How big data helps firefighters do battle

Firefighters around the world are discovering that big data and mobile cloud technology are some of the best weapons for battling — and even preventing — fires.

With access to geographic information systems (GIS) and social media networks, fire teams are better able to anticipate, plan and act more effectively in emergencies.

As always, their primary goal is to prevent fires in the first place.

“If managed well, prevention and mitigation can not only help communities reduce response times, but can also significantly impact the effectiveness of the responses in terms of getting the right resources to the right place in the most timely manner,” says Jennifer Schottke, a fire and emergency services specialist at mapping software company Esri.

“By reducing the number of preventable incidents and managing the response to unnecessary or inappropriate calls (i.e. repetitive false alarms), a community can much more efficiently and effectively support the rapid and full-scale response required for a large and dangerous event,” she adds.

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