An iPhone app lets field-deployed first responders share real-time images and data remotely with incident commanders. Developed by Maryland-based ElanTech, the app is a mobile version of its Incident Management Decision Support System (IMDSS) Online. It is offered as a value-add to subscribers of IMDSS Online, which costs $200 monthly per teams of five.

ElanTec’s IMDSS Web portal enables emergency managers to coordinate efforts of first responders in the event of a disaster or crisis, said company President Swati Allen. The portal houses and shares real-time information from first responders, citizens, and local and national government agencies so incident commanders can distribute resources based on real-time situational awareness data received from an iPhone or iPod Touch device in the field, Allen said.

“It connects the end user to the Web portal so that people at the site can take pictures, assess damage and request resources,” Allen said. “It is sent out through the IMDSS Web portal and app to [decision-makers] who can deploy resources.”

Indeed, mobile users can work on existing incidents, create new ones, and capture and share site photographs and video in real time, Allen said.

“Real-time access and sharing is what is really important about this tool,” she said.

Users can add photos, video, and data; view documents, images, and reports from other incident members; and review incidents geospatially, with all of the related information listed on a map. The app then lets them transmit their assessments onto decision makers via the portal, Allen said.

“Before we developed this app, onsite responders stayed in contact with the greater response team using text and voice,” she said. “They now can access IMDSS information on their mobile Apple devices and then share more robust information for damage assessment and situational awareness.”

IMDSS was developed in cooperation with Murray State University through a contract from the Kentucky Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, managed by The National Institute for Hometown Security for the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the National Volunteer Fire Council supports its use in the fire service.

“The IMDSS tool helps incident response teams more effectively and efficiently communicate, assess…, and respond,” said NVFC Chairman Philip Stittleburg in a statement. “Making this technology available on mobile devices increases its capabilities even more and provides even greater support for the responders.”

The app is available at the Apple iTunes store. An Android version should be released in the next few months, Allen said.

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