Gavin County’s still fairly new emergency management director has been talking up a computer app designed to get first-responders to the scene faster.

Since stepping in as Bud Ramming’s replacement in March, Dave Johnson has been working hard to learn the ropes and learn them fast.

One thing’s Johnson has been doing is pushing for more usage of what’s called GeoSafe.

It’s been used in Garvin County for a couple of years and is common throughout all of Oklahoma for even longer.

“It’s a tool for communication and location,” he said.

“It gets us to the scene faster, whether it’s for a fire, a heart attack, a car wreck or a domestic incident.”

Johnson says there are a couple of tools to get the word out about an emergency. One is a text program sent to first-responders by 911 dispatchers at the countywide 911 center.

GeoSafe is another that takes the concept to a whole new level.

“It shows a map. We use the app to get the exact location of the emergency. It shows every unit available in the county. It allows them to see where they’re going.”

In other words, the GeoSafe app provides first-responders with a map on their cell phones. A “pin drop” is placed on the map to show the exact location of an emergency.

The app is also intended to help the incident commander better manage and protect his resources at a larger scale emergency scene like a big grassfire covering a larger area.

In the past officials at the scene of a grassfire would use a legal pad to draw out a map to account for the fire departments responding and where each one was located during efforts to extinguish the blaze.

Now imagine this app not only showing all of that on a map but where each fire truck and tanker and individual firefighter is located and they’re exact movements in real-time.

“If he’s got his phone I know where he’s at. It provides accountability, better first-responder safety,” Johnson said.

“Every department has access to it. They all use it to some degree.

“It’s all a real-time dynamic.”

Most of the annual $15,000 cost for the GeoSafe program is split among the county sheriff’s office and the two largest cities in the county, Pauls Valley and Lindsay.

Smaller portions of the funding comes from other towns in the county and the rural fire departments.

More on the county’s emergency management office will come later in the PV Democrat.

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