey called Community Connect, inviting people to share information specific to their residence such as how many people and pets live in the home, if anyone has mobility issues or special needs, and emergency contact information. “On top of First Due, Community Connect says now we’re asking you as residents to give us just a little more to prepare us better to respond to your home in your time of need,” Smith said. He assures the public that the information compiled by First Due is completely secure. “We recognize that in a day and age when we have to be careful with our private information, this is a site that has bank-level security encryption.”

In an effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, First Due took Community Connect one step further, creating a Covid-19 specific questionnaire.

The fire department encourages anyone who wants to complete the Community Connect questionnaire to visit Smith said it takes about eight minutes to complete and that it’s mostly a drop-down menu format.

“It’s very easy to use and very quick,” he said. Participation is completely voluntary. Draper Fire Department only shares the information with their Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the Draper Police Department, and only when responding to an emergency. “Most often we are responding together on these types of calls, so this is a shared data set that we will use with the police department to increase the knowledge and capability they have on their side as well. Our end goal is to provide the best service possible,” Smith said.