Fire and rescue unit

Jacksonville upgrades emergency services

The Jacksonville, Fla., Emergency Preparedness Division was saddled with an antiquated website that provided citizens with minimal information. In addition the city’s call center, which receives close to 1500 calls a day during non-emergency times, has experienced peaks that triple that number during emergencies, affecting personnel and costs.

Honorable Mention

2012 GCN Awards

The GCN awards honor federal, state and local government IT projects and management teams for their ingenuity, organizational skill and contribution to the public. This project is one of 10 honorable mention winners. Read more about the top agency projects and executive award winners.

The city’s Fire and Rescue Department in conjunction with the Information Technologies Division worked together to update the Emergency Preparedness Division website and to develop the JaxReady mobile application, a hybrid with a built-in Sencha Touch 2 wrapped in PhoneGap for iOS and Android.

The mobile development criterion was to create the most effective system possible with the least amount of manpower. That was critical in deciding on a single HTML5 code base that could be used for multiple environments and for access to key phone hardware, including GPS and cameras. The GIS department created an API that indicates if a latitude/longitude reading is in a specific evacuation zone. All other content is driven by the Kentico Content Management System so content managers do not have to make duplicate content entries.

This upgrade in services not only assists citizens, it saves Jacksonville’s first responders time and reduces call volume during emergencies. The website and mobile application help to divert many of these calls. In addition, the immediate information available on the website gives citizens answers that will more effectively direct and guide them. This in turn gives the Emergency Preparedness Division more time and resources to focus on actual emergencies.

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