02 May WHUD uses advanced mapping to aid fire protection
White House Utility District (WHUD), the state’s largest geographic utility provider, is using advanced mapping software to help Goodlettsville Fire Department keep its hydrants functioning at max capacity. The map, built in WHUD’s geographic information system (GIS), has increased efficiency, increased repair time, and improved fire protection for the community.
“We have seen a tremendous improvement our response time to fire hydrant issues,” said Rocky Reecer, operations manager for WHUD, “which is an important part of a community’s fire protection plan. Before this system, we would get a long list of needed repairs, a couple of times a year. Now, using our real-time mapping software, we are notified the minute a problem is found and can usually get it repaired within a matter of days. Before, it could take up to three months to get a full list of repairs completed.”
Using any tablet or mobile device, Goodlettsville Fire Department crews can access the map in the field during routine hydrant inspections. If a problem is detected, they can access the exact hydrant on the map and report the problem, along with detailed information about the issue. Doing so sends an automatic notification to WHUD operations’ team, who can then schedule a crew for repair.
“Goodlettsville Fire found our hydrant repair requests to be easier to track and send on our end, and the resulting repairs happened in a very timely fashion,” said Fire Chief Kenneth Reeves. “Tracking hydrant maintenance and flushing records on the app was also very convenient and more reliable than paper records in the fire engine. We plan to continue using the app.”
Key benefits of the program are:
- Safety – Fire hydrants are supply water during fires. If they aren’t working, fire protection is jeopardized and community safety is impacted.
- Efficiency – Crews can report problems from the field. Additionally, the information provided is much more detailed, with exact geographic coordinates of the hydrant needing repair, which in turn makes the repair process faster and easier.
- Real-time notification – The information – both alerting WHUD of a problem and then notifying the fire department that the hydrant has been repaired – is delivered in real-time.
- Planning – The map allows the fire department to see “inside” the city, assess growth and make informed decisions when it comes to adding hydrants.
- Access – The maps are accessible from any tablet or mobile device with internet access, making reporting problems more convenient for fire crews and making it easier for WHUD to locate the right hydrant.
“Our next step is to expand this program out to other local fire departments,” said Reecer. “We’ve really been pleased with the improvements we’ve seen and know that it could have just as big of an impact on the other communities we serve.”