Fruitland Park Fire Rescue uses iPads to respond to emergency calls


FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. - Fruitland Park Fire Rescue is using a new high tech way to respond to emergency calls that could catch on.

Firefighters in the small city are now using Apple iPads to get to residents in need faster than before. Prior to the iPads, the department was using paper maps and directories, unlike most other fire rescue departments, which use laptops with an Internet connection.

When a call now comes in to Fruitland Park Fire Rescue, there's no longer large directories to search or follow-ups with a dispatcher.

"We can see at moment's notice who's available to take a call and who isn't available to take a call," Lt. George Fernandez with Fruitland Park Fire Rescue said.

Fernandez said the idea came from a challenge to find a new way to reproduce the vital compenents laptops with a resource that the small volunteer agency could afford.

"We're probably saving right now, anywhere in the amounts of $25,000 to $30,000," Fernandez said.

When asked about the potential problems of relying solely on 4G cell service, Chief David Borst said the development process helped work out any possible kinks.

"We have not had any glitches or anything with the system," Borst said. "There's no time between breakdown with dispatchers talking about where it's at."

Several firefighters with the department said after a month of using the iPads, they can tell there's a safer response for the community.