Fighting Fires In Rural Areas - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Fighting Fires In Rural Areas

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On Tuesday - a fire started.

A fire started that fire crews had trouble finding in rural Muscatine County.

Fire crews in Wapello were called to a fire in one rural area.

Another call came in just minutes later to a different address.

Grandview Fire Department helped out.

Both went to the first address, only to find no fire.

They both headed to the second address, getting to an actual fire, which they put out in minutes.

That confusion in addresses is becoming more common this type of year, with controlled burns on the rise.

"The problem generally starts with the caller, not knowing where they're at, where the actual incident is," says Grandview Fire Chief Mitch Schweitzer. 

Schweitzer adds when 9-1-1 calls come in that aren't clear where, or even what the problem is, it can cost dispatchers and fire crews precious minutes getting to the problem. 

So to combat the issue, Grandview Fire is turning to technology. 

It's called, "I Am Responding."

When a dispatcher calls for the department, every volunteer in the all-volunteer department gets a text and a phone call.

This tells them where the fire is, and what they'll be dealing with.

Then, the firefighters respond whether they can go or now.

All of that information is live updated on a large screen, right in the fire house.

"This helps tremendously," Schweitzer explains. "We have their experience, their education and their capabilities. That way we know if we can handle it on our own or need to call additional agencies."

The app, also has a map on each fire fighters phone, directing them to the fire.

But, Schweitzer says, that puts a premium on getting correct information from 9-1-1 callers. 

"WE can always cancel people and send them back. We can't rebuild homes after they are burnt to the ground. It's a better safe than sorry policy."

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