At 3 a.m. on Tuesday, January 30th the Anne Arundel County Fire and Police Departments successfully transitioned to a new Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD). The new system replaced an existing system that had been in use since the 1990s.
The transition culminated two years of work by members of the fire and police departments, the County Office of Information Technology and the vendor, Infor.
The new CAD brings many technological improvements for the fire department including the use of Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL). The old CAD system selected units for response based on geographic box areas and fire station locations. With AVL, units are selected for response by their travel time to a specific address. This increases efficiency by automatically selecting the closest units for a call. Previously firefighters and paramedics would have to recognize that they were closer to a call than the dispatched unit and identify themselves as being closer.
The new CAD also uses more advanced mapping. For example, the new system quickly identifies locations that are more than 1000 feet from a fire hydrant and adjusts response recommendations to incorporate tankers into fire responses to ensure an adequate supply of water for firefighting.