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Editorial: Computers on fire trucks good for safety of community

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City firefighters and paramedics play a vital role in looking out for the safety and health of Bartholomew County residents.

Fortunately, they will soon have a valuable tool that will assist and help protect them when responding to emergency calls. City and county officials have approved an agreement to install computers in city fire trucks.

The computers will enable the fire department to receive detailed information from a computer-aided public safety dispatch system that is maintained at the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center. That will help improve communication with dispatchers.

It’s surprising that city firetrucks had not been connected to this public safety system previously. Police officers, sheriff’s deputies and ambulances with Columbus Regional Hospital already are connected.

Nevertheless, it’s apparent that city and county officials consider the cost of this system — about $90,000 — a wise investment for their first responders.

But, it’s also further investment in the safety of residents who could face the same dangers that firefighters and paramedics are subjected to on their runs.

That’s because this resource provides important information, such as:

Knowledge of stored chemicals, utility shutoffs and exits in a building.

History of emergency calls that might show structurally compromised locations or indicate suspected criminal activity. One example would be a fire at a location where methamphetamine manufacturing is suspected.

Real-time data exchanges.

Real-time tracking of all

emergency vehicles.

Connecting fire trucks to this online public safety system is a good decision that benefits everyone in the community.

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