A program gives Guntersville Fire & Rescue responders critical information with the touch of a finger

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- First responders have seconds to make decisions and take action in the event of an emergency. Guntersville Fire and Rescue responders are using a program that gives them access to critical information needed during a call -- all with the touch of a finger.

"Active911 is a software that we use to put our hydrant information, we put prefire planning information, some of the safety concerns, hazards, of businesses in the city," explained Deputy Chief Brian Walls, "And we use that data and put it in the system and the guys who are responding to these calls, whether it be a fire or any kind of other emergency, they can access that data and pretty much know everything about that building before they get there."

Active911 lets Guntersville Fire and Rescue responders know where the nearest hydrants are and where the other units are located. It also has information and floor plans for city businesses, which crews collect and update each year. "If it's on fire they know the access points, if it has any special hazards,  basements, areas that they can't get to normally without some type of means," Walls said.

For each business, the program details the occupancy during normal business hours, and if anyone would be there after hours. The program also has marina information and landing zones for helicopters.

It's on the desktops, tablets located in each vehicle and smart phones. That's a change from the traditional binders. "Anytime there would be a change you had to make copies and find all of the different binders in each truck, and replace those and make sure everything stays current," Walls said.  Now, a change updates instantly.

Guntersville Fire and Rescue has been using the program for about six months, making responders'  jobs more efficient and safer. "Just a variety of things that we need to know going into that call," Walls said.