Author(s): Angelo Verzoni. Published on July 1, 2017.

Responder Resource

New app provides first responders with quick and easy access to NFPA tools

BY ANGELO VERZONI

NFPA HAS DEVELOPED the “1st Responder Connection,” a smartphone app to help first responders across the country better understand what NFPA does and give them quick and easy access to the resources and information they want the most.

Ken Willette, NFPA’s first responder segment director, said the idea to develop an app came about last year, after he and others from NFPA kept hearing the same things from departments they met with. The departments weren’t clear about what NFPA does, and they thought NFPA’s resources were all prohibitively expensive. “So we asked them, ‘If we gave you access to more NFPA information, how would you want it?’” Willette said. “And from the volunteer to the metro departments, everyone picked up their phones and said, ‘Give it to us on our phones.’”

Willette partnered with Nathaniel Lin, NFPA’s chief data scientist, to bring the idea to NFPA President Jim Pauley, who gave the project a green light. Months of fine tuning concluded with its unveiling at June’s Conference & Expo in Boston. The app, which is now available for free on the Apple and Google Play app stores, gives first responders “information they can use on the job every day,” Pauley said during his remarks at the C&E General Session.

Users of the app can access articles, tip sheets, videos, codes and standards, and more on everything from wildfires to emerging technologies like drones. Much of the content is interactive. As of mid-June, the app had more than 200 users, according to Willette.

Moving forward, Willette said NFPA will gather user feedback to drive updates to the app, which could include expanding or focusing content and adding more interactive features.

ANGELO VERZONI is staff writer for NFPA Journal. Top Photograph: NFPA