The mission of the fire service has grown significantly with the addition of more responsibilities and expectations, but the basis of delivery is to get the resources to the emergency in the moments that matter.
If you have great staffing and an inadequate response time, the outcome is usually not good. Conversely, quick response without proper personnel for the job will not result in the best solution. In many, if not most, departments, resource allocation has maxed out. By this I mean that staffing per vehicle, station locations, vehicles, and other costly items will not change for the positive very significantly. So, to improve service, organizations look to technology for advancement.
In today’s world, we have come to expect that there is a technological solution for almost everything. We may still be amazed at some of the capabilities of technology, the information we have at our fingertips, and how we can simplify some jobs. Initial releases of technology can be expensive, but as more versions are released the cost can be significantly reduced. The question often is not whether something can be done with technology but whether it will be affordable.
Many companies hold focus groups, retain subject matter experts, or simply do some research to determine the needs of a particular industry. If you have ever participated, you know that there is great potential to meet the needs of a job with technology. The question is not whether something can be developed but if there is funding to support the development. Depending on the cost, there has to be a forecast as to whether there will be a market that will translate into profits. Often, the initial production of technology can create a price point that is out of reach for many, if not most. Those old enough to remember recall days of mobile phones (probably more commonly known as car phones) that were only available to the rich. Obviously, the cost (along with mobility) came down so the masses could afford them. Cell phones are now considered essential.