Saint Albans Fire Department Rolls Out New Tablets

SAINT ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Saint Albans Fire Department is the first in the Kanawha Valley to put a new firefighter tablet in use.

Kim Lyon lives in Saint Albans. She says she's never had a fire at her home.

"It's really scary if something were to really happen," Lyon said.

But if it did, she now knows the fire department could be at her home fast and prepared to fight the flames.

"It will give us hydrant locations, how much water each hydrant will provide," Saint Albans Fire Chief Stephen Parsons said. "We can go to the tactical map, and it will go automatically to street level to Google Earth."

Parsons added, "If I want to take a picture of the scene, just hit photo share and it will send the picture of where we are at. We're just arriving on the scene."

It also shows when other emergency vehicles are responding and their GPS coordinates on the map, to prevent accidents on the way to the emergency.

The new tablets with an app called "Streetwise" are now installed in every fire engine in Saint Albans. It gives a bird's eye view of outside and even inside buildings, complete with layouts and information on key points about each structure.

The price tag for these new tablets and technology is about $3,700, all coming from state funds. The Nitro Volunteer Fire Department has purchased the same program. They will put theirs online soon, as each department assists each other to fight fires on both sides of the river. The program also works in conjunction with Metro 911 CAD to help emergency responders communicate efficiently.

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