top of page

The 3 Areas Accountability Technology Tracks to Improve Responder Safety

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

First responders are often exposed to a wide range of hazards in the course of their duties. What can commanders do to keep their crew safe when responding to an incident? Accountability has been used to address this question on various levels, such as knowing the location of each individual, the status of their equipment, and more. Traditionally, various manual processes and tools have been deployed to monitor teams before, during, and after a situation. However, in recent years, innovative technologies have been developed to help manage accountability and improve responder safety. In this blog, we will explore some of these tools and the impact they are having on operational efficiency, effectiveness, and safety.

Monitoring Crew Locations

One of the primary duties of company officers and commanders during an incident is to maintain awareness of their crews and their tasks. Historically, accountability was often managed with whiteboards, magnets, tags, passport systems, or other similar methods. However, with the rise of digital systems, many organizations are now utilizing fire accountability software to keep tabs on the location of their teams. A significant advantage of this technology is its capacity to observe and determine the precise whereabouts of each responder in real-time, even under difficult circumstances.

As GPS and other location services, such as indoor positioning systems (IPS), improved in the private sector, vendors developed public safety solutions that can pinpoint a person's location inside a building, underground, etc. Devices with embedded location tracking enable incident commanders to view responders' exact location, even when visibility is limited. These solutions are designed to help commanders perform roll calls and locate first responders in the event of a Mayday or other distress call. Often, this information can be integrated into centralized dashboards for critical decision-making.

Tracking On-Scene Status

Several new accountability tools integrate with leading staffing software to increase accuracy. With these partnerships, fire officers can view exactly:

  • who is scheduled to work that shift

  • which apparatus they are on

  • their role and qualifications, and

  • other critical information

This eliminates a significant issue with traditional accountability strategies, where commanders may not know how many people are on the scene and who they are.

For example, Adashi's incident command software includes a Personnel Accountability Report (PAR) feature that simplifies performing PAR checks and keeping track of a crew member's last known location. The software can be integrated with Adashi’s staffing solution, allowing automatic transfer of roster data and qualifications for accountability purposes. This unified real-time overview provides commanders with enhanced situational awareness, improved interoperability, and incident reporting capabilities to prevent line of duty deaths.

These new accountability tools give incident commanders real-time visibility into the location of each apparatus on the scene, as well as the assigned crew and their respective roles and responsibilities. The systems can automatically prompt the commander to perform a PAR check at designated intervals during the incident, enabling a more proactive approach to personnel accountability.

Monitoring Personnel Vitals

Following various health measurements and vital signs has also become very common in the private sector from smart watches to phone apps. These innovations combined with other wearable technology can be combined with accountability and incident command software that takes incident personnel monitoring to the next level. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sudden heart attacks are the leading type of injury. These solutions assist with alerting someone about potential health issues before they occur to reduce the number of line-of-duty-deaths or injuries caused by medical emergencies.

When self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) integrates with incident command technology, commanders can monitor certain air-related measurements. One example is Adashi’s incident command solution that now integrates tightly with 3M™ Scott™ SEMS-enabled SCBAS to support firefighter safety and accountability. The real-time air bottle status, PAR checks, and PASS and EVAC options provide incident commanders and safety officers with a better view and status of their team on-scene.

While no single piece of technology can protect firefighters from all hazards, advancements in accountability solutions are making a significant impact. As equipment and software continue to advance, we expect these advances to become even more effective. Technology has the potential to make a significant impact on improving the safety of firefighters and reducing fatal injuries. Learn more about Adashi's incident command software and built-in accountability tools.

bottom of page