Everyone appreciates the ability to do more things on their phones these days, and the people who respond to fires, hurricanes, pandemics, chemical spills, terrorist attacks and other major threats appreciate that ability as well.

Now, emergency workers in Guilford County – thanks to federal money that was part of the COVID-19 response – are getting the ability to do more on those phones.

Emergency workers in Guilford County are frequently on the move but, right now, they’re limited in how they can file incident reports.  Currently, much of that needs to be done on a computer after the fact.

But in a business where time is of the essence, the department realized it needed to eliminate that lag in order to enhance responses to critical situations.

According to a staff report to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, recent emergency drills and exercises demonstrated a need for the ability to do incident information entry on mobile devices.

The county is now contracting with Juvare – a company that provides emergency response technology – to do just that.

Guilford County Emergency Services Director Jim Albright said this will allow greater flexibility for responders when there is no computer available for data entry for incident reports.

“We are paying the software company to code our incident management software to allow it to work on phones and tablets – instead of only on computers,” Albright said.  “It brings the coding up to a point where we can run an ‘app,’ and makes it ‘mobile friendly’ versus entering on a laptop.”

The Board of Commissioners is expected to vote to approve the upgrade at its Thursday, April 21 meeting.

Emergency Services was awarded nearly $13,000 in federal money that came through the NC Division of Emergency Management to make this improvement.  That money was meant to assist the county’s department in “developing and maintaining a comprehensive Emergency Management program, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”